For the Love of Volunteers!

How do you choose the right technology to manage them? A 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference session about our work creating a volunteer management system for the Washington Trails Association.

Serving hikers in Washington state, the Washington Trails Association protects hiking trails and wild lands, and organizes volunteer work parties to do trail maintenance. For 16 years WTA had relied on a volunteer management system written in Perl by a tech-savvy trail volunteer, but by 2013 they had outgrown it. They chose Jazkarta and engagement strategy and Salesforce experts Percolator Consulting to create the replacement. In 2016, the year after launch, WTA's new VMS smoothly managed 150,000 trail maintenance volunteer hours done by 4,700 volunteers on 240 trails across the state of Washington - an astonishing $3.9 million dollars worth of labor donated to public lands.  

In this 2017 Non-profit Technology Conference session, Sally, Loren Drummond (Washington Trails Association) and Karen Uffelman (Percolator Consulting) describe volunteer management systems - what makes a good one, how to evaluate your needs, and whether you should buy an off the shelf solution or build something custom. As a case study, they dive into the custom VMS that WTA built. This effort included a discovery project to define requirements, UI and technical platform, and an implementation phase that took twelve months, 22 iterations, and 177 user stories. The result is a gorgeous, feature rich volunteer management system built on Salesforce and the Pyramid web framework.

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