What's the difference between a CRM and Volunteer Management Platform?

“But we have a CRM for our volunteers” 

We have heard it too often to count. We felt we should outline how these are two vastly different bits of kit.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and volunteer management platforms are both software solutions designed to help organisations manage their relationships and interactions with different groups of people, but they serve very different purposes.

A CRM is a tool that helps businesses and organisations manage their interactions with customers and clients. In charities, a CRM is typically used to track donors, clients, customer interactions, and other key data related to customer/donor engagement. 

On the other hand, a volunteer management platform is a tool that helps organisations manage their interactions with volunteers. This can include recruiting and onboarding volunteers, tracking volunteer hours and activities and communicating with volunteers. It's important to note that some CRM software have volunteer management capabilities, similarly, some volunteer management platforms also have CRM capabilities (like ours). However, they may not be as robust as point solutions that are built specifically for volunteer managers.

In short, yes your CRM can store your volunteer data if you finesse it into doing so but it sadly won’t give you the myriad of other benefits that a Volunteer Management Platform will.

So what are those benefits…

The key difference with a volunteer management platform is the existence of a volunteer interface. What we mean by “interface” is simply an app or portal to manage their own volunteering and engagement with your organisation. 

By giving your volunteers an app by which they can engage with your organisation, you can achieve vast time savings and provide your volunteers with a far superior experience.

Volunteers can:

  • Claim the things they want to be involved in like activities, events, and shifts. This means no more endless back and forth with volunteers on email.
  • Log their feedback, time, flag issues and more. This means you don't have to log it for them and you have the data at your fingertips…. Goodbye spreadsheets! 
  • Manage their own data so the record you have is always correct and up to date.
  • Communicate with your organisation in a more engaging and efficient manner. Nope, your WhatsApp group may not be compliant with your local data laws… just saying.

A good volunteer management system could save you countless hours of manual work or compiling data. It can also drastically increase your volunteer engagement and retention. 

Finally, many volunteer management platforms “play nice” with CRMs. They integrate with them and can ensure no duplication of effort and that all data is current.

So when you say “But we have a CRM for our volunteers” you should ask yourself. Could my life be easier or could my volunteers experience be better?

Want to volunteer but don't know where to get started? Download our app for volunteering today and find a range of volunteering opportunities near you!

Book a demo with us to see how we are revolutionising volunteer management.

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