The National Trust in the UK is supporting its 70,000-strong volunteer network with a new cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system from Blackbaud.
Mike Elliott, National Trust programme manager for volunteering systems and processes, said: "We need to manage and engage with our volunteers in a much better way and a key part of doing that will be the deployment of Blackbaud CRM."
He said: "If we get this right we will free up staff time and ensure that every one of our volunteers has a great experience. This should increase volunteer recommendation and visitor enjoyment KPIs - it is our volunteers who deliver a fantastic experience to our visitors."
Blackbaud CRM is being rolled out on a staged basis, which began last month (March), with the creation of a database to hold all volunteer data, supporting communication and volunteer management. Currently, the information is held on various systems so Blackbaud CRM will centralise the data in one place and in a more secure manner.
The next stages in the roll-out will be automated expenses for volunteers, reducing errors and speeding up the current paper-based process for claimant and approver.
There will also be a system to support the creation of volunteer schedules - saving National Trust property staff time and giving greater autonomy to volunteers - and a volunteer recruitment system, making it quicker and easier to attract new volunteers and get them started.
The National Trust recognised that not everyone is confident in using technology, so it was critical for any new system to be easy-to-use for both staff and volunteers.
Another major factor for the National Trust was accessibility. With a number of its places in challenging and remote locations, the new system needed to be cloud-based so volunteers could access it from anywhere. "We needed a single repository, managed locally but nationally administered," said Elliott. "Ease-of-use was vital for us as we aim to have 70 percent of all National Trust volunteers using the system after one year. If we hit that figure it will make an enormous difference to our entire volunteer management programme."
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