The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) is a national charity supporting Holocaust refugees and survivors in Great Britain. Their dedicated volunteers offer services such as befriending and computer assistance.
AJR joined the Volunteero community as they wanted to adopt a system that was intuitive and adaptable to their unique way of working.
Implementing a volunteer management system is a significant change. It requires a well-thought-out plan and a willingness to address any doubts or reservations with confidence and enthusiasm.
Niki, Volunteer Coordinator, steered AJR through their Volunteero implementation successfully addressing concerns about change, technology, and new processes.
As a result of her unwavering commitment, Volunteero has garnered widespread support within AJR, delivering benefits to both staff and volunteers.
Here are Niki’s tips for successfully implementing a volunteer management system:
1. Single Point of Contact:
Appoint a lead person responsible for the system's rollout and implementation, ensuring clear support paths. Not only can this person ask our Volunteero team tons of questions, but it also means that a person can spend lots of time testing, testing and more testing before wider training with the team.
2. Understand Your Why:
Clearly define why your organisation is adopting Volunteero then list them clearly and concisely. This will help you to communicate, train and support your stakeholders during the implementation process.
3. Communicate to Your Stakeholders:
It’s important to get this stage right, and early on. Consistently and clearly communicate your purpose and benefits, using various channels to involve everyone in the conversation. This will allow you to tackle any apprehensions and calm any nerves early on.
Niki advises that utilising various methods of communication from emails, newsletters, printouts, and drop-in sessions meant that every single person at the organisation was invited into the conversation at every opportunity.
4. Build Trust:
Ensuring that every person at your organisation should be in the loop across your staff, trustee and volunteer teams about Volunteero, will help you to build trust and a sense of excitement about this new software.
Establish Volunteero as a trusted brand among volunteers, creating familiarity with the system's language and features.
Document and communicate the system's benefits, such as reporting capabilities, streamlined communication, and improved volunteer experiences.
“Ensuring that your volunteers are ‘seen’ by using a volunteer management system was really important to us. If they’ve got a worry or a concern, they flag it in the reports, that report gets picked up by a volunteer coordinator, who will contact the volunteer via the chat feature.”
6. Train Staff:
Niki spent a huge part of her time during the early days of Volunteero really testing and understanding each feature and asking our support team lots of questions!
This meant that she became so familiar with Volunteero’s functionality that she was not only able to see how to apply each feature to their way of working, but she was also able to transfer that knowledge to the AJR staff team.
Their staff were then able to understand the system thoroughly and collaborative feedback was encouraged.
7. Engage Volunteers:
Identify volunteers willing to embrace the change and become champions of the system. Don’t try and get all volunteers on board at the same time!
This took the pressure off their team to ease into the system and again put the volunteer at the very centre of this experience which meant they felt heard, valued and supported during implementation. These volunteers would then become their Volunteero ambassadors.
8. Wider volunteer training
AJR knew that volunteer training was essential to them if Volunteero was going to be successful. A large proportion of their volunteers weren’t keen on technology and a lot of them didn’t know how to download an app. By planning multiple sessions all targeted at various demographics and needs, AJR were able to offer high and low-touch resources for volunteers.
Interestingly AJR found that once their volunteers were logged into Volunteero, they didn’t really need any support to navigate the app and lots of their planned sessions were not required.
9. Build Confidence:
Focus on building staff and volunteer confidence in the system's adoption.
Volunteers felt they had dedicated spaces and the patience of the staff team to learn the system, and were praised for their efforts. Yhey were therefore ultimately more willing to engage with the app.
10. Staff and Volunteer Champions:
Identify volunteers who can spread positive messaging and help with system adoption.
“ Our volunteers are our eyes and ears and we want a mutually beneficial relationship with our volunteers because they are so precious to us and the organisation, and Volunteero allows us to spend more time on valuable communication”
11. Collaborate and Gather Feedback:
Fostering collaboration with volunteers to gather thoughts, feedback and ideas means that their work only gets better and better. Being able to mention Volunteero team members by name to their staff and volunteers during the implementation process made their implementation process more accessible and human.
12. Lean into Volunteero support
Having AJR and Volunteero work in partnership to implement, embed and then identify feature development opportunities means that their volunteers are always seen and valued in their roles and the human element of volunteer management can continue to thrive whilst also reaping the benefits of Volunteero.
“Rolling out Volunteero is an ongoing process. With every new volunteer or staff member that joins our organisation, we have to ensure that we are continuing to be enthusiastic about the app and why we use it”
If you would like to step up your volunteer management game and recruit more volunteers, book a demo 😊