Getting volunteers to actually sign up for events and activities is a regular headache for many volunteer coordinators. You’ve done a great job at volunteer recruitment and onboarding. But how to actually get things done?
A simple office whiteboard or a volunteer signup sheet in Google Forms can work really well for some organisations. Simple things are sometimes the best solution! But if you’re managing a diverse team with various demands about how they want to sign up.. Then it may be time to upgrade the process and start using a devoted signup app.
If you’ve ever tried to schedule volunteers over traditional communication channels like shared spreadsheets, phone calls, email, text messaging or group messaging, you’re probably familiar that issues are most likely to arise.
There are many complex apps that come with a full feature list like donation management or e-mail newsletters. But today we’re looking at apps that focus on signing volunteers up for available opportunities (without many additional bells and whistles). And if you’re a small organisation or a charity, some options are absolutely free to use!
👉 Jump straight to our shortlist of the best volunteer signup apps!
What is volunteer signup software?
Volunteer signup software lets organizations provide their volunteers with an option to sign up for specific shifts or tasks themselves. This is usually a calendar that shows available volunteer opportunities, and volunteers can sign themselves up for open slots. This approach helps organizations manage volunteers without much central coordination effort.
Volunteer signup software is similar to volunteer scheduling software. Both are tools that help organizations match volunteers with the work to be done.
Volunteer scheduling software usually requires more manual work. A coordinator asks for volunteer availability, then creates the schedules. This of course adds to the workload of the volunteer coordinator.
Some volunteer software may include both signup and scheduling functionality, while other products may focus on one or the other. It’s important to consider the specific needs of your organization when choosing software to manage volunteers.
How to choose a good volunteer signup app for your organisation?
Volunteer signup apps have become invaluable tools for organizations and individuals alike. These apps streamline the process of connecting volunteers with opportunities, and make it easier for people to get involved.
It is easy to use
One of the fundamental aspects of a great volunteer signup app is a user-friendly interface. It should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy individuals should effortlessly find their way around.
It is even easier to start
The registration process should be simple and efficient. The best volunteer signup apps allow users to create accounts quickly, either through email or social media login options.
You can communicate with the volunteers
A reliable volunteer signup app enables seamless communication between volunteers and organizers. It should have built-in messaging features, allowing volunteers to ask questions, receive updates, and seek clarification.
You can connect it to other apps
A top-notch volunteer signup app integrates scheduling and calendar features, enabling volunteers to manage their time effectively. They should be able to sync opportunities with their personal calendars, and receive timely reminders.
It gives you relevant data on what’s happening
Volunteer signup apps that stand out go beyond the signup process. They incorporate features to track volunteer hours, monitor impact, and generate reports. These tools help organizations evaluate the effectiveness of their volunteer programs and demonstrate the collective impact of volunteers’ efforts.
What is the best signup app for managing volunteers?
The best signup app has the right features as we described in the previous section. But foremost it is one that your volunteers enjoy using.
Here is a list of the most well-known volunteer signup software on the market. All of these offer a free version (or a free trial). So test them all and decide which one is the best for your team!
If you need more extensive features, read our shortlist for volunteer management software.
Zelos Team Management
Zelos is a very simple signup app for volunteer teams. It also lets you communicate with your volunteers through live messaging. They can download a smartphone app or access your project through a web browser on their computer. Administrators can also assign task participants and pull detailed hour reports.
Zelos also supports gamification. Awarding points and displaying top performers on leaderboards can considerably upgrade volunteer engagement and motivation.
The standard subscription is free forever, and the number of team members in each project is not limited. The premium prices are also fixed subscriptions, and not dependent on the number of app users.
- Perfect for: quick live volunteer signup
- Weaknesses: no public page, all tasks are private and visible to team members only
- Special powers: live messaging with app notifications
Better Impact is an all-round volunteer management platform that includes features for scheduling, tracking hours, and reporting on the impact of volunteer efforts. Administrators can create open shifts for signup and volunteers can pick up the work they are able to do.
Better Impact is easy to integrate with other apps from the same software suite, for example donor management and client CRM.
- Perfect for: when you need much more than just a signup
- Weaknesses: the platform is quite extensive, so there’s a lot to learn at first
- Special powers: donor management and CRM in the same software suite
Lome is a simple web platform. It offers customizable templates for events and signups. They have premium tools for volunteer coordination, like automatic reminders, payment integration, and communication features. The platform is ad-free, and offers many free images and templates.
- Perfect for: very easily setting up a public signup page online
- Weaknesses: limited number of signup forms in free tier
- Special powers: lots of built-in image assets to make the signups visually appealing
Signup Genius is a web-based tool for creating simple volunteer signups. You can embed these forms on your own website or direct your volunteers to the devoted Signup Genius page. Administrators can configure automatic reminders and send e-mails to make sure everyone is on the same page.
The free plan comes with unlimited signups. The paid plans charge a flat fee each month and unlock additional features.
- Perfect for: when you need a very simple page for signups
- Weaknesses: the free version shows advertisements on the signup page
- Special powers: collecting money on signups
Signup.com creates private volunteer signups for your project. You can invite unlimited participants to view the opportunities, and send email reminders to everyone involved.
It is possible to upgrade to a paid plan with monthly payments and get access to SMS reminders and additional features such as waitlists, check-in and hour tracking.
- Perfect for: when you need a private page for signups
- Weaknesses: cannot limit participant slots in free tier
- Special powers: easy shift swapping
iVolunteer is a very simple web tool for scheduling volunteers and planning events. Volunteers can open the website, or communicate with the the system over e-mail messages.
- Perfect for: when you need a public signup central for your event
- Weaknesses: participant amount very limited in the free tier
- Special powers: publish new events through your email
Not sold on signup? You can also take a look at our shortlist of the best volunteer scheduling apps. Or if you need a more complex feature set, here’s our choices for top volunteer management software.
It’s important to consider the specific needs of your organization when choosing software for getting your volunteers. Our blog post about how to start a volunteer program can also help you plan better!