Tracking service hours can provide your nonprofit with insights into impact, reduce time on manual processes, and create opportunities for program optimization.

Automation is making the process of tracking service hours in 2018 more streamlined than ever before. Nonprofits use to have to dedicate hundreds of hours a year to a manual, paperwork-heavy volunteer management process. Those days are now over with ability to access volunteer management tools that enhance the operation and data collection capabilities. If your organization is not using a volunteer management solution to track volunteers there is a chance you are missing out on truly understanding your organization’s supporters and what entices them to give.

Whether your organization is using a manual or automated volunteer tracking process there are a few key insights you will want to measure regularly. Here are some tips on what to track.

Tracking Service Hours

One of the most important metrics that your organization needs to track and measure is volunteer hours. This measurement is both crucial for understanding volunteer behavior and for providing data to the volunteers who are filling organizational opportunities. Many organizations track volunteer hours via spreadsheets that are prone to errors and take a lot of time to actively maintain.

Volunteer management software can automate this process and automatically track volunteer hours and attendance for each volunteer by event.

Imagine what other areas of your volunteer program could be improved by freeing up your staff’s time through a volunteer hour tracking software solution!  

Tracking Service Hours: Engagement

Volunteer engagement can be a difficult metric to track especially if your organization uses a manual data-collection process. One of the best and most popular ways to measure volunteer engagement is by surveying your supporters. Volunteer engagement surveys can provide your organization with key insights and identify opportunities for program improvement. There are several drivers your organization will want to target as part of your volunteer engagement survey.

The Conference Board of Canada has identified these drivers as:

  1. Trust and integrity
  2. The work of the role
  3. Individual contribution impact on organization performance
  4. Personal/professional growth opportunities
  5. Pride in the organization/cause
  6. Working with other volunteers
  7. Volunteer development
  8. Relationship with supervisor/manager of volunteer

Investing in a volunteer management solution can help your organization use data from your volunteer engagement survey to improve relationships. For example: If your organization identifies lack of trust and integrity you can use the communication features of volunteer management software to improve that area of your program. Another example: If your organization identifies dissatisfaction with the work of a specific role your organization can introduce other roles (based on skills and abilities) to a volunteer that may deliver a more satisfying experience.

Tracking Retention

According to statistics, 33% of volunteers stop donating their time after there first opportunity fulfillment. Volunteers leave for a plethora of reasons including time restraints, lack of communication from NPO, feeling of isolation during opportunity fulfillment, lack of on-going training, and volunteer burnout. Nonprofits need to make a commitment to identifying and measuring retention metrics.

Measuring volunteer retention when using a manual tracking process is not impossible but it is challenging and yet again requires spreadsheets and paperwork (poor trees!). Tracking automation can provide your organization with insights into how often volunteers are filling opportunities, what roles they are filling, and what the volunteer turnover rate for your organization is.

Preferred Volunteer Shifts / Roles

Understanding volunteer’s specific skills and capabilities can help your nonprofit place supporters in roles that push your organization forward and enhance volunteer engagement at the same time. Leveraging this important data using a manual process would require files for each volunteer containing this information…. more paperwork.

An automated volunteer management system can capture skills and abilities for each volunteer and provide the data instantly from anywhere. Imagine the roles that your organization could create if you better understood your volunteer’s strengths and weaknesses! Nonprofits that use volunteer management software can also see what shifts were the most popular based on attendance and sign-up data. Organizations can use this information to make changes to their fulfillment schedule based on most desired time slots.

Volunteer Waivers

Protecting your nonprofit against liability and accidental mishaps is an important part of effectively tracking service hours. Some opportunities may require liability waivers and some opportunities may not. Tracking liability waivers is yet another area in which automation can improve your organization’s overall process and protect against liability. Volunteer management software, like VolunteerHub, allows organizations, like yours, to manage multiple job and date specific liability and verify completion as part of the registration process.

Volunteer Rewards and Recognition

Providing rewards and recognition is a way to increase volunteer engagement. Deploying a rewards and recognition program can create friendly competition and comradery amongst your organizational supporters. Volunteer management software can help your nonprofit add rewards, recognition, and gamification to your program and track it.

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