More than ever, nonprofits are under pressure to get the most out of all their resources — time, money, staff, and volunteers. So, the age-old question still stands: how do we work smarter, not harder? In this article, we’ll cover some tips that will help you do just that.
When it comes to productivity, of course, one of the keys is your staff’s easy access to information. To overcome hardware, software, storage, and accessibility issues, many organizations are turning to “the cloud.” In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, it simply refers to an online service in which a user’s information is stored on the provider’s server. This is an advantage to nonprofits because there is no software to install or maintain, no additional hardware necessary, and no files to back- up for that particular task or function. For example, one great (and free) resource for file sharing is Google Docs. Instead of storing files on the office server, the information is stored in “the cloud.” Staff members can set up folders, control the privacy level of documents, and more. It’s an easy way to share information and collaborate, since files can be accessed and edited by group members at work or home — from a computer or even a smart phone.
Another productivity essential is communication between team members. Again, Google can come to your rescue. You can get discussions going with Google Groups and enhance your workflow by assigning and tracking tasks with Google Calendar. If it’s real-time you need, some nonprofits are starting to use free/low-cost applications like Skype for instant messages (both within and outside the office), phone calls, and video conferences.
Organize Volunteers Efficiently
Up until this point, we’ve concentrated on ways for staff to collaborate and communicate. Now, let’s turn to a third part of the productivity puzzle, one that’s a very important part of most any nonprofit’s success: its volunteers. This group is often the driving force behind an agency. However, volunteer scheduling can often be a challenge, traditionally filled with a huge volume of both incoming and outgoing calls and emails, a variety of spreadsheets, and even sometimes a stack of handwritten lists.
Again, we can turn to the cloud to make the interface between your staff and volunteers a much more streamlined and efficient process. For example, VolunteerHub is a leader in online volunteer scheduling. This cloud-based volunteer management system drastically reduces a volunteer coordinator’s workload. With VolunteerHub, nonprofits can:
- Post volunteer opportunities online
- Update, consolidate, and store volunteer contact information in one place
- Set limits on the number of volunteers signing up for an event
- Send automated confirmation, reminder, and thank you messages
- Print sign-in sheets
- Generate rosters
- Track volunteer hours
- And more
Make Volunteer Coordination Easy as 1, 2, 3
To illustrate the gentle learning curve VolunteerHub provides, take a look at the three simple steps used to post an event:
1. Click the Add Event button.
2. Supply your event information.
3. Click The Save Event Button.
An event can be posted literally within a minute or two. Now volunteers can check your postings any time — day or night — and sign up at their leisure.
Are you ready to find out how VolunteerHub can streamline volunteer coordination, saving your organization valuable time and money? Click here to learn more about getting started with VolunteerHub.