New Feature - Volunteer Sign-Up & Management
Idea shared by Shaun Peet - June 14, 2017 at 5:00 PM
Employee Post
We are currently seeking input for a new feature we think might be of value to the MBSportsWeb platform.  This feature would be to facilitate volunteer signup and it would be included as a standard feature of the platform.
To this point we've solicited ideas from a handful of associations but we really want to get as many suggestions from the community as possible.  Some of the high-level ideas we've put together so far include:
  • The volunteer sign-up page should allow for people to provide their contact information once, and then sign-up for multiple volunteer events
  • The concept of "jobs" will be available which can be attached on an event or exist on their own.
  • Each "job" can have a title & description and should have specific start & end dates; they can also have limits and possibly a "credit" value
  • If there are "job(s)" attached to an event, then on the event details page there will be a prompt for people to volunteer for those jobs which haven't already been filled.
    • Seeking input - should the names of those who have already signed up be visible?
  • There should also be a standard landing page at the address of /Volunteer that allows for custom content at the top and then automatically facilitates the process for signing up to any upcoming unfilled jobs
  • In that back-end it should be possible to quickly generate reports showing the full contact information for volunteers who have signed up for specific jobs
  • Reports should also be available to showcase for a given date range a summary of credits / time committed for each volunteer within that date range
  • Each volunteer should be able to view a calendar or list of jobs / events they've signed up to do
    • Seeking input - should a volunteer be able to cancel their sign-up or should that be controlled by an administrator?
  • Perhaps not right away, but at some point it would be nice to send automatic reminder emails to volunteers ahead of the events they've signed up to do
Please let us know if you think this feature would be useful for your organization by using the Up / Down arrows at the top of this thread.
Also, please let us know how your collect volunteer information now and what you think could be done to make things easier.  Thanks!
Shaun Peet
Lead Developer, MBSportsWeb & TheOneDB

21 Replies

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RMHA current volunteer method is to post something on our webpage with information and hope to hear from people. (i.e. Convenor positions, Houseleague scorekeepers, etc). It works but an acutal signup page may be more productive. 
For our Bantam-Midget tournament, the families of the teams involved have to volunteer in a number of areas which I create sign up sheets for and then meet with the families. This alternative of a signup sheet on the site may be helpful for those that have work commitments and need to change their hours etc. Assuming the results of the volunteer page can be made public or semi public.
Reports would be necessary and whether current volunteer names show or not is irrelevant; I see no privacy problem with this so for me, show them. Sometimes peer pressure will kick in and others will volunteer just because someone else did :)
This feature is absolutely something we would use.
The ability to email the schedule out to lists and set time intervals down to every 15 minutes and send reminders to volunteers who registered.
We have used Signup Genius in the past and found it extremely valuable.
I think this will be a great feature and I know our organization will benedit from it. we do it manually right now just through emails and spreadsheets. We ask all our parents to volunteer a set amount of hours every season to offset costs but tracking it is the hardest part. I like the idea of job specific within an event so people know what options there is. We hold a few large events each year and those are the ones we need the most help with. beer tent,canteen,umpiring, bbqing etc.I'm very much looking forward to the development of this feature.

Jeremy VanRuymbeke
Port Lambton Pirates
Look forward to hearing more
I would say No to showing the names of volunteers on the webpage, but the rest of the features sound great.  We are just starting to use volunteers for events and this would be a great help.
The volunteer sign-up page should allow for people to provide their contact information once, and then sign-up for multiple volunteer events
There should be a user account with userid / password associated with the volunteer information so only the person who created the entry can sign up for events.
Seeking input - should the names of those who have already signed up be visible?
The names should not be visible to the public; however, someone other than a website administrator should be able to view and manage the list of volunteers.  
Whoever is organizing the event should have an account and access to a hidden event management page.  From this page they should be able to view the list of volunteers, assign them to 'jobs' and publicly flag a position as filled.
This would be a nice option to have for ALL online form responses.  It takes the onus off the administrator to distribute the information, and puts it in the hands of the people running the event.  Get away from using static reports and instead have a dynamic, protected, customizable web page that always has the current information displayed regarding form responses.
Seeking input - should a volunteer be able to cancel their sign-up or should that be controlled by an administrator?
Yes, a volunteer should be able to cancel.  If a volunteer cancels, then a notification email should go to the person running the event and the status of the volunteer should reflect the cancellation on the event management page.
Extended Feature Request:
It would be great to be able to tag a signup sheet to each scheduled event or game so we can track who will be attending.  This would eliminate the need for us to use teamsnap alongside MBSportsWeb.
Please let us know how your collect volunteer information now
We use a combination of emails and word of mouth.  It is effective but time consuming.
Let us know if you think this feature would be useful for your organization
We run numerous events that require volunteers, this would be exceptionally useful!
I've just looked at Signup Genius for the first time! If MBSports doesn't come through then I'll be using that instead. Thanks for mentioning it :)
We abandoned signup sheets and have been recruiting volunteers through our website over the last three years.   This in addition to the utilization of the online auction feature have helped increase the number of subscribers for our website.   We post an article identifying the roles to be filled.  We have set up a volunteer_your_time email address for those interested to respond.  Emails received are time stamped. We  then assign volunteers to specific roles.  It is still very much a manual process on the back end but has worked.  Any new feature that allows subscribers to sign up for posted roles would be good.   No need to make the names of individuals who have signed up public. Just update the roles that have been filled and which ones remain open.   This should be incentive enough to volunteer. Cancellations should be handled through administrator.  Our organization assign credits to specific roles so inclusion of this option and ability to print schedule and run reports would be great!
Wasaga Beach Minor Hockey has been using an online form-based sign-up system for the last year, which has been very well received by the parents. For each event, an event-specific form is created that describes the jobs and shifts available. Parents volunteer for the specific jobs/shifts that they are available for and capable/qualified of doing (i.e. not everyone is capable of operating the game clock during a Midget hockey tournament). There is currently nothing that prevents someone from volunteering for a shift that has already been filled and it usually takes several days before the shift schedule is compiled and those who volunteered are informed of the actual shifts that they are going to be doing. However, our current system allows us to assign jobs/shifts based on a set of priority criteria that is not entirely based on a "first-come-first-serve" basis. For instance, during tournaments, we give priority to parents who have children playing in the tournament. We are also able to have backups for some jobs/shifts in case someone becomes sick or is otherwise unable to fulfill a commitment that he/she volunteered for.
When we switched from a paper-based sign-up sheet at the arena to an online sign-up sheet, we also observed that parents would sign-up for shifts almost immediately upon receiving the warning email telling them that the form in question had gone live. However, we noticed that the distribution of such email alerts was obviously uneven, with some teams receiving them much quicker than others. This forced us to establish a process by which all volunteer applications were collected during a set period of time (usually about 7 days) and then the shift schedule would be established based on our priority system. This made it more fair for those parents who somehow were informed much later than others about the availability of the sign-up sheet online.
Consequently, to be useful in our current paradigm (I'm not against changing the way that we conduct business to adapt to the tool that is being proposed, but since we are still able to influence its development, I'd rather assume that we wouldn't have to change our existing processes), the tool would have to allow for people to be "bumped" from shifts by people with higher priority. To be fair, I think that a deliberate administrator intervention would be required in order to bump someone from a shift. However, people should be able to volunteer for shifts even if they are already taken as they may have a higher priority then whomever is currently assigned to that shift and it would allow us to continue building a list of backups in case something happens.
To answer some of your specific questions:
  • Should the names of those who have already signed up be visible? No, this would not be well received within our association due to privacy concerns.
  • Should a volunteer be able to cancel their sign-up or should that be controlled by an administrator? Only an administrator should be able to cancel a shift that's already been assigned to someone. In our current sign-up system, parents are warned when they sign-up that they are responsible for performing the shift that they volunteer for and that only the volunteer hours performed will be counted, not the hours signed up for. Allowing people to withdraw their application on their own would be a disaster for our association. An administrator who has access to the list of potential backups for the given shift can do that, but the onus needs to remain on the parents to live up to their commitment.
  • Please let us know if you think this feature would be useful for your organization [...] We already use our own version of this type of feature that we created using the website's online form feature, so of course we believe that it is a very useful feature. Anything that can ease the burden on the administrator to compile applications and assign shifts directly in the website would be very welcome.
  • Please let us know how you collect volunteer information now and what you think could be done to make things easier? Volunteer requirements are set on a "per-family basis, which can sometimes be tricky since a family can be comprised of several children playing on several teams, often concurrently. While others are advocating for the creation of individual login credentials for each parent, I think that this would prove to be very onerous to manage for our webmaster. Instead, I propose that shifts be attributed to the children themselves using the rosters for each team on the site. All that would then be missing is for whomever signs-up for a shift to ensure that he/she includes contact information (i.e. name, email, phone). This would allow people to volunteer for someone else's hours for example, something that is very common in our association.
Gabriel Dore
Wasaga Beach Minor Hockey
LTMHA would use this feature for sure. We struggle to get volunteers and this might be another avenue to increase our volunteer base. Generating and tracking volunteers would eb much easier.
Shaun Peet Replied
Employee Post
Thanks for your comments Gabriel. On your last point - the problem of associating the volunteers with the rosters is that 1) not every association puts their rosters into the site, and 2) I would hope that there are still volunteers out there who are willing to help despite not having their own child still participating, not to mention high school volunteers who are just looking to get in their hours and don't have children yet. So we'll have to make a volunteer signup process not tied to the rosters and hopefully still be able to produce reports that are useful to help keep track.
Shaun Peet Replied
Employee Post
Looks like a decent source of inspiration for us. Thanks for your feedback.
We would use this feature, anything to aid (easy to use) in getting volunteers is great. We currently have an online form and menu option on the website. It is difficult to get volunteers. I am also interested in reading this thread how other associations are managing volunteers (good thread).
Showing names - would not support full names. However, if you receive feedback on showing ... might want to consider something similar to what Air Canada uses for standby lists. You only see something like first initial and few characters of last name.
Cancelling - would support cancelling by the volunteer provided there was a time limit we could set. Primarily,  so we as an Association have time to react to a person not being there. ie. up to 'x' days prior to event the volunteer can cancel, otherwise they contact the Administrator.
Good point! It would be great to have flexibility to accomodate the sign up of both parents individually and non-parent volunteers. In particular students that are looking to earn volunteer hrs. We really promote the later and have had some success in attracting their interest in supporting some of our community building events and fundraising initiatives.
I like this idea, MTMHA would be very interested in utilizing a volunteer registration feature. MTMHA also requires all parents to volunteer 6 hrs per season. This if done the old fashioned way as well. This would be a great feature!

Kaylen Burgess
Mooretown Minor Hockey
YSEHA would certainly want to look at using this. We have a number of events we're hosting this season, and will need lots of help. 
How are you looking at having this administered?
I think this would be a great feature. WMHA tracks volunteer hours manually every year. I think people should be able to see who else has volunteered for an event (after all not everyone gets along with everyone else). I also think an Admin of some sort should be the one allowed to make a change/deletion. That way they'll know a replacement is needed. Could there be a report or grid showing the people and the number of hours they have volunteered to date for a season so the Executive knows who to be focusing on?
Shaun Peet Replied
Employee Post
Dave - the report could in theory show a summary of hours that people have signed up for, but in order to track actual hours worked then somebody (an admin) would need to go back in and edit something to track. Definitely on our radar though.
This would be an excellent feature for the website, especially in conjunction with tournaments, and for those associations that use volunteer timekeepers. We currently use an free app that does some of what you describe, but it would be so much easier to use if integrated in the MBS platform.
Sandra Pitt
Guelph Girls Hockey Association
That would be a great feature. A lot of parents use right now instead. Incorporating it in website would make it accessible for everyone.
This sounds like a great feature. Some thoughts:

Volunteer administrator access level should be created so someone can be assigned as the overall volunteer administrator without it necessarily being the website administrator.

It would be great to be able to create events in the module and then assign event administrators who would then be able to manage and view the volunteers for their own particular event (clinics, pictures, etc.), create jobs for their event, etc.

I'm a little divided on the question about volunteers removing themselves from a volunteer position. I think perhaps making it an option at the event level so each person can manage their own event volunteers as needed (having an email notification for the event administrator would be necessary). AND/OR including an option that a person cannot remove themselves from the list if the event is within 7 days - they would have to directly contact the event administrator in that case.

Looking forward to the release of this feature!

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