Get Started with Volunteer Management
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Identify some ways you can use V4S to improve volunteer management.
- Enter volunteer skills, availability, and status for volunteers in Salesforce.
A key element in recruiting and retaining good volunteers is helping them feel connected to your organization and showing appreciation for the work they do on your behalf. Imagine volunteering for an event and not receiving information on how to get to the volunteer site. And then after managing to find your way there and donating an afternoon of your precious time, you never receive a thank you for your efforts. You probably wouldn’t be highly motivated to volunteer for that organization again.
Even for a small organization, staying on top of volunteer management can be close to a full-time job. And when your organization is like EarthCorps and runs multiple events with thousands of volunteers, managing thank you’s, providing timely information to your volunteers, and finding volunteers with specific skills can be a daunting task.
Fortunately, Volunteers for Salesforce takes the headache out of volunteer management. With V4S, you can automate custom emails to volunteers when they sign up for a shift or complete one. V4S also provides handy reports and dashboards that show you what your volunteers are doing and highlight where you need extra help. You can also search for—and find—volunteers with specific skills.
EarthCorps makes good use of all these V4S volunteer management features. EarthCorps has over 10,000 participants a year who volunteer in the local Seattle parks, pulling invasive weeds or spreading mulch over newly planted areas. EarthCorps wants their volunteers to have a great experience and come back to help again and again. Can you imagine if they had to email directions or send thank you’s to each of their 10,000 volunteers individually? That would be more than a full-time staff person’s time, not to mention tedious and error-prone.
Let’s follow along to see how EarthCorps searches for volunteers with specific skills, automates their custom emails, and uses reports and dashboards to see how their volunteer events are going.
Your annual fundraising event is coming up, and you need a volunteer who can make the best pancakes west of the Mississippi. Which of your many volunteers loves to cook? And which of them is available the morning of the event?
V4S provides custom fields on the contact object to track a volunteer’s skills, availability, and status. These fields are conveniently grouped in a Volunteer Information section on the contact record.
You can also customize the values in each field to match the needs of your organization. For example, if your annual fundraiser is a pancake breakfast, you probably want to add “Cooking” or “Pancake Expertise” to your list of volunteer skills. You can edit picklist values in Setup by selecting Fields and Relationships on the Contact page in the Object Manager. For detailed instructions, see the V4S Installation & Configuration Guide (available on the Volunteers for Salesforce Documentation page listed in the Resources section).
Mmmmm . . . yum!
EarthCorps has done a fantastic job of integrating their V4S pages with their website. Although most of the data entry around volunteers is automated, occasionally they have to manually update a volunteer contact record.
One of EarthCorps’ long-time volunteers, Peter Delauranti, called to tell Dianna that he recently completed a course in landscape architecture and would love to put his new skills to good use. He also let Dianna know that he’s now available to help out any weekday morning. Let’s follow along with Dianna as she adds this information to Peter’s contact record.
- Click the Contacts tab and then click the contact’s name. Dianna clicks Peter Delauranti.
- On the contact record, double-click the Volunteer Skills field to edit it.
- In the Volunteer Skills window, select the contact’s skills and click Save. Dianna selects Landscaping.
- To update a contact’s availability, double-click the Volunteer Availability field and edit it to select the appropriate values. Dianna selects Weekdays and Mornings.
- Click Save.
Great! Now that you know how to enter volunteer skills and availability, let’s go on to see how you would go about finding these volunteers.