How HR Software Helps Non-Profits' Volunteer Management

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Volunteer management poses unique challenges for many non-profit organisations. Depending on the type of non-profit, volunteer management needs can be distinctly challenging with many variables to be aware of. In general terms, the Human Resources team is involved in:

  • Recruiting: Source and hire new volunteers with the right skills and experience for roles
  • Training: Carry out training, onboarding, and orientation for new volunteers
  • Performance management: Supervise and provide feedback to volunteers 
  • Recognition & motivation: Encourage volunteers by creating a positive and engaging volunteer experience with frequent communication
  • Manage volunteer database: Keep on top of your database in multiple locations or countries, including seasonal volunteers and more
  • Retention: Track and manage volunteer turnover, which may be particularly high in some roles
  • Internal communications: Keep volunteers up-to-date on the organisation’s activities and engage them in the mission
  • Compliance: Ensure compliance with all legal requirements including health and safety, data protection, and more
  • Impact assessment: Evaluate the impact of volunteer programmes to inform future planning

Not to mention that on top of managing these volunteers, your HR department is responsible for managing all the full-time and part-time paid staff, too! All of these staffing needs must be handled effectively in order to keep your non-profit doing its important work. However, as is often the case in non-profit organisations, you likely don’t have big budgets or a lot of time to dedicate to this task, and regrettably paid full-time staff often take priority over volunteers.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of your organisation; without them you’d struggle to do the crucial work you do. Therefore, it’s essential that you find cost-effective tools that can streamline volunteer management and ensure that the relationship between organisation and volunteers remains productive and positive. So, let’s take a look at how HR software can support volunteer management in any non-profit. 

Save hundreds of hours on expenses

As an Human Resources professional in the not-for-profit sector, the thought of handling all your volunteers’ expenses probably gives you a headache. Processing stacks of receipts for lunch, train fares, fuel, and any other expenses your volunteers can claim can be time-intensive and frustrating — particularly when volunteers are poorly organised and submit the wrong documentation or miss expenses deadlines. 

Yet, any errors or delays in reimbursement can be detrimental to volunteers’ morale and commitment. A volunteer who is left out of pocket for travel expenses for too long or who receives incorrect compensation is less likely to sign up for more shifts or put as much work in, and results can suffer. Consequently, it’s essential that the expenses process is as smooth and painless as possible so volunteers stay happy and engaged in their roles. 

With a powerful HRMS, expense processing couldn’t be easier. Mobile-enabled HR software allows the expenses process to go entirely paperless — volunteers simply need to use the HR software app to photograph their receipts and upload them, ready for processing. This means that expenses can be logged instantaneously with no more worries about lost receipts or overflowing piles of paper.

Moreover, with clear digital records, automated expense calculations, custom approvals, and rapid reimbursement, software can boost accuracy and reduce the risk of human error throughout the expenses process. A high quality HR system like XCD can even handle complex expense needs in multiple currencies — a must for non-profits working across borders. This helps everything run smoothly and keeps volunteers feeling valued and supported in their roles.

HR software even helps with expense reporting with powerful real-time analytics and configurable dashboards and reports. For greater visibility over where expenses are going, HR software with powerful expenses capabilities is essential — XCD’s tool even lets you create custom executive-level dashboards to give the C-suite the insights they need without any of the noise. Again, this saves you valuable time and helps demonstrate HR’s strategic value in informing decisions with data.  

You may also be interested in: How expense management software reduces HR headaches

Streamline HR processes with self-service

If your organisation has a high number of volunteers or frequent turnover of voluntary staff, small administrative tasks can pile up rapidly to create a mountain of work. Not only are these administrative tasks boring and time-consuming, but they also prevent your team focusing on more strategic work. 

For the overworked and time-poor non-profit HR professional, self-service HR software can be a game changer. With an easy-to-use self-service portal that employees and volunteers can access from their own devices, HR teams can free themselves from admin-heavy duties such as editing volunteers’ contact information in the database or updating timesheets. 

Moreover, a self-service HRIS empowers volunteers to take control of their time and HR processes, boosting efficiency throughout your organisation. 

You may also be interested in: How to boost self-service adoption with HR and payroll software

Engage volunteers using the company dashboard

With volunteer engagement and retention proving key challenges for Human Resources, providing effective communication and support to volunteers is essential. One way to better engage volunteers is with a great internal dashboard: a single destination for all information and internal communications.

Despite being one of the most under-utilised features of HR software, the company dashboard has great potential as the source of internal announcements and news, social media activity, job vacancies, and even volunteer of the month profiles. It’s where you can post the results from your latest fundraising efforts, report on the important work that volunteers are doing, and share information about upcoming events.

In short, your HR software’s in-built company dashboard is a way to create a sense of belonging and keep everyone engaged with the organisation.  

Enhance your employee recognition strategy

Employee relationship management has become increasingly central to HR strategy since the pandemic; 92% of HR professionals now say it’s a key priority, compared to 52% before Covid-19. Managing relationships with voluntary staff is just as important. Volunteers are very susceptible to burnout — especially if they feel like they are working too hard with too little appreciation or support. 

Due to this, a recognition strategy for volunteers is useful. Recognition shouldn’t just be coming from above — peer-to-peer recognition is just as important in creating a community of motivated and enthusiastic volunteers.

The best HR software includes features to encourage peer-to-peer recognition. For example, XCD’s Shout Out is a recognition platform that encourages employees and volunteers to share appreciation for their peers and celebrate each other’s achievements. It can be used either as part of your HR system or as standalone tool to boost recognition in your organisation.

You may also be interested in: The importance and benefits of peer-to-peer recognition

Improve volunteer recruiting and onboarding

We all want the process of bringing new volunteers on board to be as quick and easy as possible, speeding through the necessary admin so volunteers can get started in their roles straight away. With HR software for recruitment and onboarding, this is easier than ever.

The paperless self-serve approach allows volunteers to submit their sign-up forms so they can be securely held in your database, fill out all relevant volunteer information, and even use e-signature tools to speed up the process. This ensures a consistent and efficient onboarding experience every time.  

Streamline volunteer training

Another way that HR software can help with volunteer management is through enhancing training. No matter what soft of non-profit you are, the likelihood is that some training is necessary for all your volunteers before they get stuck in. Moreover, depending on your sector, volunteers may need regular updates to their training with new courses or certifications to support their success in their role. 

HR software enables your volunteers’ learning and development needs by making it easy to enroll in courses, request places in training sessions, and easily track their learning progress. For Human Resources teams, HR software with L&D capabilities provides a centralised way to manage training, allows for easier approvals, and facilities real-time insights into training progress and its impact on performance and retention.

Ensure GDPR compliance

Ensuring that all volunteer and employee data is held securely and deleted effectively is a priority, especially when your organisation has high levels or turnover and many volunteer profiles to manage. HR software makes compliance with GDPR easier than ever by allowing you to automatically request data processing consent from volunteers when necessary and automate reminders for data deletion.

HR software vs volunteer management software

While some non-profits use volunteer management software for recruiting, training, engaging, and retaining volunteers, there are some key downsides to using specialist software for the management of volunteers.

Firstly, using volunteer management software in addition to your existing HR system can cause issues because of siloed data held in two different tools. For example, if a volunteer becomes a part-time paid team member, their information must be manually inputted into the general HR software. Moreover, the two systems mean that processes for recruiting or communicating with volunteers and employees must be duplicated across both software, creating extra hassle for your already overworked HR managers.  

Secondly, using separate software for volunteer management, HR processes, and payroll is an expensive approach. With tight budgets and a need for financial accountability, non-profit organisations can benefit from choosing a single, powerful software that has the capabilities for all these functions within one tool with a lower price tag. 

Finally, a single solution for HR, payroll, and volunteer management makes it easier to track real-time analytics for HR reporting in order to maintain data-driven HR strategy. In one single solution, all the data you need is in one place, allowing for powerful HR reporting with lots of useful data. Moreover, with XCD’s HR software, you can use this data for predictive analytics, forecasting future volunteer trends and recruitment needs alongside predictions for future full-time staff skills gaps. These insights can help you plan volunteer management strategies and tackle turnover or skills gap challenges, keeping your HR strategy proactive.

Try XCD software for effective volunteer management

In any non-profit your people are your most valuable asset; this includes both paid and unpaid staff. For successful volunteer management, a full-featured solution like XCD HR & payroll software is a must-have. Our cloud-based tool is designed to streamline HR processes, empower team members with self-service, and provide greater visibility over your operations.

With discounted rates for non-profit organisations, XCD HR & payroll has helped many non-profits achieve unprecedented results. From helping Homeless Link boost efficiency and go paperless to supporting The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to improve retention and surpass their diversity and inclusion goals, our software has been transformative to many non-profit organisations.

See XCD HR and payroll software in action by booking a demo or get in touch with us to find out more about the benefits of our cloud-based HR solution.