What features should a volunteer management system have?

Whilst Assemble is a relatively new name to the third sector, our parent company DutySheet is used by 100 percent of police forces in England and Wales to manage their volunteers currently serving as Special Constables, PCSO’s and Cadets. Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to truly understand what both Volunteer Managers and Volunteers want  and need from our software, continually listening and developing our features in a way that evolves in response to shared use cases, best practise and regular feedback.

So thanks to our customers, we present you with the top four features that a good Volunteer Management System needs.

Simple Data Capture

The volunteer journey begins the moment someone engages with your organisation. How well organised this journey is, leaves a lasting first impression on newcomers and if problematic, can lead to difficulty in converting an interested volunteer. A clear and concise data capture form is essential to set the tone and expectations going forward. It is surprising how easily we can be turned off by arduous application forms or anything that requires too many steps, so we’ve focused on a precise and intuitive user experience to get the first leg of the journey in the bag.

Recruitment tools

Recruitment will always play an integral part in enabling organisations to operate successfully. With volunteers, however, the downside is often the inability for long term or regular commitment, leaving us with an ongoing cycle of seeking new faces to fill permanent and ad-hoc roles. A good Volunteer Management Software will offer support in organising and simplifying this huge task. Assemble, for example, provides a place to create new opportunities, that can be posted directly to your website. For speed, you can also duplicate or recycle old opportunities and measure the success of each role. Applications are received in one place using a consistent process, so it’s easy for all managers to understand the status and credentials of each applicant and communicate with them if necessary. In essence, the recruitment function should be easy to use and provide efficiencies that enable us to improve the speed of the recruitment cycle whilst gaining important insights on what works for the future.

Scheduling

Until very recently, we know that some of the organisations we’ve worked with were still using spreadsheets to manage their rotas. What’s wrong with this we hear you say? Well firstly it can be time consuming, especially if you are constantly making updates and amendments based on unknown or out-of-date availability. Using the rota builder in Assemble, gives volunteer managers a broad view of who is available and when. Not only does this make scheduling efficient, it allows volunteers to update and manage their availability independently and avoids chasing and checking.

Reporting

How did it go? That’s what really matters doesn’t it. Are we doing ok? And how can we improve? Measuring the success of both regular volunteer roles and one-off events is almost guaranteed to help your organisation to improve efficiencies and takeaway important findings. Our customers love this feature as it provides such rich and useful insights that really help to measure the impact of volunteers. Data is displayed using neat graphics to arrange the information you select to share, which makes for a more interesting and self explanatory debrief.

Finally, whilst these are some of the general highlights, we understand not every organisation is alike, or works in the same way, so we’ve made Assemble easy to configure – whether you need simple or complex workflows, custom fields or branding, API integrations or open access – everything is possible.