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Be Inspired | Charities | Managing Volunteer Teams Through Good Technology

Managing Volunteer Teams Through Good Technology

Coordination and communication are key to running a successful charity campaign. Organisations often want to bring together large, transient teams of volunteers to raise money. Making sure everyone works from the same playbook to the same ends can be difficult and time consuming.  

Getting the management of volunteer teams right, of course, ensures more money is raised while overheads are reduced, and efficiency and engagement improved.  

The good news is that today’s digital options are helping many charities achieve their campaign goals in more flexible and beneficial ways. 

The Challenge of Organising Remote Volunteers 

There’s no doubt that volunteers are the life blood of all charities. They give their time and effort to raise money and promote important causes across the UK and around the world on a daily basis. Many small charities have very few full-time or paid staff on board, so volunteers are vital factors for any campaign and ongoing fund raising.  

Charities, particularly smaller ones, operate on a tight budget and building effective relationships with volunteers is necessary. Even the simple act of thanking someone for all their work can prove challenging if you don’t have the proper resources at hand.  

Better engagement requires charities to find new and innovative ways to reach out to volunteers as well as organise remote teams when campaigns are running to achieve maximum results. Focused and flexible solutions such as cloud technology are attractive options, certainly for charities that are seeking to improve performance and lower costs at the same time.  

The Benefits of Cloud Technology  

  • Cloud technology meets the challenges of working with large remote teams, especially volunteers. 
  • It allows charities to access better communication management, collaboration tools and benefit from online date, whether staff are working at the head office or in a remote team. 
  • Cloud services can quickly be scaled up and down to meet needs of any campaign. 

In its simplest sense, cloud technology is a way of storing and accessing files and programs on a range of different devices and locations independent of where you are and what time it is. Someone can sign onto a cloud service and access all they need on their tablet, laptop or smartphone, wherever they are in the world. All they need is an internet connection.  

What is more important for charities is how scalable cloud technology is. This delivers high degrees of flexibility for organisations who can expand or contract their services depending on their current needs. For example, if a charity is running a campaign, it can roll out services to volunteers and improve communication and coordination. Once the campaign is finished they can then scale back that provision.  

Cloud technology brings a high-value solution that can be tailored to each charity’s specific needs. It greatly reduces the cost of administration and can certainly help charities spend more of their time raising money rather than administrating. Neither is there the need to worry about licences and permissions which can all be handled by the cloud provider.  

Most charitable organisations are worried about security because they hold sensitive data on everyone from donors to volunteers. This is another area that cloud services generally cover more effectively than inhouse IT providers nowadays – security is updated automatically to help keep users safe online, wherever they are in the world.  

The Apps Helping Charities 

Better connectivity and the fact that so many of us have smartphones and tablets nowadays has also begun to change the way organisations such as charities view the use of apps. Developing an app is becoming increasingly common but there are also many off-the-shelf solutions available now that are aimed at volunteers and improving communication and engagement in the third sector.  

Charities often have large numbers of volunteers working across different departments and areas, sometimes all around the world. Checking what they are up to, producing reports and maximising performance has often depended on an old-fashioned form-filling exercise. An app like Track It Forward allows volunteers to log their activity and for charities to quickly access information that, in the past, would have taken weeks or even months to collate. Another similar app is Sign Up which helps get volunteers onboard and track their progress.  

Attracting volunteers has always been challenging for smaller organisations that don’t have the visibility or advertising power of some of their third sector peers. An app like VolunteerMatch is designed to put people in touch with their perfect charity – they sign on and browse for organisations in a particular area and which meet their criteria. Charities can post their details for free and reach new volunteers within a matter of minutes.  

The Challenge of Embracing Tech for Charities 

A survey carried out by Blackbaud in 2016 found that just over 7% of all charitable giving is carried out online. It’s a potential that smaller organisations have been slow to grasp but which presents a huge opportunity for not only encouraging donations but engaging with volunteers more effectively. Larger organisations like Oxfam have been moving forward in this area for a few years now, for instance, introducing opportunities for people to donate using contactless payment systems at points around the UK.  

While for smaller charities, who make up the vast majority in the third sector, it can be difficult to develop a dedicated app, there are plenty of low cost solutions out there than can improve efficiency and engagement, particularly when it comes to organising volunteers.  

Today’s cutting-edge cloud services not only provide a range of on demand IT support services that many can benefit from, they are highly scalable. That means charities can keep a tight control on where their IT is used and how budgets are spent. It also means that smaller organisations now have the capacity to explore new and exciting ways of bringing volunteers together and coordinating them during important campaigns.  

 

Cyan Solutions are the perfect fit for charities that want to be empowered using technology. Highly scalable cloud solutions mean that you can tailor your IT support to meet your immediate needs, including organising and communicating with networks of volunteers during campaigns. If you want to find out how the cloud can revolutionise your organisation, contact our friendly team today.    

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