10 Tools to Optimize Your Volunteer Pool

by Danielle Bloom

3 min read

Canadians volunteer a total of 2 billion hours annually. That’s the equivalent of 1.1 million full time jobs, and if you run a nonprofit or charity, you need to tap into this incredible spirit of Canadian generosity. The following tools and apps can help you with everything from recruiting to scheduling.

1. Volunteer Canada

In conjunction with the Canadian Volunteer Centre Network, Volunteer Canada maintains an online database of local volunteer centres throughout Canada. There are over 200 centres in the country, and they have a range of different names and services, depending on the area. These centres offer workshops about volunteer management and recruitment techniques for nonprofits, and they also have databases where you can list your organization to reach interested volunteers.

2. Twitter

Social media marketing can be an effective way to get your message out to the community, but you should also leverage your social media efforts to find volunteers. Regularly tweet out requests for volunteers to your followers, and also attempt to reach out to key groups by including them in the tweet. For example, if you know a local high school requires its students to log volunteer hours, put out a tweet such as “@CityHigh seniors, come to the ABC Shelter and get volunteer hours, walking our adorable dogs.”

3. SignUp

SignUp helps you streamline the process of scheduling volunteers. You simply set up an event, send an email to volunteers, and watch as they sign up. The service is free for a single group with one organizer, but charges a monthly subscription for multiple groups with multiple organizers.

4. Your Volunteers

Your Volunteers is an online tool that lets you create volunteer events and automatically add a calendar of events to your website. The cloud-based app allows you to schedule volunteers or invite them to sign up for shifts as desired. The tool can even track the actual hours volunteers log. The app is free if you have up to 1,000 volunteers. If you want to manage more volunteers or add custom features, the premium or custom option are available for a monthly fee.

5. MeetUp

Popular throughout Canada, this site allows you to create groups for “meet ups.” It can be an effective tool for finding new volunteers — many people check out this site when looking for things to do in their area. Additionally, once you have a MeetUp group, you can use the site to set up events and manage RSVPs.

6. Better Impact

If your organization needs a more extensive solution than the apps above, you may want to check out software such as Better Impact. Designed for nonprofit organizations such as animal shelters, libraries, museums, and others, this program helps with scheduling, features volunteer profiles, and offers built-in email to facilitate communication with volunteers. As of 2017, the company offers standard and enterprise level software. Both require an initial licensing fee and a monthly subscription based on the number of volunteers you want to manage.

7. Evernote

Evernote lets you type notes, snap pictures, and record audio, and every bit of information is searchable. Ideal for tracking your own thoughts, the app also lets you organize documents and files into groups. That makes it perfect for sharing information or collaborating with volunteers.

8. Surveymonkey

To assess what’s working and what’s not with your volunteer pool, you occasionally may want to get feedback. Surveymonkey lets you create surveys with multiple choice answers and room for comments. You email the survey to volunteers, and their responses are completely anonymous.

9. HootSuite

If your volunteers are managing your social media accounts, HootSuite can help you organize their efforts. This app puts all of your social media accounts onto a single dashboard so you can see what’s happening at a glance. It also lets you customize varying level of access for different users and assign tasks to users. Sprout Social is a similar tool. It doesn’t have as many features, but it can be easier to use.

10. Google Apps for Nonprofits

Google Apps for Nonprofits is a free suite of apps offered by Google to nonprofits around the world. The apps includes access to 30GB of storage on Gmail and Google Docs, which are great for keeping in touch with and collaborating with volunteers. Google Forms lets you create event sign ups, surveys, and other forms for your volunteers. With the video conferencing tool, you can connect with up to 15 people at once. That makes it easy to have a meeting with volunteers without requiring them to make a special trip. Canadians want to go volunteer. In fact, nearly half of Canadians volunteer at least 156 hours per year. The tools above can help you find these volunteers and optimize their role in your organization.

References & Resources

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