A lot of non-profits that I’ve been volunteering for and/or helping with their websites have been running into problems organizing both their Boards and also their Activities. Historically, non-profits struggle with leadership because they ask for too much from any one person. People don’t want to give their lives away, but they are also willing to help if it’s specific and limited. We all lead active lives and need to know exactly what we are being asked to do. A solution I have found to help is Signup Genius ( www.signupgenius.com ). It isn’t a magic bullet, but it does help!
Today, I was writing the President of one of these organizations that are struggling – trying to help her. Here’s what I wrote, and I thought it might be valuable to post about it.
Use Signup Genius
I’ve been using SignupGenius.com for the FALA Volunteer Corps. I started it last year, and it has AMAZED me on how well it works. What it does is give you an easy way for people to signup to do specific duties, bring items to an event, etc… Here’s how it works…
- Signup for an Account – The base account is free, but has advertising on it. The paid account is like $250 per year, but is worth it if you begin using it and it actually works for you. The paid account has multiple user/admin access, so that would allow You, Bonnie, Trish, … to have their own access to organize events.
- Add Your Emailer List – The emailer list can be “exported” out of MailChimp (or any address book) and “imported” into Signup Genius. So, everyone on your current list will get the signups.
- Create a Signup – You can create a signup for almost anything. We’ve done them to ask people to “Bring Food for a Teacher Appreciation” and to “Signup to Volunteer for a SPECIFIC THING at an Event” and to “Signup for a Job (like Secretary)”. The key is to ask for SMALL THINGS.
- Job Signup: If you say, we want you to be President or Secretary with no job description about how much time it will take, then NO ONE WILL SIGNUP. But, if you are clear that it will be 2 hours per month (1 hour for a meeting and 1 hour of work/duties), then people WILL SIGNUP. The key is to make the signup clear and concise about the expectations.
- Event Help Signup: If you ask people to just “volunteer at the event”, then no one will signup. But, if you say – Event Setup, please help for 30 minutes prior to the event (and that’s all you are signing up to do), then people will do it. Or, Event Cleanup, please help for 30 minutes after putting tables away, cleaning up trash, … then people will signup.
- A FALA Active Example – We are having a BBQ next week. I didn’t set this one up (another Volunteer did it), but you can see that it is working. People are signup up. Go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080b4bafad2ea2f94-fala3 to view it.
- Send it Out and Wait for Signups – You then send it out to everyone on your email list via Signup Genius (it’s automatic), and wait for people to signup. I’ve been amazed about how well it works. We typically fill “almost all” of the requests because we are asking for little things.
- The Organizer – Whomever is organizing that event has to also keep track of the Signups. They will get emailed when people signup. They can send out reminders (both to everyone on the master list and also to the people that have signup up saying, “Don’t forget you signup to…”). They can send out a Thank You after too through the system. The “person who sends it” has to also keep on top of the results…! The strength of this one is that ONE PERSON can organize a whole event easily simply by putting out the Signup, and it gets a wider body of people involved.
If you run a non-profit or any group that has activities, you should look into Signup Genius as an option to better organize the things you do!