I’m using a new (to me) volunteer management software right now, called Volunteer Squared. Rather confusingly, it is sometimes called Volunteer Impact on the back-end, and to volunteers it’s known as myVolunteerPage.com. Multiple names aside, it’s a rather intuitive system, with all the functions you’d expect – filters, direct emails, reports… – and a few that are sorely lacking (I searched high and low for a way to insert a logo into outgoing emails, to create a signature matching my usual one – unfortunately in vain).
I’m currently working for Luminato as Volunteer Coordinator, and the volume and complexity of the volunteer program calls for a robust dedicated contact management system.
Because I’m prone to bouts of extensive comparative research, I started looking up other large events and organisations to check which system they use, going as far as signing up for a few of them. So far, I’m staggered by the number of different volunteer management platforms out there. Volunteer Squared, Volgistics, Volunteer Hub, Go2Give… there’s also VolunteerMatters, which I reviewed a little while ago on another blog… and finally, the feature-light but free Volunteer Spot, also reviewed, and recommended to get a taste of how volunteer management can be assisted by technology.
There are even more options listed on Jayne Cravens’ Coyote Communications website, in a handy comparative table that she updates regularly. Choosing the right software is rather complicated but absolutely crucial, because chances are that once you’ve configured the system, set up your templates, created your registration form… you won’t want to do it again anytime soon.
Which is why I’m happy to stick with the software I’ve inherited in my new role – especially 3 months before the festival. However, if I had to choose one amongst all of the above to start from scratch, I would have a hard time. Given that there might be a few staff members in charge of coordinating volunteers versus several hundreds volunteers using the system, my first criteria would probably be a nice, simple interface that works just the same on all devices and platforms. So I’ll carry on signing up for testing purposes, and chances are that I’ll get tempted to get involved with a few local organisations… because, rather fittingly, I love volunteering for festivals!