Nonprofit organizations owe much of their success to the commitment of volunteers. When well-intentioned individuals come together to support a common cause and aspire toward a shared goal, they implement change in amazing ways. The collective effort of people around the world has made it a better place to live.
Naturally, nonprofits would want to refine their methods of volunteer management. Digital technologies have enabled nonprofit professionals to streamline recruitment, simplify tracking and innovate all areas of their organization. On the strength of these innovations, volunteering has continuously improved.
So what do those improvements look like? What are some of the top technologies contributing to the transformation of the industry? This article seeks to answer these questions and others like them, examining three technologies which have made the volunteering process easier for nonprofits and those who serve them.
1. Chatbots for Digital Initiatives
A chatbot acts as a digital representative, available to answer questions and provide information on behalf of an organization. They’ve seen widespread adoption across a diverse range of industries, such as the retail, real estate, hospitality and financial sectors. Now, these chatbots support nonprofits.
Among other technologies, chatbots are one of the most effective tools available to nonprofit professionals today. The charitable organization Age UK saw an incredible boost for their digital projects when they integrated a chatbot, recording a marked difference in the overall interaction with their online initiatives.
Concerning that improvement, Age UK saw a 50% increase in volunteer sign-up conversion, a 24% increase in repeat website users and a 16% increase in unique users. Clearly, similar organizations should consider the advantages of chatbots for their next digital initiative, given these impressive results.
2. Volunteer Management Software
Nonprofits have started to adapt their methods of volunteer management with digital technology. In this regard, volunteer management software is one of the foremost solutions. It allows nonprofit and volunteer organizations to supervise volunteers and oversee their schedules with far less difficulty.
As an example, Volgistics’ volunteer management software has flexible scheduling options with automated and manual volunteer reminders. It enables the volunteer leaders in an organization to improve efficiency, with assistance from additional features such as an intuitive volunteer tracking system.
The volunteer tracking system facilitates management by providing relevant information — like names and phone numbers — in an easily accessible format. Volunteer leaders can also track volunteer hours in total or by assignment, as well as monitor other service measures such as mileage.
3. Smartphones and Associated Apps
The potential of smartphone technology to increase volunteer engagement is impossible to overstate. Their value to nonprofit organizations is just as significant, given the average amount of screen time they receive. As context, smartphones have outpaced televisions and computers as the most-used device.
Companies have capitalized on the success of the smartphone with a variety of apps, and some of the most popular, like Facebook Messenger, have benefits for the volunteering industry. Other organizations have developed apps with the express purpose of helping nonprofit and volunteer organizations.
“LetsAllDoGood” is an app which makes it easier to reach supporters directly through their smartphones. Nonprofits can push their news, events and volunteering opportunities with greater visibility. Groups which have used the LetsAllDoGood smartphone app have reported higher attendance and more volunteers.
The Best Course of Action
Nonprofit professionals should review the technologies above and see how they might implement them into their future projects. Whether they choose to integrate a chatbot for their website, use volunteer management software or take advantage of smartphone apps, they can feel secure as they continue.
Most of all, these professionals should acknowledge the “digital transformation” affecting their industry, and industries like it. While the “digital transformation” may seem like a buzzword, it’s an accurate description for the growing relevance of digital technologies for the obtainment and retainment of volunteers.
Moving forward, they should set aside time to evaluate all of their available options and determine the best course of action for their organization. If they focus their efforts on managing their volunteers — and employ the latest systems and software — they’ll likely enjoy the same degree of success as Age UK.
With that in mind, nonprofit professionals would benefit from a reevaluation of their current practices. Every organization has areas of improvement they need to address, and the technologies above will help address them.