When CRM systems are not enough…go Assemble!

Data Management, Features, News

Written by Katie Taaffe

CRM’s (customer relationship management) systems are a great digital asset for not-for-profit organisations. They are superb at tracking and engaging with large numbers of donors, which in turn enables fundraising efforts to continually grow. 

The likes of Access Charity CRM, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce are great examples of how to do CRM Software beautifully. Their user-friendly cloud platforms offer endless solutions to store and maintain contact information, learn and build upon supporter and beneficiary profiles and generally maintain relationships with potential donors. Together with platforms, such as Pardot, they can help ensure marketing campaigns are delivered with continually engaging content, using tracking capabilities that learn about how recipients interact with different campaigns. 

When it comes to volunteer management software, we are often asked about Assemble and our point of difference from CRM’s. What specifically does a volunteer management system offer that CRM’s can not and what the advantages are of a volunteer management system vs a CRM? 

The team behind Assemble has been involved in providing technology-driven solutions to volunteers since 2006. Our journey began with DutySheet, a volunteer management solution now used by 100 percent of police forces in England and Wales to manage Police Specials, as well as other emergency service responders. DutySheet focuses solely on what Volunteer Managers need to coordinate their teams and simplify day-to-day operations. 

Why is this important? Well some years later and Assemble, our not-for-profit volunteer management software, has the very same ethos at heart. It focuses specifically on what Volunteer Managers need. Naturally this includes an amount of data management and communication, however, its primary purpose is to provide a comprehensive solution to support each and every step of the volunteer journey, offering a single solution with workflows to improve process and maximise productivity.

It’s also important to acknowledge that there will be a slight crossover between CRM and Volunteer Management data. It makes sense that some donors become more actively involved in an organisation than others. However, donors are not always volunteers and vice versa, meaning they should be nurtured and nourished differently. What’s more, Assemble is built API first so integrations and data syncs with existing CRM systems are a cinch, so there really is no need to miss out on the additional benefits of a volunteer management solution, just because you’re already using a CRM. 

Take this as an example, you’ve shopped at Sainsburys for years and receive regular updates from the supermarket, including news and special offers that might entice you. Until one day you decide to take a job working for Sainburys, following an online application and recruitment process. Yes, you are still a customer, but now you are part of the team and sign up to the staff portal. Here, you can book yourself onto training modules, update your shifts and take part in social activities with your colleagues. You are now engaged with the organisation on a much deeper level.

Volunteering and all it encompasses from the initial attraction, right through to the day-to-day operations requires huge amounts of detail. Assembles functionality simplifies the juggle by adding process and automation to many tasks and empowers volunteers to be self-sufficient at the same time. Assemble breaks each part of the journey down from managing large volumes of volunteers, planning for events, engagement and reporting and delivers everything in a neat and intuitive solution. Yes, you could probably initiate some bespoke development for your existing CRM, but it’s unlikely to rival a purpose built solution and mobile app – unless of course you have an extensive development project planned, with an ongoing budget, timeframe and team to maintain it. 

Assemble is used and trusted by some of the UK’s biggest not-for-profits, many of whom are instrumental in fine tweaking the functionality of our software to continually enhance the features that we know their Volunteer Managers need and love. Learn more about who they are and what they think.

We’ve listed a few of the top features below; to see the full 138 point list of features, simply get in touch.


It all begins here as Assemble integrates beautifully into your website with a customisable recruitment microsite. 

Create one, two, or ten roles in the same format with different descriptions, save templates, add locations, days, hours, durations, images and a whole host of variables that will give appeal to an opportunity. 

Track the progress of each applicant, take them through screening, automate responses, learn about them and their skills. 

Assemble empowers volunteers to take an active role in their application and it’s all wrapped up in an ‘on-brand’ experience for the organisation. 


Configure Assemble to reflect the structure of your organisation. Organise your teams based on location, region, department. 

Simplify communication, scheduling, general management and reporting. 

Get a clear view of everything from unread messages, new volunteer applications, to-do-lists, and recent actions on your dashboard.

Find volunteers who meet a specific criteria, for example, by skill, location or role. 

Send your appreciation to volunteers for their hard work and keep them engaged with news, updates and other communications.

Use our Hub as a space for file management. Upload documents, images and videos, build a library of resources you can share with your team and volunteers.   


Encourage volunteers and managers to engage with one another via a built-in, private, integrated Discourse forum.

Send out individual or bulk SMS messages and emails and send push notifications to your users which can notify them of an update, message, invite or any other action in the App (Available on iOS and Android).

Use the internal messaging centre to keep communication centralised with a clear audit trail. 

Customise news and target content towards different volunteers depending on their tag preferences, team or role.


Save hours of scheduling with our intuitive and easy-to-use rota builder.  Effortlessly schedule one-off or ongoing shifts and eliminate conflicts with a visual overview that’s in front of you.

Volunteers can log in and see their shifts anytime, anywhere. With this optional permission, it’s just as easy for volunteers to go in and assign a shift to themselves. 

Automatic notifications and reminders keep everyone in the loop with regards to any updates or changes – you can relax in the knowledge that your team will always have the latest rota. 

Assign tasks to specific volunteers or leave open for your team to pick up at some point in the future.

Track and manage any event from day one to deadline.


Measure the impact your volunteers are having with our powerful reports dashboard. Capture KPI’s and get in-depth, customisable data on anything from volunteer hours to reasons for leaving.

Automatically capture your volunteer hours. Any shift or event carried out on Assemble will go against a volunteer profile and will be captured for reporting purposes. 

Uncover the bottlenecks in your recruitment process and see where applicants are getting stuck and where you can improve. Find the average time it takes to move an applicant from sign-up to any stage in the applicant pipeline.

Assemble also exports all the data you need in a clean, readable format.

Want to find out more? Request a demo.