09 April 2018

Appreciating NTEN Month: Organizing Volunteers Using WordPress

NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, works year-round to help members and their nonprofit organizations fulfill their purposes. It should come as no surprise that many nonprofit organizations are underfunded, understaffed, and lack the technical know-how to reach their fullest potential. A shame seeing as how many charitable groups do so much good for their communities.

That’s why NTEN takes it upon themselves to dedicate the entire month of April to those who want to use technology to support nonprofit organizations. Every April, thousands of the brightest nonprofit professionals from around the world come together to discover and share new ways technology can help charitable organizations thrive in the upcoming year.

They also promote solutions to the many issues they face when it comes to funding, training, industry analysis, organizing events, marketing to the community, and networking with other professionals.

In an effort to spread the word about NTEN’s mission to help nonprofits use technology in a beneficial way, we are going to share some of the best ways to use technology to organize your own nonprofit’s volunteers using the WordPress platform.

After all, managing nonprofit volunteers is crucial to the success of your events.

WordPress Plugins for Managing Volunteers

1. Participants Database

Participants Database is a WordPress plugin that helps you build and maintain a database of people for your organization’s event. You can easily customize the information you save for each volunteer, manually enter individual records or import an entire list with a CSV files, and even let your volunteers complete their own profiles by having them fill out signup forms that are embedded onto your website.

Forms embedded onto your website come complete with things like dropdown menus, checkboxes, image uploads, and more. Not to mention, you can easily sort and filter your volunteer list so you can keep track of everyone that’s involved and what their roles are.

This plugin comes with a bunch of free and premium addons and extensions designed to extend the fairly limited functionality of the plugin itself. For instance, integrate the PayPal payment gateway into your website for managing dues and donations or add images to your database of volunteers.

In addition, you can integrate your database with your MailChimp account for sending out email reminders to those involved in your events, add an interactive popup datepicker, and even provide a way for volunteers to check in to their own user accounts.

Additional features of both the free and premium versions include:

  • Shortcode generator for embedding short and long forms on your site
  • Email notifications for when records change
  • Export printable CSV files of your entire database
  • The ability to customize form fields for collecting any information you want
  • Translation capability for reaching your international volunteers


2. Appointment Booking Calendar – BirchPress Scheduler

The Appointment Booking Calendar – BirchPress Scheduler plugin is an appointment booking and online scheduling solution that lets your nonprofit organization schedule volunteers for event days and times. This is an effective management tool, which is completely mobile responsive, serves to keep everyone on track when it comes to filling volunteer spots so your event runs smooth.

Let volunteers choose from any of the available dates and times, support multiple locations and staff types, and even assign volunteers to specific jobs if that’s what your event requires.

The powerful admin panel makes managing your volunteer signups easy. For example, view signups in daily, weekly, and monthly views, and even edit or delete time slots as needed. In addition, this helpful volunteer plugin configures the day and time of the week automatically, accepts multiple currencies, and tracks payment activity in the case you want to accept donations.

If you find yourself needing some more functionality, check out the premium version and enjoy features like custom email messaging for those signing up, blackout dates such as holidays, color-coded signup times to distinguish between staff and volunteers, and even automatic page redirection after someone claims a time slot.

Additional features of both the free and premium versions include:

  • Multiple language support for reaching a global volunteer base
  • WooCommerce support for those with online shops
  • The ability to customize time slot lengths of time
  • PayPal and payment gateway integrations
  • User role permissions and management for volunteers and staff


3. RSVPMaker Volunteer Roles

RSVPMaker Volunteer Roles is a volunteer plugin that lets those with user accounts, or at the very least subscriber rights, sign up for specific volunteer roles. Pulling names from existing profiles, people can easily enter their information and sign up for multiple events and times without ever having to submit an official form. From there, administrators can pull those that have signed up to organize future events, and even track previous volunteer hours that have been logged by each user.

In addition, you can view an interactive calendar that shows all the time slots that have been claimed by volunteers using the generated shortcode, and even display a summary list for the upcoming week of all volunteers that have signed up directly on your website for all to see.

When used with its parent plugin, RSVPMaker, additional features include:

  • Social media promotion of your organization’s charitable events
  • The ability to collect donations or sign up fees from attendees using PayPal
  • Easy creation of events that edit just like WordPress posts and pages that display on the frontend of your site
  • Integration with MailChimp for email marketing purposes
  • Customizable confirmation and reminder messages

When used together, both RSVPMaker and RSVPMaker Volunteer Roles provide the perfect combination for nonprofit organizations trying to promote upcoming fundraising events, as well as recruit volunteers to man the events and make sure they run without a hitch.


4. Wired Impact Volunteer Management

Wired Impact Volunteer Management provides a simple way to keep track of your nonprofit’s volunteers. To start, post one-time and flexible volunteer opportunities for people to sign up for on the frontend of your website using a generated shortcode. From there, volunteers can sign up for time slots directly on your website and receive an automatic confirmation email detailing the event and volunteer opportunity upon form submission.

This volunteer WordPress plugin also lets you control the number of signups you can collect so you don’t overbook, or keep the number of signups open to as many as you can get. This feature makes this plugin perfect for all organizations, no matter how big or small the charitable events are, or how many volunteers are needed.

Additional features include:

  • Schedule automated reminder emails three days prior to any event
  • Send out last minute details for when things change quickly
  • Keep track of all your volunteers’ involvement with your organization
  • Easily add personal notes to each volunteer’s profile
  • Create recurring event opportunities that volunteers can sign up for


5. Nonprofit Board Management

Nonprofit Board Management is another volunteer plugin brought you by the same team that created Wired Impact Volunteer Management. This unique solution helps you manage the nonprofit’s board of members that are responsible for keeping your organization running efficiently.

See a list of all board members, complete with personal information such as name, phone number, email address, committee, and even profile picture. In addition, post upcoming events so everyone is on the same page about what is coming up, easily display directions to each event so people know exactly how to get there, and of course, monitor who has RSVP’d and plans to attend.

In addition, access board member resources such as links to important documents, meeting minutes and bylaws, personalized notes for individual board members, and any other type of content designed to help you and your board members run the best charitable organization possible. You also have access to video support for easy troubleshooting.

Additional premium extension features include:

  • Integrated email services for sending automatic event reminders
  • Easy event RSVP functionality direct from email reminders
  • Event attendance tracking of every board member
  • Easier management of RSVPs that are all located in one convenient location
  • Customized emails complete with map links


Final Thoughts

Integrating technological advancements into your nonprofit organization is a great way to ensure your charity is properly funded each year, enough people attend your events and participate in your cause, and plenty of volunteers needed to run your events to their fullest potential sign up.

Unfortunately, without the right resources, you may not even be aware of what kind of technology is at your disposal to meet those goals in the most efficient way possible.

Luckily, thanks to those that dedicate themselves to helping the larger nonprofit community, such as NTEN, charitable organizations across the world are becoming more exposed to the affordable tech solutions available that are designed to help nonprofit organizations thrive and continue to provide outstanding services to their communities.

If you find yourself needing any help with managing your organization’s volunteers using WordPress, don’t forget, we are just a quick message or tweet away.


Other articles you may enjoy:

5 Nonprofits using Amazon Alexa effectively

10 Things to Check for on Your Responsively Designed Website

Does my nonprofit need an editorial calendar?

6 Tools to help you track your volunteers


Elyssa Respaut

Elyssa works as an occasional writer when not otherwise managing projects.