As with all things, times change. In the past managing a volunteer rota was done using spreadsheets and sending out email. The problem with this approach is that is does not offer any flexibility to the person running the rota or the volunteers offering their help.  The fact that people need to cancel, or swap means that a spreadsheet it typically out of date as soon as it is created.

Contacting the volunteers was done manually sending out many emails, waiting for replies and this would often be many emails back and forth to try get a commitment from your volunteer to do a   shift on your rota.

Modern software allows for many of these problems to be solved.  Firstly, the software is based on “the cloud”. This means that it is accessible from anywhere at any time. It also means that more than one person can log in and use the system so you can share the work. This also means that the rota is always up to date as any changes made by you or your volunteers are recorded live.

Secondly online volunteer management systems have built in communications so they can send email (and SMS) directly from within the program so you don’t have to go to another program to send out emails saving much back and forth.  Not only does a good rota software allow you to send emails but often they can be done automatically for example sending out reminder emails.

Other benefits of using a good online software is the ability to use an “allocation” tool so you can share out available shifts to your volunteers fairly. Someone times  you want to share an empty rota and allow people to sign up to the shifts they can do and other times you want to auto fill your shifts with people and tell them when they are working next (obviously allowing them to swap or choose an alternate slot if they wish)

Lastly but probably most importantly good software means giving your volunteers a better and easier experience with which to communicate with you. They should be able to set days and times that they are away, easily see their existing shifts, be able to see what spaces you still have left that needs someone and have an overall better experience in all communication with the charity or company.

There are many more benefits to using something that has been designed specifically for the task. It means users offer feedback and feature suggestions that can then be implemented. This allows for a constant evolution making the program better as time goes by.  A good service will give you a trial to test for yourself to know exactly what it does and how much time it saves you.