Cookies on Knowhow

We use cookies in order for parts of NCVO Knowhow to work properly, and also to collect information about how you use the site. We use this information to improve the site and tailor our services to you. For more, see our page on privacy and data protection.


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

How to choose a volunteer management system

If you have had the responsibility of managing volunteers you will know how time consuming it can be.  There are various computer systems out there which can make your life much easier by automating common tasks and allowing you to communicate with your volunteers more efficiently.

Things you'll need

  • A computer with internet access

Define system specification

Write down a list of what you would like the system to do, marking each criteria as either mandatory or optional.

The list below give you some tips on things you may want to consider:

Sign up

  • Volunteers sign up themselves via a website
  • Would you like volunteers to sign up direct via your own website
  • Administrator signs volunteers up
  • Allows sign up from volunteers who don't have an email address

Data collection

  • What sign up questions do you need to ask at registration
  • What information may have to be collected post registration (CV & Qualifications etc.)
  • Do you need to record DBS or Induction information


  • Does your administrator add all opportunities themselves
  • Can other internal departments create opportunities
  • Can external organisations create opportunities via internet
  • Can volunteers be matched to suitable opportunities to help the search process


  • Will you need to promote events with multiple volunteer opportunities
  • Will you require web pages to promote your event
  • Will you need tools to communicate and manage large numbers of volunteers
  • Will you need tools to search for volunteers based upon their availability

Recording and reporting

  • Do you need to record how many hours volunteers have done
  • Would you like volunteers to record their hours themselves
  • Would you like to record different stages of a volunteer's application process
  • What KPIs do you need to report on
  • Do you want to record volunteer feedback
  • Do you want to assess your volunteer programme from a geographical or regional perspective


  • Do you need to email groups of volunteers directly from the system
  • Do you want to be able to SMS text volunteers from the system
  • Do you want to send automated emails or SMS texts to volunteers (when they register, join an opportunity, the day before their opportunity takes place etc.)
  • Do you want to communicate news to your volunteer workforce 

Social media

  • Do you want volunteers to be able to share their experience via social media sites (Facebook & Twitter etc.)
  • Do you want your system to show information from your social media sites


  • Do you want to incentivise volunteers with gifts or discounts
  • Do you want to incentivise them in exchange for the number of hours they have volunteered


  • Will volunteers need to wear badges on some opportunities
  • Will those badges require photos

Training and courses

  • Do you want to advertise training courses to your volunteers

Evaluate systems on the market

There are many systems on the market so it’s worth investigating a few to see which one best suits your needs. InitLiveVolunteer Impact, Volunteer ConnectTeam Kinetic, VolisticsDo-it, Samaritan, Volunteer Hub, and are just a few.

Useful functionality to consider:

  • Ease of Use
  • Log Hours 
  • Customised Fields
  • Volunteer matching
  • DBS (CRB) Management
  • Data Download
  • KPI Reports       
  • Geographical Reports
  • Ability To Export or Print Volunteer Reports (summaries of volunteer performance to easily share with stakeholders and donors)
  • Volunteer Feedback     
  • Volunteer Self Check-In 
  • SMS & Email
  • Auto SMS           
  • Cloud Based      
  • Social Media Integration              
  • Gamification     
  • Smartphone Integration
  • Homescreen Customisation
  • Donor or client management functionality or integration / CRM integration
  • GDPR compliance 

Book a demo

Choose 2 or 3 systems and explain to them your system requirements and get a demonstration.  In my experience sales people will promise that their system does everything you require even if at closer detail it obviously cant,  the only way to know for sure is to get a demonstration using real examples and scenarios that you may come up against.

It is also a good idea to speak to some existing customers to hear their opinions of the system. All providers should be happy to recommend and put you in touch with 2 or 3 of their customers for you to speak with about using the database themselves.


Signing the contract

Make sure that you get the company to agree and sign to fulfill your system specification, and don't pay until the system is installed and working.

Further information

Try this demo from Team Kinetic:, sign up for a Volunteer Impact trial from Better Impact, or request an online demo of Volunteer Connect.



Page last edited Nov 20, 2018 History

Help us to improve this page – give us feedback.

1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars 3/5 from 1557 ratings