App overload? The power of a single volunteer management system

Digital Transformation, Features, Nonprofit, Public Sector

Written by Katie Taaffe

Digital technology is designed and intended to help employees be more productive. However, a surplus of workplace applications — dubbed as app overload — could, in fact, cause the opposite effect. By switching between apps throughout the day, employees are less efficient and more likely to miss messages, actions, and deadlines

In a survey among 2,000 workers from the US, UK, and Australia, 69% of workers say they waste up to an hour navigating between work-related applications, and 68% shift between apps up to 10 times within an hour. Reports vary, but indicate that people switch between 10–25 apps per day for their work. 

This phenomenon is not unique to businesses and their employees, which is why everything we do at Assemble’s software is geared towards ensuring organisations and volunteer managers can improve productivity throughout the volunteer journey.

Why does app overload impair productivity? 

App overload is today’s most popular form of ‘context switching’, the term coined for the process of moving from one task to another in rapid succession. Context switching has been studied to sap cognitive function, depress productivity, and cause fatigue. 

It makes perfect sense that in switching focus from one to another task, the brain has to “unload” the previous context and “load up” a new one. One study found that it takes an average of nine and a half minutes to get back into a good workflow after switching between applications. 

Apps that office workers typically use include email, office programs, file sharing, voice communications, social media, online document collaboration, video conferencing, messaging, HR software, and CRM  systems. Each of these apps have their own user experiences. Users have to adjust or may need to be trained on each. These apps have their own login process. Security considerations also vary. Using these applications for work on a daily basis, not to mention other apps that people use for their personal life, can take a toll. 

Volunteer management in a single application

The volunteer journey requires managers and coordinators to be proficient and agile in a cross-section of highly administrative tasks. This too can be plagued by app overload, whereby organisations recruit, manage and communicate with volunteers using a range of SaaS, or other applications.  

With Assemble, organisations can manage volunteers inside one tidy platform. Instead of switching between apps, volunteer managers need only to switch between features with one consistent user experience. Moving to a full life-cycle application tailored specifically for volunteer management has already demonstrated benefits to nonprofits, charities, the public sector, emergency services and the NHS. 

Assemble takes the hard work out of tasks such as recruiting volunteers, creating rotas, planning events, managing expenses and generating reports among many other functionalities. Instead of switching between multiple apps, platforms and digital services, Assemble is a full-suite all-in-one app with over 130 features built to connect, manage, and retain volunteers. 

Digital transformation for volunteering 

Volunteer management solutions typically focus on specific tasks or processes, such as recruitment or scheduling. Each providers solution should be explored and compared with a full demo as the user experience and depth of features ranges significantly between the offerings. Some organisations choose to build on top of an existing CRM and whilst this is possible, it can be problematic and expensive in delivering a range of comprehensive features.

As a volunteer management software, Assemble supports the end-to-end journey for both volunteers and volunteer managers. Our product team have spent years learning about volunteering pain points and refining our features so that customers can spend less time on administrative tasks and focus more on what matters most to them. 

As a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) application, we continually deliver updates and iterations that reflect user feedback and keep pace with best practices in volunteer management. As a web and mobile app, Assemble empowers both volunteer managers and volunteers to more efficiently take control of their responsibilities and keep communicating. 

Customer stories: productivity leads to impact 

As a volunteer management system, Assemble automates workflows, streamlines processes, and improves communication to free up valuable time and help organisations become more effective in their work. 

RSPCA, the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, wanted to better manage volunteering activities and organise large volumes of data. In 2018, RSPCA started working with Assemble. Since then, our software has helped centralise volunteer management, streamline recruitment, better make sense of volunteer data and scale operations. They also attest to the impact of this digital transformation in increasing the number of animals they have helped to rescue. 

Assemble also played a proud role in powering volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic. Leicester City Council’s digital transformation team used Assemble to create online adverts and volunteer applications forms, automate the recruitment process and welcoming communications, schedule available volunteer sessions, and enable volunteers to self-serve and book on to the sessions they could attend.  

Children’s charity Barnardo’s implemented Assemble to improve some of the fundamental recruitment, management and reporting functions of the organisation and provide a central home for volunteer data and communications. It is now integral to supporting UK wide recruitment and scheduling for more than 600 retail stores and regional ‘Service’ teams that work on projects in the community.  

Read more of our customer stories to learn about how Assemble is helping organisations improve the volunteer journey. 

Volunteer management software unified

To end workplace chaos, around two-thirds of workers believe that a unified platform can help them achieve better workflow (67%), be more productive (65%), and make work feel less chaotic (62%). This will resonate with many of our customers who had previously used multiple digital tools and email clients to manage volunteers.

Simplifying volunteer management with technology requires an in-depth understanding of our users. Assemble provides a home to store and filter data, define and streamline processes, improve communication and measure impact. In allowing us to focus productivity throughout the volunteer journey, there’s more time for our users to focus on what counts.

To learn more about how Assemble can deliver these results for your organisation, request a demo