Volunteer Management Software Comparisons

Concept of feedback, testimonials messages and notifications. Five big stars with people sitting on them and giving reviews on their laptops.

Having trouble deciding what's important in VM software?

Here’s some advice from various Volunteer Management professionals!

Rob Jackson,  Rob Jackson Consulting:

http://www.robjacksonconsulting.com/

Rob has written, spoken and trained on volunteer programme management internationally for more than twenty-five years.  He has co-authored three books as well as contributing dozens of articles to a wide range of publications around the world.

 

Beth Steinhorn, President VQ Volunteer Strategies

https://vqstrategies.com/

Beth partners with organizations and their leadership to increase their impact through strategic and innovative engagement. The author of multiple books and articles on strategic volunteer engagement, she is a popular trainer and regularly participates in the national dialogue about volunteerism and engagement. Prior to becoming a consultant, Beth worked as an executive director and marketing director with education and faith-based organizations and spent years working with museums as an educator, manager, and anthropologist. She draws upon her anthropology experience still, helping organizations through the culture shift process – from viewing volunteer management as a program to embracing engagement as a strategy to fulfill mission.

 

Tobi Johnson, MA, CVA, President, Tobi Johnson & Associates | VolunteerPro
 
Tobi Johnson is an internationally sought after expert, consultant, and master trainer in volunteer engagement. She is known for her modern thought leadership, highly practical evidence-based strategies, and innovative, “big hat” thinking around engaging, supporting, and acknowledging the work of volunteers. Each year, her firm conducts the Volunteer Management Progress Report, providing free state-of-the-industry insights and data for volunteer-driven organiztions. She is also the co-host of the Time + Talent Podcast and hosts the VolunteerPro Insiders Group on Facebook where leaders of volunteers connect and learn.
 
 
Martin J. Cowling
 
Martin is a volunteer, manager of volunteers and a consultant to organisations on how to effectively mobilise volunteers. He has worked with very small and very large organisations across the globe to help organisations attract and keep volunteers, donations and public support. Martin is passionate about ensuring volunteers have the best possible experience whilst ensuring they achieve results for the community(ies) they serve.

 

I am sometimes asked for my views on volunteer management software. Which products are best? What should the software do? What are important features and
benefits? In this article I want to give you my perspective on three important things to consider when looking for software to help you in your volunteer engagement
work.

  1. Get your data in order first. Remember that with any software the rule of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ applies. It doesn’t matter what the product is and what it can do, if you input rubbish data and / or fail to keep the data held up-to-date, you will not realise the benefits of investing a new system. Before you part with money for a shiny new volunteer system, get your house in order first. Make sure the data you already hold is accurate and that processes and practices are in place for – and followed by – everyone working with volunteers to keep the data in tip-top condition.
  2. Data storage vs relationship management. Do you want to simply store volunteer data so you know who your volunteers are, their contact details etc.? In some organisations an Excel spreadsheet might do this perfectly well, provided it is stored and managed in a secure manner. In others, a featured product with a few more features (data sharing between teams, for example) might do the trick, either as stand-alone volunteer system or a module in a product used by another team e.g. fundraising / development, membership, HR etc. On the other hand, you may be looking for something that goes beyond simple data storage. You might want: reporting functions; the ability to communicate with volunteers by email, SMS, WhatsApp, social media etc.; document storage and sharing; logging volunteer hours; fuller integration with other organisational systems etc.. If this is you then look to systems that provide a more fully featured suite of customer relationship management (CRM) tools for volunteers.
  3.  Put volunteers in control. As individuals we want control over our lives and our information. We want to do things on our terms, not someone else’s. For example, we like to do our banking or shopping on the move, not be tied to visiting a physical branch or grocery store all the time.People are the same when it comes to volunteering. They want to keep their own data up-to-date. They want to be in control of logging their hours. They want to be in control of when they give you their time. They want to see their own personalised reporting data. They don’t want to have to reply on speaking to you or a colleague every time they need to change their availability, update their email address, or see the current number of hours they have given this year. Look for a system that puts volunteers in control. Can they update their profile and availability? Can they apply online? Can they do all this easily from a smart- phone (app or web browser)? Volunteers who can will likely be happier and more engaged. And you’ll be able to shift your attention from updating their data for them, focusing instead on more strategic and developmental work.

While having a clear and focused strategy is the most vital tool to ensure that engagement efforts are impactful and meaningful – not to mention, sustainable – having the right infrastructure, including volunteer management software, goes hand in hand with strategy. Strategy articulates the vision (the destination for success) and establishes the route to take and milestones to pass on our journey towards that destination, but infrastructure is the vehicle that takes us there. A useful and robust volunteer management software can make the journey smooth and efficient – or bumpy and unpleasant. Here are three considerations we recommend when exploring volunteer management software for your organization.

1.     Ease of use and access to technical support. You shouldn’t have to work for your volunteer management software – the software should work for you and for the volunteers who engage with you. Find a product that is intuitive, easy to use, and easy to train others to use. Talk to other users to confirm whether the tech support is easily accessible, responsive, and helpful.

2.     Volunteer control over data and scheduling. Volunteers should be able to log in, update their own information, and even self-schedule if appropriate for your organization. When volunteers have control over their own profiles, they have more ownership over their engagement and save staff time for updating data as well. Fluid interface with mobile – so that volunteers can update their schedules using their cell phones or other devices – makes volunteering accessible to even more volunteers, who, increasingly, are accessing information and opportunities on mobile devices.

3.     Robust impact measurement. Increasingly, organizational leaders, funders, community members, and volunteers themselves are interested in understanding the difference that volunteers contribute towards mission-fulfillment. In other words, the field is interested in measuring volunteer impact in ways beyond hours served. Comprehensive volunteer management software should be a partner in this endeavor, with customizable options to track impacts such as contacts with clients, trees planted, books read, and more. In this way, the software helps to tell the story of how volunteers are a vital strategy to achieve mission.

In order to lead a modern, effective volunteer strategy, you need the right tools. Volunteer management software is an essential element to your success. 
 
But which platform will serve your needs best?  Below are three things to consider as you explore the options and make your investment:
  1. Be Purposeful – Use a step-by-step strategy to make your decision (see our recommended process here). Switching platforms takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s likely that you’ll live with your choice for years to come. So, choose carefully. Decide who will be part of the selection team. If volunteers will be using the software (hint: you can save a lot of time if volunteers are able to manage their own profiles and log their activity), then include a few volunteer representatives on your team. By involving people who will be the end-users of your software, you will also be developing a team of champions who will be invaluable supports in your new software roll out.
  2. Be Clear on Your Needs – While one software system can’t do it all, you need to be crystal clear on your “nice to have” versus “need to have” features.  It’s easy to get distracted by bells and whistles, but what are your core needs? What can’t you live without? What will make the investment of time and funds worthwhile? Take the time to figure this out.  You can use free our Volunteer Management Software Requirements Planning Sheet to get your ducks in a row — get your copy here.
  3. Be Sure Your System Creates Community – Yes, it’s important to log volunteer hours, track onboarding requirements, and produce reliable data. But, today’s modern volunteer strategy requires more. You need to be able to cultivate connections and deep commitment from your community, and your software should help you do that. This means that your chosen platform needs to be a workhorse in terms of communicating with volunteers, building relationships, and increasing their skills and confidence, all while you go about the rest of your day. Look for systems with automated email communications you can set and forget, e-learning functionality so that volunteers can upskill online, and a “logged in” self-service experience for volunteers that has a simple user interface. These are only a few features that can help you build and strengthen relationships with your supporters and keep them coming back for more.
I wish you the best of luck in your search and thank you for the essential work you do to make the world a better place. 🙂
 Martin’s Top 3 considerations for choosing software:
 
  1.  Simple to use
    I will be training people with a variety of skills and little free time in a Not for profit on using this software. If they cannot learn the basics fast, then the system is lost. I try and make all training for volunteers as short and simple as possible.
  2. Self service.
    I want volunteers and their coordinators to be able to use it as much as possible without having to come through the volunteer section or department. If a volunteer does not have access to a device or an inability to use the system, manual backups need to be able to be processed fast.
  3. Sizzling data
    I want to be able to tell my Board how the volunteers contributed in meaningful data. Sure, everyone can tell me that their volunteers gave 500 hours last week – but can you tell me the impact of those hours, the broad work duties they performed, and how the clients and volunteers felt about it? That gets me excited!

    Good luck with your work and your choices.

If you are a consultant and would like your three most important points to consider added to the site, email them to Kristi along with a couple of sentences about you and your work.

Only generic advice that does not endorse any particular product will be posted.

All the reviews – all in one place!

Software is listed in alphabetical order.

Better Impact

Capterra4.718 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.930 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Trustpilot4.7173 ReviewsRead the Reviews

Cervis Technologies

Capterra4.417 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G23.510 ReviewsRead the Reviews

Charity Republic

Capterra4.85 ReviewsRead the Reviews

Galaxy Digital

(Get Connected)

Capterra4.456 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.597 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp4.3856 ReviewsRead the Reviews

In It Live

GetApp4.5873 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.524 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Capterra4.673 ReviewsRead the Reviews

KeepnTrack

Capterra4.212 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Trustpilot3.925 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G2N/A Not enough Reviews0.00 Reviews

NationBuilder

Capterra3.931 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G23.950 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp3.931 ReviewsRead the Reviews

Neon CRM

Capterra4.4427 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.052 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp4.43427 ReviewsRead the Reviews


Netsuite

Software Advice3.77113 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G23.91097 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp4.17566 ReviewsRead the Reviews


Offero

Capterra4.811 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G2N/A Not enough Reviews0.00 Reviews
GetApp4.8211 ReviewsRead the Reviews


PAAM

No Reviews FoundN/A Not enough Reviews0.00 Reviews


Samaritan Technologies eCoordinator

Capterra4.67 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G23.85 ReviewsRead the Reviews


SignUp.com

Capterra4.8305 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.725 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp4.79205 ReviewsRead the Reviews


SignUp Genius

Capterra4.61124 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Trustpilot4.72497 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.4110 ReviewsRead the Reviews


Team Kinetic

Trustpilot3.413 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Capterra4.431 ReviewsRead the Reviews


Timecounts

G24.234 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Capterra4.916 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp4.916 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Track it ForwardCapterra4.826 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.51 ReviewRead the Reviews


VIRA

No Reviews FoundN/A Not enough Reviews0.00 Reviews


Volgistics

G24.131 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Capterra4.561 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp4.4961 ReviewsRead the Reviews


VolunteerHub

Capterra Reviews4.125 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.213 ReviewsRead the Reviews


Volunteer Local

Capterra4.7103 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G24.83 ReviewsRead the Reviews
GetApp4.75103 ReviewsRead the Reviews


Volunteer Mark

Capterra4.125 ReviewsRead the Reviews
Software Advice4.1225 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G23.95 ReviewsRead the Reviews


Volunteer Reporter

Volunteer Software

CapterraN/A Not enough Reviews0.00 Reviews
G2N/A Not enough Reviews0.00 Reviews


VSys-One

Capterra4.710 ReviewsRead the Reviews
G2N/A Not enough Reviews0.00 Reviews

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