Frequently Asked Questions
We would like to understand what your goals are for growth. Is it to attract more volunteers? Increase participation by the volunteers you already have? Make the volunteers you already have much more effective? Free up time for your staff? We’ll work with you to help define and achieve your goals for growth. I can tell you that if your goal is to grow your volunteer base, you can assume an improvement of at least 20% in the first year. We’ve had many organizations that have doubled or even tripled their participation over 48 months. It’s all about the recipe!
We have many ways to track time and you can customize this from project to project. They include self-reported timesheets, assigning a default number of hours for working a particular job or completing a task, and checking in to shifts via the volunteer’s mobile phone or the organization’s kiosk. Awesome, right? The coolest thing is that this is all automated or volunteer-driven so it’s super easy on your staff to track time. There’s little to do but run a one-click report to measure the impact.
Of course they can! The modern volunteer demands transparency and control over their experience. This is true of volunteers of all ages. Having the ability to set and adjust their schedules is a must to attract and retain quality volunteers.
Yes. For some types of volunteering, it makes sense for a staff person to assign schedules to a volunteer based on their qualifications and schedule preferences. This is why VolunteerMatters always allows an administrator to make assignments and even provides the ability to restrict self-sign-up on certain projects in favor of admin-controlled scheduling.
VolunteerMatters was designed as a mobile-first web application. What the heck does that mean? It means that our software runs in a web browser and works equally as well from a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. Additionally, it means that the full suite of functionality is available to all volunteers and administrators regardless of the type of device they are on. Cool, right? We also do not require your volunteers or staff to download an app for any of it. When you are promoting volunteer opportunities via social media, sending out targeted invitations, or when sending notifications, reminders and requests your volunteers can have immediate access no matter what the device.
You betcha! VolunteerMatters integrates with Intellicorp and Sterling Volunteers, two of the best criminal background check services in the business. Our systems talk to theirs so the experience for the volunteer is completely seamless and the volunteer’s qualifications are completely centralized to make sure all volunteers comply with your policies. You can even set background check policies on a job-by-job basis as well as wet rules for how often those checks need to be repeated - and the system takes care of the rest!
Yes. Baby boomers, Gen X-ers, Millennials, and Gen Z volunteers have more in common than they don’t. They want to engage with causes for which they have a passion to make a difference. They want their time to be valued and appreciated. Our recipe and tools consider volunteers of every generation to keep things simple and focused on the most important aspect of volunteerism - the volunteers.
Yes! But we are also so much more. We believe in providing our partners with anything and everything possible to help develop an extraordinary volunteer program. We learned long ago (from awesome organizations like yours) that extraordinary volunteerism is defined by a culture and commitment to more than the software tools we use. This is why we have developed a recipe for extraordinary volunteerism that we share with you through our dedicated account managers, real-time live chat support, volunteerism training course, weekly coaching, webinars, white papers, and community connections. We are committed to sharing the best of the best in volunteerism. We learn from the best (you) so we can share with the rest!
Years ago, we described ourselves as providing online tools to help nonprofits manage volunteers. That’s how most of the volunteer management systems out there think of themselves too. But that didn’t adequately communicate what was in our hearts. It didn’t describe why we had such a burning passion for volunteerism. We set out to better explain our true value to our customers. We knew our goal wasn’t to “manage” volunteers - it was to inspire them. We help people to find organizations that serve the causes they feel passionate about. We make it super easy for volunteers to start making an impact. We empower volunteers by giving them control over their volunteer experience. We make things easier for staff by automating tedious tasks so that they can elevate their work to be more mission-oriented. We provide extra resources beyond just how to use our software. We provide learning and training resources to arm volunteer coordinators and C-Level executives with a proven approach to convert their volunteer programs into goldmines of opportunity. We provide real-time service and support. We make sure volunteers feel appreciated because we greatly respect the gift of their time. We create feedback loops so volunteers help our organizations to continuously improve. And we help our partners measure their results so they know where they are and where they aspire to be. So, we stopped saying “We have volunteer management software” and started saying “We build extraordinary volunteer programs!” And do you know what happened? We got so much better at it as a result.
We have gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure our service is easy to use on any device for individuals or groups, for different types of volunteerism, for different types of assignments, and for all age groups. For example, many customers converted to our service after using competing technology. They said, “Our volunteers are resistant to technology.” But they welcomed the change to VolunteerMatters. It turns out that they were just resistant to complicated and out-dated technology.
Yes! Volunteers can register, take online orientation and training courses, sign up to perform remote tasks, report when those tasks have been completed and how much time it took all without having to step foot in a facility. Pretty cool, huh?
Anything a volunteer can do on their own within VolunteerMatters an administrator can do on their behalf. So, if you have a volunteer who is truly resistant to any technology, no matter how easy it is to use, then an administrator can enter their application, set up their assignments, and manage their preferences. With that being said, don’t be surprised if a resistant volunteer takes a look at your new volunteer portal and says, “This is easy! I can do this!”.
We’re so good at group volunteering, it’s ridiculous! Our process is super flexible which allows us to account for all types of group volunteering. You can have a group leader sign up and designate a headcount and simply credit the group leader for all of the hours associated with their group. You can also have a group leader who signs up in advance, designates the headcount they are bringing and have each member of the group register on-site via a kiosk. You can also have an approach where every individual member of a group pre-registers in advance and checks in upon arrival via their personal device. Lastly, you can have a mix of all of the above. Group leaders can sign-up and indicate a headcount. Individual members of that group can pre-register in advance using a group-specific URL to get all registration forms and waivers out of the way. And for those who didn’t pre-register, they can register on-site via the kiosk. Sound like option overload? It really isn’t. We provide a simple workflow diagram to determine which option is best for you. After that, it’s just selecting the right model for your volunteer project.
Absolutely! If your organization welcomes walk-in volunteers then we can handle it! We have a separate registration form for walk-in type projects that allows volunteers to answer a few quick questions, maybe sign a waiver, and get to work. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Yes, you can! All emailing through VolunteerMatters regardless if there is 1 recipient or 1,000 is sent in a separate email specific to that individual. VolunteerMatters sends everything from our servers to ensure great deliverability and things don’t get marked as spam. We also provide a mix of automated emails (registration confirmation, assignment reminders, thank-yous, requests for feedback), and emails initiated by an administrator. All emails use customizable templates so that messages can be highly personalized and well branded.
VolunteerMatters enables you to describe each of your volunteer projects/programs and the way in which volunteers may contribute to its success. You can also upload an image to provide visual context to the volunteer opportunity. For each project, an administrator may click a social media icon (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and VolunteerMatters will create a post for you to submit to your organization’s social media sites. The post will include the project's name, description, custom image, and links on where prospective volunteers can go to learn more. Every project within VolunteerMatters gets its own dedicated landing page where volunteers can educate themselves on the purpose of the project as well as how they can help make a difference - providing complete transparency on how the volunteer can contribute. The system also prompts every volunteer who signs up for a project to make a similar one-click post to their personal social network. The average Twitter user has over 700 followers. Therefore, if you had 100 volunteers post to their Twitter feeds, there is the potential for 70,000 people to become aware of your volunteer initiative. How sweet is that?
VolunteerMatters provides two types of training. The first is product training (the ‘how-to’s of our software). The second is training on volunteerism (separate from our software) to understand trends in volunteerism and proven approaches to making sure your programs are extraordinary. You can buy the training separately from a subscription for $599 per student. However, with your subscription, your administrative users may take the course as often as they would like, for as long as you subscribe, at no additional cost.
Coaching is something we offer over a longer stretch of time. We have a 12-week coaching program that provides guidance on practices both within our software system and outside of it to implement the recipe for extraordinary volunteerism. It’s structured as a half-hour weekly session with some simple homework assignments from time to time. It’s designed to reinforce concepts and good volunteerism habits over a longer period of time so you can incorporate certain concepts as you become ready for them. Often we adopt something new, get trained up on it right as we launch, forget 90% of the information we learned, then “wing it” from that point forward. Coaching assures that the concepts stick and build on themselves over a 12-week period so those good habits sink in. We strongly encourage you to revisit the coaching at least once a year to uncover new nuggets of knowledge that will help to make you even more extraordinary over time - plus we’re always adding new stuff as we learn from awesome organizations like yours.
Here’s a secret… But you can’t tell anyone… We didn’t invent the recipe for extraordinary volunteerism. We actually learned what it meant to be really awesome at volunteerism from listening and watching our customers over the last two decades. We noticed those things that almost all extraordinary programs had in common and took copious notes. So there you have it, we stole it! It’s important to have a recipe because if you were baking a cake for the first time, you wouldn’t want to open your pantry and start throwing random things into the bowl until you figured out what tastes good, right? You start out by finding a member of your family who has a delicious recipe passed down for a couple of generations and start there. Essentially, having a great recipe (and the right tools) can eliminate years of marginally edible desserts. Here’s the best thing about recipes. Once you use them, no one cares if you got the recipe from someone else. They only care that your dessert was amazing.
We do! VolunteerMatters uses a service called Zapier. Zapier empowers you to connect VolunteerMatters with more than 2,000 apps you use to run your business. Zapier thinks about software integrations in terms of Triggers and Actions. Activity in one app triggers a resulting action in another app, without you needing to do much work (when compared to traditional direct integrations). Connecting two apps together is called a Zap. Zapier lives in the middle, monitoring your triggers, and initiating actions in whatever workflow you establish. For example, VolunteerMatters can send information to 3rd parties via Zapier when a new volunteer registers, sign-up for an assignment, withdraws, checks-in, or adds timesheet hours.
Your brand is valuable. People obviously trust your organization if they are looking to volunteer their time with you. Therefore, we want to make sure you can make your new volunteer portal your own. You can customize the logo, colors, fonts, and messaging for your portal so that when they are directed to VolunteerMatters to explore volunteer opportunities, sign up, or check-in they feel as though they never left your organization’s website. You may also customize the volunteer database, application form, my profile, and all volunteer projects to reflect the attributes, fields, and information that is important for your organization. For example, you may customize the volunteer records to track any kind of data, what order they appear in, what options are available if they are a ‘choose one or many from a list’ fields, which fields are optional or required, which fields appear for the volunteer or only for staff, and how fields are grouped. You can even create custom groupings of volunteers to quickly return lists of volunteers that are important to you when running reports or sending out notices or invitations.
The price of a VolunteerMatters subscription scales based on the size of your volunteer program. The smaller the program, the less you pay. We determine the “size” based on how many sites, administrators, and volunteers you have, as well as which features you need to be successful. You can view our full pricing here.
There is typically a setup fee associated with our service as we greatly customize the system to your specific needs. Our team invests a lot at the start of our relationship to make sure you have all of the help you need to get started. We invest time so you don’t have to. Additionally, there may be one-time costs associated with setting up integrations with 3rd party systems or more advanced features. With that being said, we really try to keep setup fees at a minimum.
We do not. Our system provides a highly customized experience for our customers. It is not a cookie-cutter system where every organization has the same experience. At the start of our partnership, we assign you a dedicated account manager that will work with you to set up and deploy your volunteer portal. We invest a lot in you, therefore we can’t give it away. However, we are very happy to provide recorded or live demos as many times as you would like until you feel 100% comfortable that VolunteerMatters is the absolute best decision for your organization.
Our minimum initial commitment is 12-months. We offer annual contracts and you can choose to pay monthly or by the year. Monthly payments require an automatic credit card or ACH withdrawals.
That’s okay! We put sample pricing tires on the system so you can get an idea of what your pricing might be based on your needs. We would be happy to provide you with a custom quote to provide something that fits your needs.
Almost every customer of ours is a non-profit organization. Therefore our pricing is already discounted heavily from the pricing of similar solutions targeting for-profit companies. With that being said, we do have some larger umbrella organizations through which we have subsidy or discount programs based on a commitment from those entities.
The time required to launch varies based on the size of the volunteer organization, whether data is being migrated from another system, if integration to a 3rd party system is involved, and whether or not your organization is revisiting policies as we implement. With that being said, we have gone live in as little as two weeks but the average deployment typically has a go-live date 30-60 days after the order. The timeline mostly depends on you. If you’re ready to go, we are too!
Absolutely! We have import tools to migrate volunteer contact data, volunteer credentials, and volunteer history. You would be responsible for populating those templates with the data out of the system from which you are migrating. Once the data has been provided to VolunteerMatters, we will assist in importing the data to assure the required fields and data formatting are correct. You can optionally hire us to extract the data from your old system. You would provide us access to the previous systems and we would take care of the rest.
Well, prepare for your mind to be blown! If you’ve been getting by with paper or Excel spreadsheets then we can get whatever data you do have into the system and start your transformation to the extraordinary almost immediately. Or perhaps you are brand new, then VolunteerMatters is the best solution to get your program started with because we have the best support structure for volunteerism in the industry.
Let’s be honest, most software support stinks. They are structured to make you ask questions to someone that has a baseline understanding of the product and if they get stumped, escalate it to someone who knows a little more than they do. And no one actually understands what you are trying to accomplish from a higher perspective. They are just there to answer basic how-to questions or point you to a generic support article that barely touches on your original request. We very much dislike when that happens to us, so we promise to never do that to you. Also, remember that we’re not a “We have volunteer management software” company. We’re a “We build extraordinary volunteer programs!” company. See the difference?
The reality is that our systems are very easy to use and our training and coaching resources will make you a “how-to” expert in no time. What’s most important to us is understanding what your goals and mission are as a volunteer organization. This is what we are here to help you achieve. This is why we provide the training, coaching, dedicated account manager, and real-time chat. It’s to make sure that when you need a “how-to” question answered, you can get it right away. Also, when you need “What the heck do I do?” questions answered, you can speak to someone that is an expert in volunteerism. We pull from years of experience with extraordinary volunteer programs to help you make the best decisions possible and benefit from the hard work other organizations have already done to realize what worked and what didn’t. And if you come upon something truly unique we can help others learn through you. It’s a cornucopia of sharing!