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Feature Spotlight: Volunteers for Salesforce

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As mentioned in our previous post on volunteer management, we here at OneTenth feel strongly that your volunteer data should be tightly integrated with your donors and other constituents.  Even if you do not plan to solicit your volunteers for donations, your CRM can track and manage all aspects of your volunteer’s engagement and allow you to capture key metrics, so your volunteers are getting the recognition they deserve.

Nearly all CRMs offer a volunteer module.  For some, they are included in the standard subscription, while others offer them as an add-on component for a fee.  Today’s blog will focus on Salesforce’s Volunteers for Salesforce (V4S) application.

There are a lot of opinions out there about Salesforce’s utility for nonprofits.  Some swear by it for it’s innovative platform and interoperability with the apps on their App Exchange, while others find it complex, unintuitive, and hard to maintain.  But if you’ve weighed the pros and cons and you’re still on the fence, V4S just might just be the application to move you over to Salesforce.

As you may already know, Salesforce will donate up to 10 licenses to registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits through its Power of Us program.  Once on the Salesforce platform, you can download the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) app, which contains pre-built constituent and donor management components for free and and gives you access to a large community of users, developers, and partners for guidance and support.  And V4S is now included as part of the NPSP application at no extra charge.  Now I know it is super-generous for Salesforce to donate licenses and offer up these apps for free, but don’t let that be your only decision factor! More details about NPSP to come in a future blog post, but in short, Salesforce typically does require a certified administrator to maintain the application in larger organizations.  And for smaller nonprofits, a resource in-house with Salesforce experience or some solid Trailhead hours under their belt is essential!

There are several features I love about Volunteers for Salesforce:

  • The contact record tracks key volunteer metrics (status, hours, availability, first volunteer date, last volunteer date, etc.).  It is integrated with all other aspects of the contact i.e. donations, relationships, activities, etc.  No need to go to a separate place!
  • A Volunteer Wizard allows you to create Volunteer Campaigns (projects) with the ability to organize by jobs and shifts.  Once the jobs and shifts are created, volunteers can be assigned individually, en masse, or by selecting specific criteria using the “Find Volunteers” functionality
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  • V4S provides a standard set of email templates, allowing for easy communication with volunteers before and after an event.  Reports and dashboards templates are also provided “out of the box” for volunteer coordinators and management to assess the results of their volunteer outreach and recruitment efforts
  • But the feature that excites me most is the Volunteer Engagement functionality, where organizations can integrate V4S components directly on their website.  This allows volunteers to view a calendar or listing of open volunteer opportunities, sign up for a shift, and even log hours after a shift...all of which immediately flow back into the Salesforce database
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There are several more V4S features a blog post just can't do justice to (logging hours, recurring projects etc.).  And of course, with the Salesforce platform, you have the flexibility to configure and customize the application to meet the needs of your nonprofit (to the extent your technical abilities allow).

At OneTenth, we believe that Volunteer Engagement is one of the most critical, yet most under-valued and under-utilized relationships that exist at a nonprofit.  With the right app and the right strategy, your CRM can allow you to streamline your volunteer planning efforts, automate communications, recognize your volunteers for their service, and leverage such relationships for your fundraising efforts!

Wondering if Volunteers for Salesforce is right for you?  Or want to compare with other CRMs?  Let us help you find the right solution for your nonprofit.  Contact us today!