Volunteer Management and Appreciation at Green Urban Lunch Box
Tracking Tools and Reporting Plans
Volunteers are incredibly important to The Green Urban Lunch Box. Volunteers fill an essential role in helping reduce food waste in residential areas and connecting our community with fresh, local produce. As more and more individuals respond to the growing needs within their communities, volunteers are giving back in record numbers. In order to efficiently track and report a volunteer’s impact, GULB uses the CRM platform Salesforce. Salesforce provides the tools needed to efficiently recruit, track, and manage volunteers.
When a volunteer fills out an application on GULB’s website or signs up for an event on SignUpGenius, their information is automatically added into Salesforce via an application called Zapier. Zapier moves information from one application to another automatically. For example, when a new volunteer signs up on SignUpGenius, a new account/contact is created in Salesforce. If they are an existing volunteer any new information provided is updated. All volunteer events and hours are recorded on their account in Salesforce.
From there, volunteer’s Salesforce accounts can be customized to track the volunteer skills, qualification and training information. This information is helpful in determining which skills are most applicable to the specific program they wish to volunteer ex. FruitShare, Back-Farms, Small Farm Initiative. Using Salesforce analytics to report on new, repeat and top volunteers enables GULB to learn more about how to retain volunteers and Provides volunteers with a rewarding experience by tracking successful events.
Quantitative Volunteer Impacts
Quantitative impacts are measured in Salesforce and then reported to the Development Director and Coordinator of each program i.e. FruitShare, Back-Farms, Small Farm Initiative.
- New vs. Repeat Volunteers
- Measuring this helps determine which programs have high retention and engagement.
- Volunteer Hours
- Records how much and how often volunteers dedicate time to the organization.
- Volunteer Attendance
- Shows how many events each volunteer attends as well as pinpoints issues that may cause no-shows.
- Donations Made by Volunteers vs. Non-Volunteers
- Measuring this relationship helps GULB add additional value to volunteer programs and enhance the understanding of key supporters.
- Volunteer Footprint
- Measures volunteer engagement in one or multiple programs. Determining overlap aids in understanding how volunteers participate.
Qualitative Volunteer Impacts
Qualitative metrics are collected using interviews conducted by staff. These interviews are recorded in Salesforce and reported to the coordinator of each program as well as the Development Director.
- Volunteer Satisfaction and Engagement
- Utilizing GULB’s volunteer satisfaction survey, each volunteer is sent a survey as a follow-up to an event they participated in.
It is highly encouraged to take as many photos as possible during volunteer events that can be used on social media. These photos are used as opportunities to publicly thank our volunteers and to show off their hard work whether they are harvesting fruit trees or building a garden. Photos are featured on Instagram, Facebook, and in the volunteer newsletter. Although these social media posts are not the most personal forms of appreciation for individual volunteers, they are nice and are positively received online.
Due to COVID-19, GULB has put a pause on their usual volunteer events and parties, which is where outstanding volunteers were recognized and presented with a gift from GULB. During August 2021, GULB was able to hold an outdoor event at the GULB Community Farm, where all volunteers and supporters from all the programs were invited to celebrate GULB’s 10th anniversary. Everyone was invited to bring a dish featuring seasonal produce to contribute to the party potluck. Prizes were donated from various GULB partners and used as door prizes for attendees.
A more personalized volunteer appreciation method is a recurring bit in the volunteer newsletter to highlight individual volunteers for their hard work. During the busy season staff are able to nominate volunteers to the FruitShare Outreach and Communications Coordinator VISTA. The AmeriCorps member who assists with the weekly newsletter gathers information and a photo from the volunteers who have been nominated to share. This is a great way to spotlight a specific volunteer’s accomplishments and inform readers of the impact one person can have.