Volunteer Resources with Alberta Health Services (AHS) is a provincial health organization supporting the residents of Alberta, Canada. AHS has over 14,500 dedicated volunteers helping to meet the mission, values and strategies of AHS.
To us, volunteers are more than numbers. Volunteers support so many areas of AHS's work ' in our facilities, at our planning tables and in our communities. Volunteers are in our acute care hospitals, in our rehabilitation hospitals, in our home care programs, in cancer care, in mental health and addictions, in pediatric care, in continuing care and in public health programs.
And to make all of this work, we needed a volunteer management software that was flexible enough to allow us to work with the site, program, or service's specific needs as well as the ability to compile data across an enterprise platform. We have fully embraced technology with the use of the online application features, the ability for volunteers to manage their own schedules and to record their own hours. And for those volunteers not so comfortable with technology, we were able to meet them on their terms.
The support from Better Impact has been phenomenal.. We have a question, it is usually answered within the day. We ask for an system improvement or change to reflect our needs, it is acknowledged and given serious consideration, not just ignored. Our IT department looks at the annual bill for licencing and says 'That's it??'. The ability to access our volunteer records from a variety of platforms, means that Volunteer Resources doesn't have to be in the office to manage their business needs.
Two years into our relationship with Better Impact, a review was held to evaluate the outcome of our decision to use this product. From all teams, came a resounding endorsement. It was one of our best business decisions Volunteer Resources at Alberta Health Services ever made!
Enterprise level function - ability to capture data across a variety of accounts
Online application process and ability to modify based on the accounts needs
Ability to have online scheduling (versus having to use a spreadsheet)
Ability of volunteers to manage their own schedule and to record their own hours
Ability of volunteers to print their own reports on their hours.
Our privacy team would like to see an audit tracking feature in this program, but recognize that this would have a significant impact on our costs.
Thank you for taking the time to write a review Michele. It's a pleasure to work with Alberta Health.
I appreciate your comment on the upgrades. We've been thinking about ways we could do more outreach with each release and you'll see these in action in the new year.
Since implementing Better Impact in mid-2014, we have experienced countless benefits from this software. It is an excellent content management system that also has an easy-to-use 'customer interface' for the volunteer that lets them take a lot of ownership of their volunteer experience. The administrative side is not overly complicated and our 10+ volunteer coordinators have learned it with relative ease.
One of the primary reasons our experience has been a positive one is that in early 2015 our organization announced it would be going through a merger with 2 other nonprofit hospices'each with their own volunteer program. After deciding to keep the Better Impact system that I had implemented, the process was relatively smooth to migrate all of those volunteer records, build new custom fields and create new activities to encompass these two other hospices' volunteer efforts. All of this was possible because Better Impact is a malleable system that can move and change with your organization!
Continual software updates have brought some needed changes to pass, but there is still a lot of room for growth. As various organizations submit recommendations for changes it does seem that Better Impact is listening! They care about the customer and how their software can enhance volunteer management for volunteer programs of all shapes and sizes.
I like how flexible this software is for both the administrators as well as the volunteers. The 'volunteer status' levels (e.g., Applicant, In Process) allow organizations to define what those levels mean and then develop a 'pipeline' that works for them. MyVolunteerPage.com was a real game-changer for us that allowed our volunteers to truly own their volunteer career with JourneyCare; they use this website to get news updates, manage their schedule, download important documents, update their contact information/availability, and communicate with the Volunteer Services team. And unlimited 'custom fields' allow us to constantly massage the software to suit our needs as volunteer coordinators with varying responsibilities. As long as we're all using Better Impact for *everything* we do, we're able to stay on the same page across 10 counties and in at least 4 different offices.
I would like to see some of the features be more automated. For instance, when volunteers tell us they're going on vacation we'd love a mechanism that lets us manually move them to Inactive - Short-term with an 'expiration date' that automatically moves them back to Accepted on a specified date. This would ensure they don't receive our 'open request' emails when they're gone and they'd automatically be brought back into the loop once they return. Another automation that would GREATLY help is that we have 5 Hospice CareCenter locations'each with its own volunteer schedule. Rather than having 3 coordinators pull the schedule report for the IPC they manage, it'd be nice if Better Impact allowed them to receive an automatic email of this schedule on a daily/weekly/TBD basis.
The one thing, though, that would have the biggest impact on our day-to-day is the Feedback Export report. The format is, honestly, garbage and it takes a good amount of manual massaging of an Excel spreadsheet every week to get this report into a usable format. We need the Feedback Fields to be listed as columns'not rows'so that one line item is one entry. I think that this report and a few others could use some updating to really assist customers with completing their work efficiently.
I was having an issue with an activity and could not determine why certain volunteers were unable to view the listing. I was able to quickly reach out via the new chat feature and speak to someone who got things sorted out for me within 15 minutes! Although our volunteer program is over 400 strong, I am the only person in the agency who has knowledge of the system. It was great to quickly get a second pair of eyes on the issue to help me figure out the problem.
Administrative functions allow me to easily review volunteer accounts and assign them to tasks or determine why they may or may not be able to view certain activities within their portal.
I wish that there were a forum function that would allow my volunteers to create reports about their visits within the system. For the time being we are using Yahoo! groups (I know, no one uses this anymore, not even Yahoo!) and it would be nice to have an all in one product.
Hi Tamara, - I have great news. There actually IS a way for volunteers to provide feedback in the system about their visits. Give a us a call and we'll give you a quick introduction. :)
Like a good wristwatch... VolunteerImpact can become indispensable AND
it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'
This application is the back-bone of our program. We couldn't live without it.
Volunteer Impact does an excellent job of organizing our volunteers and volunteer activities for us. Everything becomes clear and easy to understand, which keeps us on task and productive. The system also enough flexibility for adapting to the particulars of our programs and how our programs change over time.
We are growing with the system. And it is growing with us.
Best of all, Volunteer Impact meets 95% of our needs. I find that we are constantly dreaming up more functions that we wish the system could provide to us.
Why is that? I think it's because VolunteerImpact keeps satisfying basic and fundamental functions. Then they go ahead and add more functionality. It gets better over time, because we're getting better over time.
What doesn't Volunteer Impact do?
First, it doesn't do the work for you. You have to maintain your data. That's your job and you still have to do the work. But if you are smart about it, Volunteer Impact will multiply for impact.
Also, you have to use clear and consistent procedures about using the system. We share our records with multiple administrators. And we are sure that each user understands how to change the data.
Second, it can't do everything. e.g. VolunteerImpact is great at collecting "outputs" from each volunteer activity. But you can't quite tabulate those "outputs" into comparable tables. Want very detailed analysis of your program? VolunteerImpact will help you collect the data, but you still have to parse it out.
Third, you and your volunteers need to sign in. If you don't use it, it won't work. Same for your volunteers. If you want them to use it, you have to show them how. AND they have to sign-in each and every time.
Like a good wristwatch... you'll start turning to VolunteerImpact every hour.
The best part of this software is the ability to customize almost everything within it. From firms to styles to colours, it can all be set to match your image. From the volunteer side, a volunteer owns their account and is able to keep one account, even if they volunteer for multiple agencies that use it. The customer service is extraordinarily fantastic and during our largest Canadian interface fire, their staff stepped up quickly to modify settings on our behalf when all internet and data services ceased to function in the city.
Figuring out how to navigate the admin portal and customize and design it to your needs is not intuitive. I relied heavily on their service support staff to accomplish this.
I was consulting with a nonprofit that was just getting into volunteer management. Their expectations are to grow a lot over the next few years, but don't have the need to pay for that growth until they want it. I worked with their salespeople and support people to determine the best way to implement. They actually gave me support to make sure that my trial went as well as it could rather than letting me find out I didn't know much and then would contact them as most vendors do.
As a consultant I have worked with many different volunteer management systems. Many are embedded in CRM systems and that is ok for a small number of volunteers. They have developed what I consider the best on the market. Many of their customers use Raisers Edge for development and Better Impact for volunteers.
I also got a free 30 trial and was treated like a new customer. The customer service is outstanding. Of course the application is in the cloud and has easy to use access for volunteers. Also, their pricing is excellent.
I really can't think of anything. At first I was a little turned off by the lack of forms, but once I got into the software I realized that the flexibility at the sub-form level makes it so you can tailor online applications about as fine as you need them.
As an admin, Better Impact is quite good. Pretty easy to set up and start using. It is fairly flexible and customizable, but it has some limitations in this area. One thing I really like is that they are always making it better with periodic updates. Suggestions that I have made to the development team actually seem to have been heard and some of the suggested improvements have been made!
Ease of set-up (non-database staff can basically do it), flexibility, great customer support.
The software is still young so some of the functionality that I sometimes would like is not yet there.
Thank you for your comments Michael.
My organization spent three years working with a group to develop our volunteer management software, only to have the end product not work out for us. We went back to the drawing board and decided to use Better Impact.
This software is great! We have a volunteer group of about 1500 volunteers and due to the unusual nature of our work, we had a number of "special requests" when it came to volunteer management software. The folks at Better Impact have helped us sort through all these requests and have gone out of their way to accommodate us.
Additionally, the software is so easy to use. Everything is intuitive in the way it is set up, and both our admins and our volunteers are finding the sign up process to be easy. The design is also very clean and appealing looking on both the admin and volunteer end.
Customer support at Better Impact is top notch. Every question/request we have made, has been promptly dealt with, usually within hours at the most, and they have great customer service skills when relating to us. The other fantastic thing, is they are constantly improving their software. They release frequent updates, and are always taking feedback about things they can add in to improve their program.
I honestly have nothing negative to say about this software, and I recommend that you take the time to schedule a live demo with them, which can be done from their website.
I am the Volunteer Director of a nonprofit that literally runs on the work of volunteers. Because volunteers are so crucial to the work we do, it is imperative to have an operating system that's easy to use for both our staff and volunteers and Better Impact provides just that. I can't tell you how satisfied I am using this program. Because of this software I am now able to accurately track hours spent volunteering, the values of those hours, as well as retention rates, which will be vital in applying for grants, speaking with donors and recruiting additional volunteers.
Not only is this operating system easy to use, but the support that they provide is also top notch. I receive quick responses to emails with easy to understand information and being able to call a help line is invaluable! I honestly cannot say enough great things about this software. If you are looking for a way to keep clear records of volunteers and the work they do, there is nothing better than Better Impact!
Thank you for taking the time to share this Lisa. The whole team is happy that through people like you, we are helping make a difference.
As an administrator, easy to use. Easy to find what I want or make a report or change setups. I like the flexibility it has given us to track the type of volunteers or reach out to volunteers interested in particular tasks. The only problem we have encountered has been our volunteers signing up. They don't read all the instructions and thus often have problems with passwords.
Easy to setup and configure based on our needs. We have set up and allowed volunteers to pick their interest and their availability, and a number of other things. This has made it easy to match volunteers with particular tasks.
End-users have to read the directions and often have trouble signing up.
Volunteer Impact is pretty comprehensive when it comes to what it can do for you in terms of creating application forms, gathering data, filtering data, producing reports. For me personally, it took a little time to get to know it and interpret the terms and functions, because it's quite technical in some of the terms used and for me, the more intuitive software is, the better. But that's just me. That shouldn't take away from the high level of support this software offers to a volunteer program. My team and I had little in the way of issues (once we learned how to use it!) with the software. I believe since we used it it has developed even further.
Thanks for the review Caroline. :) You are correct about the updates since the time you were using Volunteer Impact and one of them was an overhaul to the interface to make it more intuitive.
I'm a new user and am just getting volunteers training on this program. Already I am finding ways V2 will decrease my administrative time. I'm hoping once all the volunteers are introduced to it and using it, I'll have time to focus on larger issues - like keeping touch personally with volunteers and looking at the big picture, rather than taking rsvp's, changing schedules, etc. I used to have information in Access, Excel, and multiple other places for personal information, scheduling, etc. Now it's all in one place. Customer service has been prompt and helpful. It is great to be able to suggest an idea and vote so that the V2 staff can see what is the most pressing issue for the majority of folks. The upload of my information was smooth and painless. I'm very excited to be using this system and can't wait to see the time I'll save!
I really like the ability to brand the public side of the software through the use of colors, fonts and banner. It helps create a seamless look from business website to software. Communication with volunteers is easy and emails land in inboxes.
Texting. Doesn't accept just cell phone numbers, they must be configured with the volunteer's cell service provider.
Having Volunteer Impact has greatly reduced the time I once spent on manually scheduling and communicating with volunteers. I love the web-based system that allows me to access it anywhere and places the scheduling and hours lookup in the hands of the volunteers. We also get a lot of use out of the time clock feature, particularly during our summer camp program when volunteers are here for 6-7 hours at a time.
The staff at Volunteer Impact has been exceptional. They have worked with us on aspects of the program that were not accessible to our blind employees and volunteers using a screen reader, quickly offering and implementing solutions.
I do wish there were more customizable report options, but generally I find a way to get the information I need.
I coordinate a volunteer program and our organization uses Volunteer Impact to manage our volunteer profiles and data. I use the program extensively daily at work and it very user-friendly and intuitive.
The few times I've had minor issues in using the program, I've contacted the Better Impact team and they've always resolved the problems quickly, and provided excellent customer service to me. So refreshing and appreciated, in this age of apathy/discourtesy, and helpful!
We have been using Volunteer Impact for 3 years and love it! We use it to coordinate volunteer assignments for over 200 volunteers who volunteer for: one time assignments and recurring assignments. It makes communication in both directions very efficient, and tracking hours volunteered a breeze! Good value too!
A really good, intuitive system to use. It does more or less everything and more that I need it to do. Cannot fault the customer service at all.
The only problem I currently have is trying to pull a list of volunteers by activities list - but the team are on it.
You can view your own schedule and search opportunities for volunteer work. You can also directly contact coordinators from the website. You can customize your search engine for volunteer opportunities.
The look of the website could be improved.
Feel free to send me an email and I'd be happy to take a look at your account to provide you with tips on possible changes to the look.