By Phillip Gbormittah, Head of Sales, Rosterfy, EMEA & North America

It was great having the privilege of Rosterfy sponsoring the AVM Conference 2021. I certainly was inspired by many of the speakers and after a tumultuous period for all, the future of volunteering is looking bright!

Technology was a topic that came up quite often and it’s great to see so many examples of how it has helped to improve not only the process for volunteer managers, but also the journey and experience for volunteers.

While volunteer management has traditionally held its roots in outdated and time consuming manual processes, technology is now an important (and in our option, integral!) driver to delivering an engaging end to end experience for volunteers,

At this year’s AVM Conference one of the main themes was Volunteer Management in the Digital Space, which is something the team at Rosterfy are passionate about. While technology is integral to streamlining operations, it also opens the doors to a wealth of new opportunities. 

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top five reasons, in our experience, to consider embracing technology to manage your volunteers:

1.     Diversity & Accessibility

The key to any successful program is diversity and to ensure diversity you need to first make sure your program is accessible to all.

Technology allows you to accommodate different cultural backgrounds. To be culturally sensitive you might want to capture dietaries, provide different uniform options or even different language options to make volunteers of all backgrounds feel welcome.

Volunteer management solutions also help to accommodate those with a disability, including those who are either hearing or visually impaired.

During the conference there was a lot of discussion around student volunteering, and the important role that our youth will play in future opportunities. Factoring in a younger demographic of volunteers, technology will no doubt play an important role in attracting our youth and also in retaining them through the ability to deliver a personalised and engaging experience.

Listen now: Take a look at our recent episode of Rosterfy’s podcast, The Engaged Volunteer Podcast featuring CEO of not for profit, Chicago Cares, Jenne Myers who discusses the benefits of having a culturally diverse volunteer management program. 

2.    Compliance – Inductions, Onboarding and Training

Much like when we’re hiring new staff, the importance of inducting, onboarding and training volunteers is an important step in any successful volunteer management program.

From a compliance standpoint, ensuring thorough onboarding means that due diligence in the form of checks is completed but also that volunteers feel truly a part of your team. When it comes to their role, they are educated about your organisation and know how to deliver their role, which in turn promotes confidence and a better equipped volunteer.

Training is also an incredible resource to further engage and empower your volunteers. While implementing training benefits the organisation, it also has the opportunity to transcend beyond the volunteers time with your company with the skills gained able to be put back into the community (first aid, job opportunities etc.)

We understand that you might be thinking, well this sounds great but where do I find the time? Introducing your new best friend, technology. Volunteer management systems will allow you to automatically onboard your workforce with minimal time and effort. A win win for administrators and your volunteers!

Want to learn more?  Check out Rosterfy’s Top 10 Volunteer Management Training Programs Plus Key Resources here.

3.    Sustainability

Did you know that 40% of waste from events ends up in landfills? Technology provides a fantastic opportunity to cut down on waste and replace paper with online alternatives.

Outdated paper forms and spreadsheets are riddled with margin for error – think incorrect details and messy handwriting! When you start to think of all the ways in which volunteer managers use paper, the decision to go digital starts to become more and more attractive. We’ve outlined some some digital alternatives including:

  • Paper spreadsheet > digital volunteer management system
  • Paper registration form > online registration form that captures all data for volunteers centrally
  • Volunteer contract > online contract that can be electronically signed
  • Volunteer training > online training modules that are engaging and exciting
  • Volunteer briefings > online briefings with documents sent via email
  • Paper based check in and out > check in and out volunteers in real time using a volunteer management solution
  • Post shift surveys > online surveys that allow for simple reporting

Want to learn more? Take a look at Rosterfy’s Guide to Sustainable Event Planning here.

4.    Volunteer Engagement

After spending so much time and effort recruiting your volunteers it’s important to nurture and engage them so that they are retained for many years to come. The biggest drawcard of technology is that it allows us to create more personalised content consistently to ensure a more engaging experience from start to finish.

Volunteer programs often start 12 months or more out from shifts commencing. Things like newsletters, birthday cards and countdowns are really important to keep volunteers up to date and excited about volunteering with your organisation.

Technology in the form of a volunteer management solution allows you to streamline everything from your communications through to reward and recognition programs, which when used in conjunction with automations can be instrumental in delivering the right message at the right time.

Want to learn more? Take a look at Rosterfy’s top five tips for volunteer engagement here.

5.    Virtual Volunteering

While virtual volunteering opportunities were around pre-pandemic, as the pandemic unfolded and people were forced into lockdown, virtual volunteering became the most direct way for people to continue to help. In fact, as the pandemic spread and communities suffered, an unprecedented number of people signed up to help however they could. Without online volunteering opportunities, many people and organisations that rely on volunteers wouldn’t have been able to continue to deliver the important services they do.

Often people think of volunteering as something that can only be done in person, but in fact, there are some really great virtual volunteering opportunities out there for those who want to be involved. Virtual volunteering can encompass:

  • Phone and online counselling
  • Translating and editing
  • Graphic and web design
  • Pro bono legal aid
  • Teaching and mentoring
  • Online fundraising
  • Healthcare assistance

Want to learn more? Take a look at Rosterfy’s Guide to Virtual Volunteering, here.

We hope this has helped and very much look forward to returning and seeing the progression made (as well as learning from some more great speakers) next year!

If you’d like to learn more about Rosterfy and how to better connect with your volunteers through a digital volunteer management solution, I’d love to have a chat. Please feel free to book some time in my calendar or get in touch directly.

About Philip

In his role as Head of Sales for EMEA & North America at Rosterfy, Phil leads the commercial team and manages external partnerships across these regions.

Since his appointment in 2019, Phil has helped to bring on board large-scale clients such as the British Heart Foundation, COP26 (in association with Glasgow City Council), Coventry UK City of Culture and many other events & organisations across Europe. Today, Phil is overseeing inroads into new sectors for the volunteer management platform, such as local governments and community volunteering schemes (whether big or small).

With over 10 years’ experience in revenue-driven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sales activity across a number of sectors including volunteer management, employee benefits, big data/analytics and digital marketing platforms, Phil has developed a passion for digital/technology and the crucial role that it will play in tomorrow’s world. He also has an affection for connecting communities to the events and causes they are passionate about and truly making a difference.

Rosterfy exists to connect communities to events and causes they are passionate about through volunteer and paid workforce management technology. Our proven end to end technology allows charities, events and organizations to recruit, register, screen, train, manage and report with ease, replacing manual processes with automations to better engage and retain your volunteers and paid staff.