- 4 min read
The RSPCA is the UK’s largest animal welfare charity. In 2018, together with their 6,000 volunteers they helped rescue and collect over 129,602 animals.
Their mission is to prevent cruelty, promote kindness to and alleviate suffering of all animals. As part of a long-term strategic plan, the Society wanted to modernise and optimise their approach to delivering animal welfare by driving an agile and digitally-enabled organisation.
“Since launching Assemble, we have moved volunteering in the RSPCA out of the dark ages and into a modern and bright future” - John Wilkins - RSPCA Head of Volunteering & Apprenticeships.
Many not-for-profits are trying to find ways to improve process and continuity in volunteering. Teams are often extremely siloed from each other and the spread of data and processes across systems is having a negative impact on both security and volunteer experience.
After initial research and product demonstrations, the RSPCA identified that most volunteer management solutions were limited in terms of their set-up and functionality, lacking the ability to sensibly and intuitively manage large amounts of data. As an organisation that is made up of a network of branches and centres across the UK, they wanted to centralise their volunteering and needed a platform to help them do so.
The RSPCA decided that across the Society they would start using Assemble Enterprise to manage their volunteers. Doing so allowed the organisation to keep everything in one convenient place, whilst establishing more uniform processes around volunteering.
Understanding that no two organisations are exactly alike – Assemble is flexible in how it can be structured, ideally designed for the scale, security and compliance needs of large organisations. Supporting an infinite number of levels and teams, The RSPCA were able to customise their hierarchy so both staff members and volunteers sit exactly where they need to.
Like many not-for-profits, the Society is made up of different 'Teams', including Fundraising, Education and Retail and within those teams are different regions and areas. Adapted to reflect this in Assemble, The RSPCA are now able to drive reporting, group together permissions, customise access to functionality – and provide those that need it – with a bird’s eye view of everything going on across their organisation.
Aside from making it easier to manage the volunteers they’re responsible for, Assemble also proves invaluable when users are looking to filter and find someone in particular, carry out bulk actions, facilitate group communication, but most importantly for the Society – streamline recruitment.
“Assemble has transformed volunteering in the RSPCA. We now have, for the first time in our history, up to date accurate management information on which to base our business decisions and strategy."
With the concept of ‘Teams’ now in place and continuous peace of mind about the safety of its data, it provided the RSPCA an opportunity to formalise their volunteer offering. Utilising the comprehensive recruitment functionality Assemble offers, they have stripped away previously manual processes to help ensure consistency and establish new efficiencies.
They now use Role Profiles to seamlessly create new volunteer opportunities that automatically link through to their public website. For The RSPCA, this essentially acts as a building block that includes the advert, details, required skills, benefits and any responsibilities associated with the role. It also lets them determine what information they want to collect from applicants during the sign-up process, any questions they’ll be asked and what recruitment stages they’ll go through. Depending on the role, RSPCA can customise it so applicants filter straight through to clearance or create extra layers for an opportunity that may need a little more screening.
Assigning these Role Profiles to specific teams helps automate the legwork and accelerates their recruitment process. Every new application now filters via Assemble and automatic emails and notifications update the relevant team members responsible. If volunteers are successful with their application they are automatically added to Assemble as part of that team. With best practise baked into the system, RSPCA volunteers can now follow a set onboarding path where they’ll be acquainted with the resources they need to get started and prompted to complete any induction/training modules for their new role.
By establishing new efficiencies, Assemble Enterprise has helped RSPCA streamline operations, which ultimately supports the organisation’s growth and social mission. Anita Clarke – Volunteer Coordinator explains “We have found it so much easier to manage volunteer applications. Volunteers can respond to adverts immediately, reference requests are actioned quickly and all the info is in one place.”
"Assemble has sped up our application process, and takes so much administrative work away from our local coordinators."
The move to Assemble Enterprise has not only provided RSPCA with the opportunity to centralise their volunteering, it has also had a direct impact on the number of animals they have helped to rescue. From increasing collaboration and transparency across the organisation to ensuring a quick and streamlined recruitment process, Assemble has become an instrumental part of scaling the RSPCA operation.
As John Wilkins explains, “Assemble has transformed volunteering in the RSPCA. We now have, for the first time in our history, up to date accurate management information on which to base our business decisions and strategy. Through Assemble, we are able to engage with our volunteers and reward them for their valued contribution to the Society and animal welfare.”
With Assemble continuing to release new features, including the Moodle integration for e-learning, RSPCA continue to improve their volunteer experience and find opportunities for efficiency gains. John sums it up, saying: “Our volunteers and coordinators are at the cutting edge of the RSPCA’s modernisation. Through Assemble, we have given our volunteers a voice, and we are now listening to what they want their Society to be.”