Skip to main content

Volunteer Management Software: Why Nonprofits Need It

Want to run programs with ease and increase efficiency? There's technology that can help!

Volunteer Management Software: Why Nonprofits Need It

Do you follow the National Park Service on social media? If not, you should! From encouraging short trees to grow on Earth Day to admonishing park visitors that “Living your life to the fullest does not have to involve selfies with bison,” the social media geniuses behind the accounts keep us laughing. When they tweet, we pay attention.

This is how we learned that late April is National Park Week, and visits to parks are encouraged. The NPS has also denoted April 21 to 27 as National Volunteer Week, which naturally caught our eye.

Volunteers: A Nonprofit’s Secret Weapon

The world of nonprofits is dynamic, and most nonprofits are busy with initiatives designed to change the world. And changing the world requires a lot of hard work from a lot of human beings.

Enter volunteers. They love your mission. They probably love your nonprofit. They’re willing to work for free because they believe in your work. They’re the backbone of your activities!

They bring human resources, but they also add skillsets. While some volunteers can man a race, others can help with social media or taxes or IT questions.

Clearly, volunteers enable you to save costs, but they also serve as ambassadors in the community. This can lead to new donors, supporters, and even community partners.

And they bring fresh perspectives and ideas that can spark innovation.

In short, a robust volunteer program will supercharge the efforts of any nonprofit. And using a system like CharityEngine will make managing those volunteers effortless.

How Volunteer Management Software Helps

It’s common for nonprofits to start small, perhaps with Excel spreadsheets, then panic when they realize they’ve grown too much for homegrown systems and need to find a fundraising platform. Similarly, a few of your neighbors might show up to help with an event, and your volunteer program has quickly grown beyond legal pads and checklists.

This is where volunteer management software (VMS) can be a game changer. When your system offers native tools, you can manage, nurture, support, and thank donors, all from one system. Even if your software integrates with a VMS system, there are significant benefits you’ll quickly realize from using volunteer management software.

Streamline Tasks for Increased Efficiency

Managing volunteer signups, shifts, check-ins, and thank yous requires a lot of paperwork and coordination. Volunteer management software automates these tasks and makes scheduling or tracking hours effortless. This saves time and eliminates the risk of errors.

Improve Communication

Communicating with your volunteers, particularly those working during a large event, can be equally crucial and overwhelming. Use VMS to leverage emails, messaging platforms, and forums to keep the lines of communication open and clear. When your volunteers sign up and check in through your software, detailed instructions and contact information are right there. Even changes in plans are easy to communicate quickly, saving you the stress of chasing people down.

Make it Easy to Participate

Some clients run entire campaigns around volunteer recruitment. When you have capable software, customizing an online application or using the system to match skills and jobs helps you get the support you need while ensuring the volunteers have a pleasant experience. Volunteer portals give volunteers the power to manage contact information and stay in touch.

Tracking Volunteer Hours

Did you know you can calculate the monetary value of volunteer hours and use this when applying for grants? It will also help you assess your community impact, understand the true cost of programs, and plan future initiatives. Tracking volunteer hours will offer data you might find surprising ways to use.

Increase Cost-Effectiveness

Volunteers make you more cost-effective, but what about volunteer management software? The long-term savings are significant. You will reduce time spent on routine tasks, improve communication, lessen wasted time and effort from misunderstandings, improve recruitment and retention, and help your programs be more effective.

Volunteer Management Software: 5 Top Providers

When you’re ready to turn to software to help manage volunteers, where should you look first? There are many choices, but these five options are a good place to start, as each offers advantages.


CharityEngine is full-service fundraising software. It offers donor management and every core tool fundraisers need—including volunteer management—and they’re all native to the platform. This means data from every source is centralized and at your fingertips in real time. Knowing that a volunteer also attended an event and mailed in a check? That’s actionable information!


Bloomerang offers Bloomerang Volunteer to nonprofits, conferences, and sports organizers. An integrated app helps organizers reach volunteers during events and calculate volunteer hours. As a nonprofit CRM, Bloomerang is an excellent choice for smaller nonprofits that value ease of use over robust functionality.

Little Green Light

Little Green Light has more than volunteer management tools and is an option for much smaller nonprofits moving from Excel spreadsheets. Most features result from integrations with other systems. Still, the platform will allow you to accept applications online, let volunteers submit hours online, generate reports, communicate with your volunteers, and acknowledge volunteers.


WildApricot is nonprofit membership management software, including volunteer management. Offering a CRM, a member database, and more, it offers basic functionality for small nonprofits. While its customer service can be criticized, users think the interface is user-friendly, and the basic tools are sufficient.

With, we move away from the full-service CRMs and look at basic volunteer management. Like SignUpGenius, it is an option for event schedules, availability checks, spot confirmations, and automated reminders. It might be an option if you only need an app for a small event, but it is solely beneficial for wrangling volunteers.

Streamline Volunteer Management

There are many options for nonprofits wanting to manage volunteers. Using software to simplify recruitment, scheduling, and communications—while fostering a positive volunteer experience—can lead those volunteers into a donor journey, culminating in financial support for your nonprofit. And even if they never donate money, their time and dedication are worth more than gold.

When you need donor management and fundraising tools in addition to volunteer management software, you’ll want to find a provider that offers a lot of the functionality you need. There are a lot of choices, and it’s helpful to be a smart shopper and ask the right questions so you can end up with the technology of your dreams.

And, of course, we can’t write an article about volunteers without thanking every one of you who supports a nonprofit mission. We, too, want to help nonprofits change the world, and your role is indispensable and appreciated.

Want to chat? We’re here.