So far in my rich and rewarding career as a volunteer I've planned, coordinated the volunteer schedule and directed a 2-day garage sale, worked a weekly shift as a parent teacher, cajoled and arm-twisted people to take exciting positions on our board (Oh, the treasurer position really doesn't take any time at all!), co-chaired a fundraising popcorn team, and tried to automate the volunteer schedule, shopped for supplies, worked a monthly popping shift -- oh, it's a long list. I'm leaving a lot out. It doesn't exhaust me, rather it surprises me. I think it takes a lot of people by surprise how much they do. Mostly, I'd say I really enjoy volunteering -- I meet lots of people and I know I'm making an impact.
But the dark, dark side of volunteering is the one that frustrates anyone who's ever tried to corral a bunch of willing parents but find the communication and volunteer scheduling is really impossibly time consuming. If you're one of those people sitting at home holding a sign up clipboard in your hand from the basketball parent volunteers, the church carnival, the halloween party, the park cleanup, the workplace home building project - you know you're starting straight at something that's about to suck up 6 hours of your time.
But you have a spare six hours, right?
Right. Which is why volunteer scheduling ranks as the number one headache to volunteer coordination But there is a glimmer of hope. One of VolunteerSpot's recent test groups gave it a shot to improve on the 6 hour problem. They took a complicated, 2 month schedule with multiple location and 40 volunteers. It took 20 minutes to set up the schedule (I said it was kind of complicated, right?) and then sent out emails to 40 people, asking each to pick up 2 shifts. In 2 days, the volunteers had claimed all their own shifts, the activity was 100 percent staffed, and the team's fearless leader had 6 hours of his life back. And over the course of the next 2 months, the reminders of where and when to be and what to bring sent themselves, making the project completely self propelled.
So take a deep breath. Converting the names on that clipboard into a working, staffed up volunteer schedule is way easily than it used to be -- just visit VolunteerSpot to start getting your time back and power your volunteering to the next level -- more easily than you could have ever imagined.