Scheduling volunteers can be a challenge, particularly if they have different availability or are interested in different types of roles. This requires careful planning and coordination from the volunteer coordinator. Is that you? Then keep reading!
There are many volunteer management apps that are great for volunteer signup, tracking their hours, or communicating with the team. But today we’re looking at apps that are perfect for creating shift schedules for a large team.
And because we’re scheduling volunteers, we’re often looking at non-profits that appreciate some free options.
Many non-profits have limited budgets and need to stretch their resources as far as possible. Finding a free volunteer scheduling app is a great way for non-profits to save money on staffing and operational costs, while still being able to effectively manage their volunteer workforce!
Free volunteer scheduling apps
Zelos Team Management
Zelos is a very simple volunteer management app that lets you create shifts and tasks for your volunteers. You can also let volunteers self-schedule or bid for the shifts, and offer gamified rewards for the high achievers. The standard subscription is free forever, and the number of volunteers in each project is not limited. The premium prices are also fixed subscriptions, and not dependent on the number of volunteers.
Sling is an easy to use team scheduling app that lets you schedule volunteers manually, or mark some shifts as open for signup. The basic scheduling features are absolutely free to use, and upgrading to premium features is based on the number of project members.
Shiftbase is an excellent scheduling app that lets you appoint volunteers to shifts and events. The free package is limited with 75 volunteers, and the premium pricing is based on the number of monthly active project members (so you won’t be charged for someone who hasn’t logged in!)
Connecteam is a very popular scheduling app with a ton of useful features. Besides basic scheduling and task management, it can also function as a learning platform, feedback forum, or a social network for your volunteers. The basic product is free for life, but their premium offers are certainly very tempting, too!
Why you should use an app for volunteer scheduling
If you’ve ever created a schedule for a whole team of volunteers, you’re probably familiar that issues are most likely to arise with all of the following:
Volunteers may have other commitments or obligations that limit their availability to work shifts. This can make it difficult to create a schedule that meets the needs of the organization while also taking into account the availability of individual volunteers. With an app, volunteers can access their schedules themselves, which makes it easier for organizers to confirm who is available to work certain shifts.
It can be difficult to communicate shift schedule changes or updates to a team of volunteers, especially if they are not in regular contact with the organization. Scheduling apps usually have tools for sending out reminders and notifications about shift changes or updates, which can help ensure that volunteers are informed about their schedules.
Volunteers may not be able to commit to a set schedule, making it difficult to plan in advance. Most scheduling software allows volunteers to swap shifts or request time off, which can help to ensure that the schedule is flexible enough to meet the needs of both the organization and the volunteers.
It can be challenging to motivate volunteers to work certain shifts, especially if they are not compensated or do not receive other incentives for their time. Scheduler software often allow volunteers to track their hours, earn rewards or recognition for their work, or even compete with one another to see who can work the most shifts. These features can help to motivate volunteers and keep them engaged with the organization.
If the shift schedule is not well-planned or does not take into account the needs and preferences of volunteers, it can lead to high turnover and difficulty retaining volunteers. Scheduling apps can take into account the needs and preferences of volunteers – more efficient scheduling process is more efficient and enjoyable for everyone involved.
As you can see, volunteer scheduling software can really help you soften the experience for yourself. Carefully consider different options to find the right one for your organization. We hope that our suggestions above are helpful to get you started!
It’s important to consider the specific needs of your organization when choosing software for a core function such as volunteer scheduling. For a longer list of app choices, take a look at our blog post on the best volunteer management software.