Avoid Scheduling Headaches With Volunteer Shifts

As much as we’d love it if a volunteer waltzed into our office and said, “My schedule is wide open. Tell me when you need me, and I’ll be there,” life rarely works out that way. With long work hours, longer commutes, appointments, meetings, side gigs, childcare responsibilities and so on, volunteers often have hectic schedules. And fitting volunteering into an already jam-packed schedule can be hard work.

As the largest volunteer engagement network on the web, we wanted to help. So we asked you what you needed, and 60% of VolunteerMatch organizations said they wanted the ability to create volunteer opportunities with shifts. So we put our heads together and drafted up plans for Shifts — the newest tool in our volunteer recruitment stack specifically designed for leaders of volunteers. Available to VolunteerMatch Members, Shifts will help you recruit, manage and deploy volunteers when and where you need them.

Learn how you can spend less time coordinating volunteers and more time making an impact with Shifts.

1. Save Time

When you create Shifts, prospective volunteers can share the times they’re available to help as soon as they express interest in your volunteer opportunity. By collecting information upfront, you’ll no longer waste time emailing volunteers back and forth or playing phone tag, so you can spend more time getting to know new volunteers and creating an excellent volunteer experience. After all, better experiences = higher volunteer retention rates.

2. Avoid Scheduling Conflicts

As an experienced volunteer engagement professional, you already know that not every interested prospect becomes a long-term committed volunteer. But there are ways to increase that likelihood. For example, some of the best volunteer opportunities all have this in common — they provide detailed information about what volunteers will be doing and where and when they’ll be doing it. The more volunteers know beforehand, the less likely they’ll be to express interest in an opportunity without the intent to follow through.

With Shifts, you can easily provide more specific information about the time commitment you need from volunteers. When you share with volunteers exactly when you need help, you’ll receive better prospects with availability that suits your organization’s needs. And when volunteers have the option to tell you exactly when they’re available, you can easily assign shifts based on their preferences. No scheduling conflicts here!

3. Ensure Adequate Shift Coverage

Online volunteer recruitment recently surpassed word-of-mouth recruitment, according to a recent survey we conducted with Verified Volunteers. When you choose to recruit volunteers on VolunteerMatch, you’re tapping into the largest online network of prospective volunteers.

And now with Shifts, you can easily recruit volunteers to fill specific shifts based on your staffing needs. Plus, when you collect availability upfront, you can quickly find a replacement in the event life happens and someone can’t make it to their assigned shift.

4. Send Targeted Communications

The best way to run a successful volunteer program or event? Communicate early and often. Plus, when you stay in touch with volunteers and equip them with the information they need, you’ll reduce the risk of volunteer no-shows.

With so many volunteers filling different roles and working at different times, you need to be able to segment your volunteer list and send targeted information to ensure everyone knows what they need to do, where they need to be and when they need to be there. You’ll want to communicate last-minute updates if and when those come up, too.

Shifts can help. Simply export your list of prospective volunteers, sort by shift and send group emails accordingly. Your volunteers will appreciate having all the information they need to succeed without extraneous details that don’t apply to their shift.

5. Make Your Volunteer Event a Success

With an efficient onboarding process, streamlined shift scheduling and clear, targeted communications, your next volunteer event is sure to be a success! Thanks to Shifts, you’ll spend less time coordinating volunteer logistics, freeing up more time for building relationships, strategic planning or even a well-deserved break.

Learn how you can set up volunteer opportunities with Shifts. And for more tips on optimizing your volunteer recruitment and onboarding processes, check out our Custom Questions Manager and Greeting Manager.