Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quest for a new volunteer management system at KC area food bank

Note: This document is an early draft of a business case to upgrade a volunteer management system. It is not intended to be a fully organized statement of requirements, but more of a collection of features and a document for discussion.


Harvesters, the Kansas City area food bank, would like to improve the capability of the Volunteer App, the volunteer management system used to schedule, track and recruit volunteers and groups.  The Volunteer Services department would also like to improve the efficiency and accuracy of volunteer management by adapting their processes with new features and functions from an updated application.

The current, custom Microsoft Access-based system developed a few years ago provides a rich-featured, robust solution to track individuals and groups volunteering at Harvesters. The system tracks all volunteers working in the Volunteer Outreach Center, as well as those donating their time and skills for events and in departments throughout Harvesters.
  • The Volunteer Services department would like to review options for upgrading the function of the Volunteer App – specifically, consider function and features in the following areas.
  • Provide a web-based function that allows volunteers, organizations, and administrators to manage volunteers and volunteer opportunities.
  • Ability to add volunteer opportunity forms on the Harvesters public website – . The forms should directly interface with the Volunteer App.
  • Provide email and postal mail communication to volunteers based on opportunities, assignments/roles, etc.
  • Provide automatic email acknowledgement of scheduled, confirmed assignments.
  • Accommodate all classes of volunteers – individuals, groups, community service workers, among others.
  • Provide means for other departments to recruit or schedule volunteers for non-sorting jobs, such as tracking volunteers for Project STRENGTH delivery or Kids in the Kitchen events.
  • Include many of the functions in the existing Volunteer App

Volunteer App size and capacity

Provide the capacity and resources for the following application database size:
  • Organizations: 400 or more
  • Individuals: 20,000 or more (Active individuals – those volunteering within the past XX months)
  • Activity records: 100,000 volunteer activities
  • Activity codes: 50
  • Class of Organization codes: 20
  • Event codes: 4
  • City, State, Zip, County table: 4000
  • Salutations: Col., Mr., Mrs., Fr., Miss, Ms., Rabbi, Rep., Rev., Sen.

Features and Functions

Additionally, there are a wide range of features found on leading volunteer management systems such as Volgistics, Volunteer Hub, Volunteers for Salesforce/Groundwire, Common Ground, and others. The following items are a few of these features or functions, not listed in any order:

Individuals / Organizations / Profiles:

  • Allow input of volunteer records by manual entry (internal), volunteers (external), or by data import (bulk method)
  • Allow selection of Salutation, but not required
  • Provide general volunteer signup form – without login
  • Define organization types – such as business, church, school. An organization profile should identify job or work preferences, for example, kids should only perform certain types of work, other groups may only be able to perform sit-down activities.
  • Define person-to-organization relationships
  • Must provide means to “do not contact,” “do not email” and/or “do not phone”
  • Provide means for a volunteer to select a primary group, such as an employer, and attribute a volunteer activity to a secondary group, such as a school or church.
  • Allow volunteer to define availability: Weekdays/Weekends, Morning/Afternoon/Evening
  • Define skills

Opportunities / Events / Campaigns / Jobs / Skills / Shifts:

  • Must provide sophisticated scheduling function, namely: (1) must allow capacity limits to jobs or shifts. (2) must allow minimum number of volunteers for certain or activities
  • Campaign - Select type of campaign and overall strategy (childhood hunger, seniors, family), select appeals within a campaign
  • Allow designation of volunteer for a cause, campaign, or on behalf of someone
  • Build custom signup forms based on campaign, appeal for volunteer opportunity
  • Allow opportunities to be offered on any recurring frequency, or on an ad hoc basis
  • Allow multiple locations, multiple rooms for an event
  • Allow on-site and off-site opportunities.
  • Allow job-shift relationship
  • Mass update of volunteer records for an event (Attendance)
  • Jobs without shifts
  • Print checkin sheet; print name badges
  • Campaigns track all events / opportunities
  • Clone jobs from previous campaigns, opportunities
  • Allow individual to sign up for volunteer opportunity as an individual, as opposed to through an organization
  • Allow contact name/person for an organization
  • Allow select of relationship between contacts/individuals (spouse, sibling, etc) – common to most CRM systems
  • Allow volunteer coordinators/administrators to record hours worked
  • Allow volunteer coordinator/administrator to select “wait list” for a job or opportunity to include additional signup seats

Workflow / validation:

  • Define status of a volunteer request or offer.
  • Provide tracking volunteer by workflow – confirmed, web signup, phone signup, email signup, no show/no call, etc.
  • Define automated messages based on Volunteer signup

Email / Letters / Acknowledgement / Communication:

  • Provide means to track all communication activity for an individual or organization, including emails, calls, etc.
  • Provide advanced email management function. For example, Salesforce/Common Ground (fundraising) is integrated with Constant Contact for campaign activity
  • Build custom acknowledgement or thank you notifications
  • Provide capability to tailor email messages and target audiences based on skills, opportunities at various Harvesters locations.
  • Provide capability to send messages to only “active” or regular volunteers; provide capability to prevent messages from being sent to “inactive” volunteers, though not required.
  • Track all communication for each individual or organization by activity
  • Generate mail-merge letters and labels for postal delivery of messages
  • Automatic acknowledgement of scheduled assignment


  • Reports – run reports, select filter (timeframe), email report; customize reports – without programming; save custom reports for each user.
  • Provide capability to query volunteers based on certain fields. Example: pull all people in a specific zip code to recruit for Operation Breadbasket.

Administration / Permissions:

  • Allow admins to create assignments (roles), create campaigns with multiple openings and shifts, schedule openings (shifts), create/modify volunteer records, create/modify organization records, assign volunteers to assignments, and schedule volunteers, among others.
  • Provide ability to define the capabilities (functions available on the app) and permissions (ability to perform a function) to match certain roles.

Miscellaneous features or functions

  • Batch export information in CSV, other format for reporting purposes
  • Batch import information into another database, i.e., Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge (Volunteer Hub)
  • Peer-to-peer recruiting: Organize volunteers for a new team or an existing team; establish volunteer team page and dashboard
  • Peer-to-peer recruiting: Consider option to allow agencies or individuals to schedule, track and recruit volunteers to work at volunteer opportunities not sponsored by Harvesters.
  • Allow volunteers to self-update, review profile, activity, assignments, history, timesheet
  • Post opportunities to website
  • Embed opportunities in full-page or embedded mode (frames method)
  • Ability to verify match against existing contact (Volunteers for Salesforce)
  • Ability to enable or disable Activity Tracking to log email to volunteers (Volunteers for Salesforce)
  • Consider ability to allow volunteers to sign in to confirm their attendance at the volunteer event or activity.
  • Consider option that incentivizes “levels” of volunteering.


Chirag said...

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Healthy Grocery said...

Can link to my blog for nutritional facts of healthy, low fat food at different grocery stores.

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