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VolunteerHub has helped West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM) reduce administrative time, grow active volunteers, increase donations, and better engage corporate partners. We had an opportunity to talk to Matthew Herrera, Volunteer Experience Manager for WHAM and learn how his organization is leveraging VolunteerHub.
What is your role with WHAM? What is the day-to-day like?
Matthew: As an organization, we run a food pantry and a resale store. We also have client services focused on job readiness and education. My role as a volunteer manager is to oversee all three programs, in terms of volunteers. I provide food pantry volunteers, client service volunteers, and resale store volunteers. Our biggest program is our food pantry. Last year, we assisted over 130,000 people and gave out 2.6 million pounds of food. Food coming in and food going out is handled by our volunteers, and our staff of 8 people. 6 days out of week, we have volunteers involved in something here at WHAM.
What is the aim of WHAM?
Matthew: Our clients come to use in crisis, our goal is to get them to self-sufficiency.
When did you launch your instance of VolunteerHub?
Matthew: I started with WHAM a little less than a year-ago and we launched VolunteerHub June 1st. Since launching VolunteerHub, we have had over 1400 volunteers fulfill opportunities. We have had extreme success with VolunteerHub, allowing us to increase our impact and better support the community. I am hoping other volunteer managers will listen to this conversation, and can model what we have done to grow our program.
How did you manage volunteers before VolunteerHub?
Matthew: When I started with WHAM, volunteer data was managed with manually. Our volunteers would fill out a form, I would copy the information and paste it into Microsoft Access, and then I would have to send an email to the background check provider we previously worked with. The process was so inefficient, prone to errors, took up way to much of my time, and forced volunteers to wait a week to get through the process and finally schedule, an unacceptable amount. Our database was also not cloud-based so I could not access it unless I was at my computer. Our old process was not sustainable which led me to explore volunteer management software. Everything in the nonprofit space should be as automated as possible as most nonprofits operate or thin margins, and little staff. Volunteer management software is an investment, but, there are grants available for technology and the ROI is worth the cost.
When you were vetting volunteer management software, what features were you looking for?
Matthew: I will upfront, I evaluated seven or eight different volunteer management companies, it wasn’t just VolunteerHub. VolunteerHub was the best, but we did do our due-diligence to come to that determination. We needed automated emails so that we could mass communicate with volunteers, at a very fast pace. My goal coming in, was to flood WHAM with volunteers. Second, I needed a solution to automate volunteer registration and eliminate copy and pasting. I wanted volunteer data stored in one central location, and for volunteers to be able to register from their phone, in order to take advantage of QR codes and auto-fill. Third, we needed an online event sign-up process. Finally, we needed a better process for getting background checks back, faster. The integration between VolunteerHub and Sterling has been huge for us.
What features of VolunteerHub have been the most valuable?
VolunteerHub has provided us with a fast automated system for managing volunteers. The ability to create landing pages that can be customized by organization has been huge for us, and our ability to engage corporate partners. Group Manager is huge, the less emails that partners have to send the better and Group Manager streamlines the process for our internal contacts. Third, reminders emails and OnSite Check-In are a game changer for us and our ability expedite processes for our volunteers and corporate groups.
What has your experience been like with VolunteerHub implementation, training, and support?
It is fantastic, I cant stress the importance of post-purchase support and VolunteerHub stands behind the software.
What has been the ROI of VolunteerHub?
By implementing VolunteerHub, I save 10-15 hours per week, we have substantially increased the number of active volunteers in our database, we have increased our number of corporate partners, and through new donors, impacted by the software ease-of-use, we have paid for 3-years of VolunteerHub within 9-months. The ROI is huge. I am the only person in the volunteer department and because of these systems I have been able to manage 1400 volunteers and still have time to focus on growing the program, holistically. It truly is amazing that with automation one person can manage that many people.
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Ready to transform your volunteer program?
West Houston Assistance Ministries is a great example of how the right volunteer software can make all the difference in accomplishing a mission. VolunteerHub provides the features your organization needs to transform and automate your volunteer program.