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Choosing and implementing a volunteer management system

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A volunteer management system is software that helps you to recruit, train, engage and retain your volunteers in one centralised space.

What systems are available?

There are a number of volunteer management systems to choose from. Different volunteer management systems are often aimed at organisations of different sizes and vary in cost and functionality. Some of the most popular systems include:

  • Assemble: a popular option with easy customisation and an app
  • Three Rings: offers a handy rota tool so excellent for managing mass shifts
  • Team Kinetic: has both free and paid options and works as a brokerage service for volunteering opportunities
  • Volunteero: good for charities of different sizes
  • Better Impact: has options for volunteer management and for donor, member and client relationship management

How to choose a volunteer management system

Be realistic

A volunteer management system is merely a tool. It should be complemented by policies and processes put in place to support your organisation’s objectives. It will take time to get up and running and even longer to get a system fully embedded.

Be clear about your requirements

During the procurement process you need to outline your requirements and in a way that suppliers can understand. Your requirements should be focused on the problems/issues you want to address and what you are trying to achieve with this new system. Engage with and really try and gather as much information as possible from those that work closely with and or manage volunteers along with volunteers themselves.

Know your audience

You should have a clear understanding of who the system is for. It can be helpful to have your own working definition of a ‘volunteer’ that is understood by everyone and allows for any future volunteer roles. This will help ensure a shared understanding of the target audience.

Prioritise and compromise

Be clear about what is a priority. You can prioritise requirements by putting them into three categories:

  • Must (absolutely no compromise)
  • Should (really serious problem without it)
  • Could (nice to have)

Be careful not to end up with all requirements in the ‘must’ category.

Further information and support

Last reviewed: 12 April 2021

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 April 2021

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