Managers of volunteers love spreadsheets

In a recent survey of nonprofits, NGOs, and other mission-based organizations regarding the online tools they use to support volunteers and track their information, Rob Jackson and I found that:

  • the most-used tool reported tool used by those surveyed to track and manage volunteers was spreadsheets – that could be Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice, GoogleDocs, or any other  spreadsheet program

The results of the survey are here (in PDF). Rob and I didn’t ask what these organizations were using spreadsheets for, specifically. I would guess:

  • to more easily produce graphs/charts with data generated with the volunteer management software
  • to more easily produce some kind of report (a list of volunteers that will attend an event on Sunday, with their full and last names, email and phone number)

It’s something that software designers need to consider: software needs to at least export selected data easily into a format that can be read by a spreadsheet.

Here’s a question I wished we’d ask on this survey:

What does software – whether on computers or your smart phone – allow you to do now regarding supporting and tracking volunteers, that is absolutely fabulous: how does it save your organization money, how does it help you be more responsive to volunteers, how does it free up your time to do other things (and what are those other things you do?), how does it help you show volunteer impact, and on and on.

So – why not answer that question now over on TechSoup?!

Be sure to say what software you use, whether it’s a specific volunteer management software or a spreadsheet (Excel, Google Docs, OpenOffice, whatever).

You have to register in order to be able to post to the TechSoup community, but registration is free, and it will allow you to

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