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Volunteer Management Software – A Beginner’s Guide

Volunteer Management Software – A Beginner’s Guide

After more than 30 years of working directly in a variety of volunteer leadership roles, Andy Fryar now works with volunteer involving organisations to assist them in establishing cloud-based software solutions. Along the way, Fryar has come to recognise that many volunteer leaders can see the writing on the wall when it comes to moving away from their trusted excel spreadsheets, but they simply don’t know where to start!

In this e-Volunteerism feature, Fryar, who is also this journal’s manuscript developer,  provides a comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to help volunteer leaders understand, embrace, and use the new technology and volunteer management software that can benefit them and their programs. Writers Fryer, “It  seems that very few volunteer leaders know where to start to find an appropriate solution to meet their volunteer management needs! And so to this end, I thought it might be useful to put together some simple guidelines for those embarking on this journey.”

To read the full article

Wed, 07/18/2018
Andy; What a great article - I have to tell you that I think you are 'spot on' in your assessment that Volunteer Managers are sometimes the biggest barriers to change / adopting new software. I firmly believe it is this resistance to change that sometimes gives leaders in organizations doubt about the validity of volunteer management expertise.

Thu, 07/19/2018

I am sure that anyone involved in a transition to an online VMS can relate to this article!

I wish it had been available when I lead a committee of staff and volunteer leaders in the selection process for a centralized VMS. At the first meeting we created an 8-point rubric to evaluate different software options. Not being a tech savvy person, understanding follow-up support, and the ability to keep some volunteer information private were two key points that were very important to me.

With 53 schools, I knew that introducing a new process was going to be a significant challenge. I am now three years into leading the transition to Better Impact. Even with the very obvious benefits and system improvements of the new system, I am still amazed at the resistance and barriers created by site-based coordinators. (“But that’s not how we do it!"))

I would compare the introduction of a centralized VMS to an ocean liner making a sudden left turn. Fortunately, with patience, support and consistent messaging, the ship is turning!

Mon, 08/06/2018
Andy: Thanks for this thoughtful article. I found myself nodding away as I read each paragraph. We're a couple years into transitioning from the ol' color coded, idiosyncratic Excel spread sheets to a centralized web-based solution. We have learned a great deal! One important thing that we learned the hard way is that the QUALITY of support offered by a vendor is difficult to assess when you are, for all intents and purposes, a tech-novice. It has taken us months of frustrating trial and error to figure out how to change from our old practices to using the new system. There was (and still isn't!) a translator between what we want to do with the new system and how to make that happen. Our vendor has lots of terrific folks like yourself on staff providing support -- experienced volunteer leaders with a penchant for technology -- but no EDUCATORS or INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNERS who can bridge the gap for the willing but non-tech types like me and my team. Thanks! Maggie