What contributes towards volunteer management software costs?
At this point in your research, you’re most likely confident that volunteer management software can assist you with the recruitment, management, and retention of your volunteers. However, prior to implementation, it’s important to acknowledge the factors that contribute towards costs, allowing you to accurately plan your budget accordingly.
In this article, we detail these key volunteer management software cost elements to simplify the planning stage of your journey to help ensure that you choose a product that meets both your functional requirements and budget.
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What factors influence volunteer management software cost?
Before buying volunteer management software, there are several things you should consider. One of these is cost, which can be influenced by a number of factors and should be outlined in the pricing guides of respective providers.
These cost elements will heavily rely on the size and unique requirements of your organisation, alongside the pricing structure offered by software providers. This pricing structure typically offers implementation packages, which include a breakdown of key implementation costs. It’s therefore essential that you identify these areas prior to negotiating with any volunteer management software providers, to ensure you choose a pricing package that best suits your budget.
The most common factors that influence volunteer management software cost include:
- Customised branding
- Number of volunteers and managers
- Support and training
- Data consultancy
- System integrations
We delve into these factors in more detail below.
Applying customised branding can help bring your organisation to the forefront, creating a personalised touch that allows both potential and current volunteers to instantly recognise your brand. Customised branding can commonly include the following elements:
Logo integration – Displayed in key areas to ensure your brand is clearly outlined.
Colour scheme customisation - Adjusted to match your organisation’s pantone colours. This can include modifying colours in relation to backgrounds, text, buttons and any other visual elements.
Font consistency – Adopting specific fonts or typography to ensure consistency to the visual representation of your organisation’s brand.
Cohesive branding elements – Ensuring that other elements such as icons, banners, headers and footers, images, and graphics adhere to your branding guidelines.
Applying your own unique identity by adhering to certain branding guidelines will typically be reflected in the price you pay for the volunteer management software. Quite often, customisation features are offered as part of a more premium payment plan, which you should consider as part of your budget.
Number of volunteers and managers
The number of respective volunteer and manager-level access permissions will be a crucial factor in the cost of your volunteer management software implementation.
As the titles suggest, there is a distinction between the level of access these users are allowed within the volunteer management software. While this may not be the same for all software providers, the following represents an example of what these permission types entail.
Volunteer permission – A ‘Volunteer’ will be limited to the information they can access but will be able to view details such as their user profile, contact details, and role profiles, while also being able to identify their manager. In addition, they could also update their contact details.
Manager permission – A ‘Manager’ will have full access to the details relating to the records of the respective volunteers that they manage.
The price relating to these permissions will be reflected in how many are required. Software providers may offer several payment plans, whereby when a number threshold is crossed - or if you simply require unlimited permissions – you will be placed in the higher pricing tier. The size of your organisation will therefore play a major part in the number of permissions you need.
Support and training
Implementation support and training is fairly common among volunteer management software providers. However, this can often differ depending on the level of support that has been agreed, which will be reflected in your payment plan.
Put simply, the more time that is invested into a personalised training and support plan will likely cost more than a standard package. The variable elements within these support plans can include:
- Number of trainees
- Available service hours
- Available service channels e.g. live chat
- Expected response times
- Continued post-implementation support
Prior to making a final decision on a product, it’s crucial that you identify the level of support that your organisation requires in line with its structure, and most importantly, your budget.
See our ‘Customer Success Plans’ for more information.
Whether you’re moving from an existing piece of software or currently use just a spreadsheet, you may require consultancy regarding your data to ensure a seamless transition.
Where consultancy is concerned, this commonly relates to ‘data cleaning’ and ‘data migration’ that can be utilised to ensure relevant, accurate volunteer data. We explore these concepts in more detail below.
Data cleaning - The process of correcting or removing errors, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies stored within your volunteer records. You can therefore enhance the quality and relevance of your volunteer data by making it more accurate and reliable through the following actions:
- Identifying and removing duplicate volunteer records
- Identifying and amending data errors such as misspelt names and formatting issues
- Deleting records of inactive volunteers
- Standardising fields such as names, addresses and contact details to a consistent format
- Verifying all volunteer information has been filled in the correct fields
Data migration – The process of transferring data from one piece of software to another. This commonly involves moving this data from an older or outdated platform to a more desirable one. Regardless, when implementing new volunteer management software, organisations often need to migrate their existing volunteer data to ensure continuity and avoid data loss.
Data migration typically involves the following steps:
- Planning – Identify the data that requires migration
- Data mapping – Map the structure and fields of the existing software to the structure of the new platform
- Data extraction – Extract relevant data from the old system and ensure it is exported to the new
- Data transformation – Format the data to align with the structure requirements of the new volunteer management system
- Data loading – Load the formatted data into the new system
- Data validation and testing – Validate and test the loaded data to ensure it is accurate and functions correctly within the new volunteer management system
The technical processes associated with both data cleaning and migration are such that you may understandably opt for a consultant to take on this responsibility. If you choose this approach, it is likely to increase the volunteer management software cost either via an additional fee or by having to opt for a more premium package.
Integrating volunteer management software with other systems can streamline your processes and improve the overall efficiency of your organisation.
This is most commonly found with CRM integrations, which allow you to gain a deeper understanding of your volunteers with real-time analytics such as their behaviours and the type of content that interests them.
Advanced API integration allows your volunteer management software to connect seamlessly with third party platforms such as this, to ensure your system functions to its full potential. However, depending on the number and complexity of these, it can also be represented by the implementation costs as you may be required to pay a premium package.
Implement suitable volunteer management software
Acknowledging the factors that influence the costs of respective volunteer management software is essential in finding a cost-effective system. With this knowledge, you can be confident in finding a product that meets your functional requirements without going over budget.
At Assemble, we encourage you to contact several providers to compare prices and find a suitable volunteer management system. But why not start with us? Assemble was built by volunteering development professionals and our insightful team is happy to support your journey and point you in the right direction.