A Question: Volunteer Software

I’ve Got a Question

“Do you have a good contact/volunteer software program you could recommend?”

From Beth in Wisconsin
September 2010


Short answer: no, I don’t have a program I can recommend. Sorry.

Longer answer: Our church was using a particular software program for its member database software when I came on staff. Rather than run dual systems (requiring duplicate entries) or suggest we buy a whole new system (others are highly invested in the current one), I decided to work with what I had. We were able to add a component which made parts the system internet-accessible. It’s a decent system, but I wouldn’t highly recommend it and that’s why I’m not including its name.

The Energize, Inc. website lists resources on this subject. I highly recommend the Energize site – lots of good stuff there! Their site covers volunteerism in all kinds of settings, not just churches, but software is software. In addition, most all church member database systems now have components for volunteers and their gifts.

The main thing I’ve learned over the years about software for volunteers (or for anything else, for that matter): Nothing’s perfect. You won’t like everything about any of them.

The best way to select software is to first clarify exactly what you want it to do. Then find people in a church your size who are using software to do the same things you want to do, and see what they like and dislike about what they’re using. To find these people, talk to your friends, their friends, and references from software companies. Start calling churches and see what they use. A side benefit is that through this process you also find people who are passionate about volunteers and whom you can keep in touch with!

A Reader Response

10-8-10 from Diana in Illinois: “Beth, I work for a Christian Ministry with several hundred volunteers. The current software is able to do almost everything I need it to do regarding volunteers, with the exception of tracking volunteer hours. We are contacting the tech department of our current software provider, explaining our need and asking how we can use the current program we have to track the volunteer hours, so we won’t need to go out and buy a competitor’s software. You might want to try that.”

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