InitLive was used to manage 60 volunteers at a 5 day conference in the Ottawa Shaw Centre. Over 100 initially signed up but many did not remain to participate, a common problem.
In the past volunteer recruiting and management was performed with spreadsheets, email and telephone, an onerous process for more than 20 people. InitLive automated this process considerably making the size of the volunteer team almost irrelevant. It also shifted responsibility for shift and role selection entirely to the volunteers, previously it was with the event manager. This took a big load off.
Communication was also simplified with the integrated communication features, and I could instantly tell who was where with a simple touch on my tablet.
Compared to other volunteer management software I've seen, InitLive has the best interface by far.
The end to end management of people and the program within the Web interface.
You can see at a glance, in the web interface, where there are openings in the program staffing.
Signup to roles and shifts is easy, though some of the older volunteers found it challenging.
Visually it looks good, especially for the administrator. So I like the interface.
In the device app it is nice that it informs the administrator instantly of staffing problems in the current shift.
The various reports were useful, especially after the event when compiling the conference reports.
The volunteer app seemed almost trivial to operate. The young people, especially, took to it very well.
Volunteer communications pop up as notifications, so the admin can address them immediately.
It works well as a central communications hub for all volunteer communication before, during and after.
When constructing the schedule, the lack of cut and paste or duplication of program elements across multiple days made that process very laborious.
The volunteers see the shift selection schedule as one long list. It would be good to delineate it, perhaps with tabs, into days.
There are some fundamental controls missing such as enforcing minimum and maximum shift selection, and cutting off when changes may be made by the volunteers.
In the mobile app, there wasn't a clear way to tell at a glance if there are upcoming staffing problems - not attendance, but staff bookings. This is possible in the web app.
For the administrator the mobile app filter features make it very powerful, but it also makes for a shallow learning curve. I.e., some features are not obvious to find.
The mobile app is optimized for smartphones but not tablets. It will work on tablets, my preferred device, but emulating a phone.
It notifies you when people cancel from the event, but not when they join. This should be selectable.
Many volunteers select multiple roles up front which can quickly saturate the overall maximum role signup setting. Beware of this. It can block additional signup for a role despite shifts still being available.
Email broadcasts from the web app don't have customizable subject wording. That risks them being ignored or channeled to spam.
Hi Wolfram. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. Copying shifts and improving the staff scheduling interface are 2 of our priorities this Fall. We'll definitely be in touch as these features are developed. Cheers!
All in all the app is great for organizing volunteers, especially in large numbers but for a smaller group of volunteers we found our current method of organizing volunteers on an excel spreadsheet worked just as well. We were hoping that we'd get more communication functionality from the app but think there is still room for improvement in that respect.
The back end website is user friendly. It is easy to upload an excel template of your volunteers or add people individually. If you are looking for a way to organize volunteers and schedule volunteers that's where the product shines most. You can build roles, assign individuals and set schedules easily. There is a good deal of customization in this area which is helpful. You are able to assign multiple event managers so they also have the "power" to make changes on the website and within the app once your event goes live as well.
Shifts are built by location rather than by role which wasn't logical for us because we pre-assign roles and the location isn't relevant. It would have been nice if there was more automatic assignment rather than manual when it came to putting volunteers into specific shifts once you had already assigned them a role. As a planner it was hard for me to not be able to test the app before the event went live. You see nothing in the app until it is live but at that point all your volunteers see what you are seeing and any changes being made get broadcast out. Day of we found communication via the app was limited. Only event managers can send messages to everyone or filter and send messages to specific groups. Individual volunteers can only send messages to their shift supervisor or the event managers. They weren't able to send even within their role assignment.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. We look forward to working with you and the team at Johns Hopkins University again. There have already been great improvements to InitLive since your commencement event in the Spring.
Some highlights: you are able to create one general Location to help you organize the event by Roles. Now we also have a system in place for volunteers to communicate with each other one-on-one through the InitLive app.
Let's reconnect and go over the changes! Your designated customer success rep will reach out via email.
We used them for two years until we decided that it wasn't going to work as well as we hoped since we have a changing shift and the time to input all the information took someone quite awhile.
I love the ability to customize schedules for groups of people and that works great if you have a steady schedule and need to assign shifts, etc. It is still a growing company so they are easy to work with and customer service is great. It does give good report option for review but the reports aren't customizable so you still have to edit them after you download content.
The downside is that as a growing company, they don't have all the kinks worked out for ease of changing/saving or rotating shifts and people. It takes a lot of prep time to set up. It was okay, but not the easiest and any emails send are not saved in the system so you can resend later to a different contact group meaning you have to keep up with them on a different platform and remember who you emailed, etc.
Thanks for taking the time to review your experience with InitLive. We definitely hear you regarding the issues you've experienced with the schedule. This is why overhauling the scheduling process is our highest priority for early in the new year. Please be sure to reach out to your Customer Success Rep if you'd like a sneak peek of what's to come in just a few short months. Thanks! :)
Wow. What an amazing, hard-working team to work with. We've been a client of InitLive's since January 2016 and they have been incredible so far. The customer service is fantastic and sets an example. The company is quite new and so the InitLive software continues to evolve, but what's great is that it's evolving in no small part down to the feedback, suggestions and operational requirements of the clients. It's terrific to be included in the process; we've already seen suggestions incorporated into software updates. The software is intuitive, looks great and simplicity is the backbone value of the software, which is key.
We've been using the software so far to collect volunteer applications and sort them, and I have no issues to report with that. I'm looking forward to moving into Live territory where we'll be using the event app with our volunteer teams. I love the 'Live chat' facility - the support is right there!
I wouldn't say "like least" as I have so much faith in this software and can see its huge potential. The only issues at the moment come naturally with the evolving nature of the software, which clear as each update takes hold.
Hi Caroline. Thank you for your lovely review. We're very excited to work with Ottawa 2017 and appreciate the care you put into planning your events. See you soon!
Used the software project at the Marshes last year during the World Girls Juniors. We used the software application to acquire, register, and track around 100 volunteers for a 3 day international golf tournament.
The application handled a lot of the volunteer registration and shift scheduling well. It gave us a good idea of where we required additional volunteers. It assisted us in tracking volunteers shifts and determine when volunteers were late or did not show.
I found that because a lot of the volunteers were seniors who did not use current computer applications regularly, many were confused with initial emails that were sent to them. Also, because of the lack of computer application knowledge of the users, many of the volunteers did not register on-line by themselves but were entered onto the system by Initlive staff or team leads. I do not believe many of the team leads utilized the mobile on-line during the event.
It was interesting to find out the many spouses had registered as volunteers but only used one email address. This became very confusing since the system was geared on the email address as and id and communication was through emails regarding shift assignments.
Hi Al. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. We were thrilled to work with the World Junior Girls Championship last year and happy that we were able to be on site to see InitLive in action. A lot has changed since then and we continue to make improvements to InitLive based on input like yours. In regards to the issues with users being required to have an individual email address, InitLive needs this information to ensure efficient and accurate communication, especially in the case of an accident or emergency. Additionally, as Event Managers, all team leads have easy access to input and update volunteer information and schedules. We hope to work with you again and show you all of the great changes to the system. :)
Working with InitLive has been a great experience, the customer service is unparalleled and the software meets our requirements extremely well. I can highly recommend InitLive to anyone looked for a reliable scheduling software capable of large-scale self-scheduling (I've used it to create a schedule for up to 3000 people) where the schedule does not require significant alterations post-import.
The self-scheduling feature has drastically lowered the amount of time we spend on tedious and repetitive scheduling tasks.
The software is not well-suited for scheduling tasks that require numerous detailed changes.
Hi Mike, we are so glad to hear that you and the Web Summit team have had such a great experience using InitLive. It's especially wonderful to hear how much time the self-scheduling tool has saved you. As for your concerns about more detailed manual scheduling, our next release is focused on improving that. I know you had expressed interest in participating in the BETA trial for this, so we'll be reaching out shortly. We're eager to continue working with you and the team for all of the upcoming Web Summit events! Cheers!
When I had a new shift opening up on site, I specifically needed to identity which staff were available. Following discussion with InitLive, I learnt that they added an icon that will display next to the name of any staff who are already scheduled in another shift. This will save you time and allow you to see exactly who is available at a glance... a feature i look forward to testing at out next annual meeting.
The broadcast feature made it easy to communicate a message with exactly the right group of volunteers, this made connecting with my team much easier on event day
The accents in Swiss names did not appear correctly, this was a sensitive issue and required time consuming manual updates on the exports. Never the less this was corrected quite rapidly!
Hi Danielle, thanks for taking the time to share your review! It was such a pleasure working with the World Economic Forum for your 2016 Annual Meeting. We're excited for 2017! :)
We have used this for about five years within my current company for our annual Gala event.
Very user friendly, intuitive and a great tool to schedule and communicate with staff, volunteers. They offer live webinars, in person training and support is always available. Signing up and registering for roles , shifts is easy. The reports are helpful and the interface is attractive and modern. Some of the volunteer management features include group, event, membership, attendance, scheduling, training. They offer a variety of event management and employee scheduling tools.
Some features are not so easy to find in the mobile app version. Doesn't notify you when someone joins an event. Unable to test before going live.
Thank you for taking time to review InitLive. We actually do have a way to test things out before going Live now, be sure to reach out to your Customer Success rep for an update on new features before your next event. :)
I looked into using InitLive for a college concert band festival that I run. A smaller event, we manage about 150 volunteers and host around 3,000 high school musicians. InitLive has a beautiful interface, is very easy to use, and offers a wonderful introductory experience. I love that there is an app that is designed with the user in mind - simplicity at the fore. The only deterring factors I experienced were in regards to being able to control certain features. The basics are set-up very well (volunteer sign-ups, scheduling, messaging, etc.), but there were minute details that I would have changed to better suit my festival's needs. As well, the price unfortunately was the end-all determining factor that obstructed our ability to use InitLive. Even after working personally with Avery to find a compromise price, we were still unable to justify the cost. Because the festival runs through a university, which also hosts seven other festivals, our goal was to find a great software that could be used for all festivals, providing a consistent volunteering experience for our students. The hope is that one day, the university will be able to afford a quality program like InitLive for all festivals and events. I highly recommend InitLive if you are looking for a beautifully designed interface with exceptional customer service.
Hi Maggie, thank you for taking the time to share your experience. We're sad that you won't be moving forward for WindFest but are eager to keep you up to date as we continue developing new features. It's been a pleasure working with you and I hope we have the opportunity to do so again. -Avery
I love the integrated app and how easily you can reach volunteers during the event. I like that the database is downloadable to excel so we can edit as we see fit. The process is simple from the users standpoint as a click and save model.
It is time consuming to schedule different hours, dates, etc with specific supervisors across different shifts. Also, the inability to see emails sent from the system or reply to emails within the system itself. It would also have been nice to signup from the app/use app prior to main event.
Hi Allison, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. Input like yours helps us ensure we're moving in the right direction! Your Customer Success Rep will keep you posted about those feature requests. :)
organization and ease of tracking of volunteers.
Easy to set up and edit shifts, staff, and roles. Overall, the software is user-friendly. There are many custom features that allow it to fit the needs of a variety of organization. We are a soccer club that needed software to manage volunteers for a tournament and corresponding set-up and tear down dates. The information that can be exported is very useful and easy to access. Our customer service representative was amazing! She provided timely help EVERY time I needed it and was always willing and able to look at my issues and solve my problems. Overall VERY pleased with InitLive!
The inability to customize automated notifications to staff. Individual staff can control their notifications, but managers cannot customize the timing and information provided in automated notifications (texts, not emails). You can send push notifications and emails when needed, however.
Thanks for your review, Heather! We're glad you enjoyed InitLive and look forward to working with you again and again!
We run a convention company that has been in business for 10 years. We tried this app at our last show and it became a great help with our volunteers. Now with the updates this has gone to the next level. Our next show is in a week and our schedule is up and people picking shifts and getting excited. There are so many great things about this app. I can't wait till they add in the function of availability. That will elevate it more. Avery and her team has gone out of her way to help us and to show us how to utilize this app. At our last show she was always there to help us at anytime which took away a lot of the stress I had about using a new app. I know this show will be even better!
The volunteers being able to pick shifts, the ability to leave reviews on the volunteers that's hidden, and the different role levels that are based roles (shift supervisor, check in administrator)
I want to be able to put in their availability and it alert me if I schedule. But it sounds like it is a future possibility as the company grows
Thanks for sharing your review, Lely. We love working with Eyecon and are excited for your convention next week. Availability is certainly something we want to add in a future release of InitLive, but we're glad to hear that the ability to let volunteers schedule themselves has worked just as well for you! As for the schedule, there is another improvement coming to this area in a week or two that will make things even more seamless for you! Best wishes for your upcoming event!
I love that INIT Live makes staffing large events easy and helps guide you through holes where more staff could be useful. I also really liked the in-app communication aspect. The interface is incredibly user-friendly and looks organized.
There is no way to test the event setup within the app before the day of the event. This means you have to make last minute changes to your setup while the app is live where all of the staff can see as they are made.
Hi Maggie - thanks for taking the time to review your experience. We've recently added some capabilities to allow you to see InitLive from a different perspective before the event kicks off. Please reach out to your Customer Success rep for an update on new features as you get ready for your next event. Thanks again! :)
Previously, I hadn't been using a volunteer management software, and I found the volunteer side of events daunting, but colleague of mine told me about InitLive earlier this year and i decided to try it. I've honestly never felt so organized and in control. I knew I could communicate with any of my volunteers at the touch of a button.
I was awesome being able to get volunteers to sign themselves up for shifts. I also loved that I didn't have to use walkie-talkies during the event - they're the most annoying things to use!
Hmm I guess I'd say the length of set-up time. When you pay for a tool, you can't help but hope it'll take something off your to-do list, but I realize that's not realistic. It was really worth it in the end though!
Hi Donna, thanks for taking the time to review InitLive. We're glad you're excited to use us for your next event!
I can't say enough about this app. It really made scheduling volunteers for our conference much easier. There are a ton of videos on how to use it, and the customer support cannot be beat. They are truly proactive in meeting you needs. They will sit down and explain the system to you and help with anything you need. The app is great, but the customer service is world class.
Easy to use, great tool for managing large groups of people with instant communication.
The addition of some simple features (like the ability to toggle between volunteer profiles and displaying shift names on schedules) would make it a lot better. I also wish there were a drag and drop feature (like, drag the person you want into a slot on a time view schedule.)
Hi Allyson, thanks for sharing you thoughts on InitLive. Those are great suggestions and we'll make sure the product team hears them as well!
I am able to manage my volunteers as they sign up, see where I need to find more volunteers to work, and I will be able to manage and communicate with them on site via mobile means instead of physically having to move people.
I like being able to break down the schedule by jobs and view all of the roles in a shift. I also like that I can set qualifications for roles.
I wish that the staff profile let them put in their job experience and strengths. It would help me place the best volunteers in each role that I am looking to fill. I also wish that people could request shift without requesting a specific role and actually scheduling themselves. It would be helpful for me, because someone could let me know what time they prefer or are available to work. It would be nice if they could pick a few shift times in order of preference.
Hi Jess - thank you so much for sharing your experience. We will be releasing a new feature we're calling "Custom Forms" in the next few months that will help you manage the information you're looking for from staff profiles. It could even help address the shift selection. We're excited to tell you more and will definitely keep you posted regarding the development of this feature. Thanks again! :)
For the past couple of years I've been using software tools to help with my staff and volunteer management but it was pretty clear that these tools were not designed with event planners in mind. I had no idea what I was missing until I heard about InitLive at a conference I attended.
No matter what staff management tool I was using, I always needed to have backup excel spreadsheets, a separate app to use for staff and volunteer check-ins, and a way to communicate with my volunteers on my event day. I didn't even know that a system existed that had scheduling, reporting, and day-of communication all in one place. I'm so happy I found this tool. It has made planning my events much easier and has saved me money on all the other software I was using before.
Other highlights include the training and support from their team. I don't know if the support team would want me advertising this, but my account manager often responded quickly even during evenings and weekends with detailed answers to any questions I had.
Great software all around. I definitely recommend it.
Emma, thank you very much for sharing this with us! We're excited to continue working with ESquared.
While InitLive is a bit more expensive than the app we used before, I'm glad to say there's a good reason. This is the most well-rounded volunteer management software I used for events. I especially loved that I was able to have so much information kept in my phone on event day.
The shift reminders and communication on event day are great. We had way fewer no-show volunteers than in previous years because they were automatically reminded when they had a shift coming up.
It is more expensive than other options... But that's not a con after seeing how much it improved operations at our festival.
We're glad to hear that you see the value in InitLive. Thanks for the kind words, Amy.
The app was truly a time and energy saver for our team. Being able to quickly communicate with the teams using our phones allowed us to keep the staff informed of changes during the event allowing them to focus on important matters at hand.
The e-mail portion is weak. We need to be able to see e-mails sent, we need to be able to resend to those who did not open and we need to be able to send follow-up messages.
Hi John, we're glad InitLive could save the team some time and energy and even more happy to hear that your event was a success! We love your suggestions for improving the email features and will be in touch with you to gather more input as we start to work on a more robust messaging center. Thanks again!
I tried InitLive after using some other software products in previous years. The back end had almost everything I wanted. Missing a little bit of customization, but it was easy to get around that. The app, however, was amazing. We've got some younger volunteers who were incredibly engaged. I found that more of them showed up and that I didn't have took searching for information. This changed the way we operated during the festival!
The app, it made it so much easier to connect with everyone. They have ext message back up for people who don't have the app.
Needed a little bit more flexibility on the back end during set-up.
Glad to hear you made use of our training resources, Nancy! Congrats on a successful festival!
All your tracking of the Event in one Place
Easily organize Volunteers and event details
Mobile App is a life-saver for day of event use
Being able to track problems is a huge benefit of the software
Makes the recruitment of volunteers a breeze
If you are a large production company pricing can get a little bit high
People Looking to view the software before committing are forced to request demos and pricing.
Hi Tyler, thanks for your review of InitLive - happy that we could help with your live concerts! :)
InitLive offered us the best communication tool for our onsite team and volunteers that we could ask for. We were more connected and better prepared to staff all of our the responsibilities during the event and we are so happy that we had the InitLive app!
We enjoyed the ability to connect with anyone who was part of our group, the ability to look at your schedule at a glance and the incredible tech support. The app is easy to understand, and I loved being able to filter the list and search for certain classes and find out who was staffing which room.
Some of the building of shifts is clunky, the system seems slow to pull up names and I had a difficult time figuring out the best way to get shift information out to people where they could also understand the overarching agenda of the meeting to figure out when they wanted to work. Maybe a visible window of the event days and overall agenda on the side of the page or something?
Hi Brandi. Thank you very much for your review. We're glad that the Keller Williams team had such a great first experience with InitLive. We have big plans to improve the scheduling interface and have already cut down on loading times significantly (we agree - it was slow). Thanks again and we'll talk to you soon!
I used to use Excel spreadsheets to manage my staff and volunteers. It consumed a lot of my time and made it very difficult to keep up with all of the changes to the schedule. I'm really glad a colleague recommend this volunteer tool to me.
Everything is all in one place. It's really nice to know that I have control of the scheduling and communications in a central location. Even better is that I don't have to carry around a binder at my events anymore. It's all on my phone.
Setting up the schedule was a bit of a time investment, but it was definitely worth it in the end.
So happy to keep you on track, Margie! Thanks for the review!
Hard to tell given that we cant really test it until its live in the field. So far I believe it is OK but team reports some features are limiting such as the import (only certain fields) and a really limiting feature that everyone needs a unique e-mail (response/solution was weak)
Increased of in-the-field communications with volunteers. Volunteers have quicker access to schedules and info pre-event and on site
Requirement of unique e-mails instead of a login name
Hi Andrew. Thanks for sharing your experience so far. We're really excited to be working with The Ottawa Hospital Foundation and input like yours helps us continue to improve. We offer custom data imports for our customers. While the current import option is only for select fields, your designated Customer Success Representative has the ability to import any information you'd like them to. We're sorry to hear that you've been limited by the requirement of individual email addresses. This certainly isn't our intention; we simply want to ensure that communications at your event are directed to the correct person as quickly as possible. Because of this, an accurate and unique email address is crucial. Thank you and best of luck for event day! You and your team have done very well getting set up so we're sure things will run smoothly for you! :)
This was our first time using an app for any kind of volunteer management. We used it to help streamline communication with our volunteers for Homecoming. I found that it was advantageous to me as an admin in that it was quick and easy to contact individuals as needed. We got great feedback from our volunteers about how it was easy and convenient to reference their job descriptions. The shift reminders also came in handy. One thing that wasn't so important for us to have was the check-in and check-out features. On the day of the event, both the volunteers and the staff were just too busy to keep track of check-ins or outs. Our main concern was being able to quickly get a hold of someone if there was a major problem. If there had been any emergencies, we would have been able to do so. I believe we will use the app for future events.
It was so great working with you, Lauren. We're glad you had a great first experience and look forward to working with you again!