“One of the most important parts of being a nonprofit is attracting more donors. Turning on VolunteerHub’s integration with The Raiser’s Edge allows us to do that without any additional capital.” ~Natasha Thompson, CEO at Food Bank of the Southern Tier
Utilizing over 8,000 volunteers annually, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier relies heavily on donated time to achieve its mission of building and sustaining hunger-free communities. With so many new faces coming through its doors each year, the organization also realizes the potential impact these individuals can have on achieving its operational goals.
The Food Bank had already adopted The Raiser’s Edge (hosted edition) as its CRM of choice for managing donor information. So, when the time came to select a volunteer management software application, VolunteerHub was the natural fit.
“VolunteerHub’s single biggest selling factor was its integration with The Raiser’s Edge. It was a must-have for us,” said Natasha Thompson. “We especially liked the fact that VolunteerHub automatically creates and updates constituent records in our CRM. There is a lot of value in this level of automation.”
A Smooth Transition to the Cloud
“The process was very labor intensive before VolunteerHub,” said Nancy Jean Perkins, Volunteer Coordinator at Food Bank of the Southern Tier. “Volunteers would call or email me to find out what was going on. Internally, we used an Outlook calendar to try and keep events organized, but it was a manual process.”
At the recommendation of another food bank, the Southern Tier team learned about VolunteerHub. After digging into the features and learning about VolunteerHub’s integration with The Raiser’s Edge, the organization decided to move forward in late 2014.
“We did our due diligence and considered a few other volunteer systems, but VolunteerHub was head and shoulders above the rest,” said Natasha.
Shortly after implementation and training, Nancy and her team got to work building event pages in VolunteerHub. In addition, the Food Bank designed a communication plan to educate volunteers about the new system.
“We started by posting flyers in the volunteer lounge and also engaged directly with influential volunteers. We worked to get their buy-in for the new volunteer system and then asked them to promote it with others,” commented Nancy.
The net result was a smooth transition to the cloud. Within a three-month period, the organization had all of its volunteers and events stored securely in VolunteerHub. The days of handwritten notes and Outlook calendar reminders became a distant memory.
Greater Capacity, Fresh Ideas
By automating volunteer and event management through VolunteerHub, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier now has more time to develop engagement strategies. Instead of relying on anecdotal information, the organization now has a treasure trove of data at its fingertips.
“VolunteerHub lets us look at our volunteer program in a more structured way,” said Natasha Thompson. “For example, VolunteerHub helped us identify that Wednesday evenings were not as popular with volunteers. We took this information into consideration and designed some exciting theme nights to get volunteers engaged.”
The Food Bank has even developed a number of new volunteer events, which, prior to VolunteerHub, would have been practically impossible to organize.
“The system has also broadened the number of volunteer opportunities that we can offer. Volunteers are now able to participate in our summer food sites and off-site re-pack programs, thanks in large part to VolunteerHub,” said Nancy. “VolunteerHub has freed up our team to think more strategically. Now, we can develop a new idea, build it out in VolunteerHub, and start recruiting – instead of spending time on administrative details.”
Opportunity to Engage Corporate Sponsors
VolunteerHub even opened up new opportunities to engage with corporate sponsors.
“For over a year, we were looking for the right sponsorship opportunity for a network of car dealerships in our community,” recalled Natasha. “When VolunteerHub came along, we knew it was the perfect fit. Now, every volunteer email and webpage is branded with our corporate partner’s logo. Our partner is getting the visibility it desires, and our organization is able to offset the entire cost of VolunteerHub.”
Volunteers Love VolunteerHub, Too
The feedback from volunteers has been overwhelmingly positive. Volunteers are able to browse and register for events that appeal to them – all from the comfort of their homes or offices. Instead of filling out paper registration forms or liability waivers, everything is now handled electronically within VolunteerHub.
“75% of our volunteers absolutely love every aspect of VolunteerHub,” said Nancy. “The remaining 25% are less comfortable using technology, but the system accommodates these volunteers, too. I simply create an account on their behalf, and we go from there.”
Volunteers also benefit from the integration with The Raiser’s Edge. With each new volunteer account created in VolunteerHub, a matching constituent record is automatically built in the organization’s CRM. This ensures that each supporter receives the Food Bank’s emails, calls, and texts – for both volunteerism and fundraising.
“By connecting VolunteerHub to The Raiser’s Edge, we now have much more accurate contact information for both volunteers and donors,” said Natasha. “This results in better informed, highly engaged supporters.”
VolunteerHub Helps Organizations Do More Good
When asked to sum up the Food Bank’s overall experience with VolunteerHub, Natasha Thompson said it best:
“We’re able to quickly and efficiently get more food to more neighbors in need thanks to VolunteerHub. I don’t know how we ever lived without VolunteerHub. It streamlines the volunteer process, makes us look more professional, and helps us do our jobs better.”