Volunteer Management System

Project Type:
Washington Trails Association
Seattle, Washington

A complex web application allowing the Washington Trails Association to manage its volunteers doing trail maintenance.

We are serving our volunteer community better and having a greater impact for trails in Washington.

Loren Drummond, Digital Content Manager
Volunteer Management System

Serving hikers in Washington state, the Washington Trails Association protects hiking trails and wild lands, and organizes volunteer work parties to do trail maintenance. In 2016 WTA had 150,000 trail maintenance volunteer hours done by 4,700 volunteers on 240 trails across the state. That equals 624+ months or an astonishing $3.9 million dollars worth of labor donated to public lands.

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, working in partnership with engagement strategists and Salesforce experts Percolator Consulting, to create the replacement. We did a discovery project to define requirements and technical platform, and then implemented the system beginning in January 2015. Twelve months, 22 iterations, and 177 user stories later WTA launched a gorgeous, feature rich volunteer management system built on Salesforce.com and the Pyramid web framework.

Pyramid is an ideal open source web framework because It provides a solid, well-architected foundation, with a focus on simplicity and minimalism. It allowed us to integrate WTA’s Salesforce database and Plone-based member portal into a cost effective, high performance solution. The new system has been key to growing the number of volunteers while keeping everyone happy.

  • All data reside in a Salesforce backend, where staff can easily report on work and track and reward volunteer engagement.
  • Single sign on between Pyramid and the Plone-based member portal means users authenticate once to access both systems.
  • Elasticsearch powers a dynamic faceted search of work parties, with list and map views. It also serves as a data cache, thus improving performance and avoiding excessive back and forth between Pyramid and  Salesforce.
  • Pyramid provides a sophisticated access control mechanism which displays different views to different people - volunteers, crew leaders, assistant crew leaders, staff, and land managers.
  • ReactJS powers the front end which, thanks to EthicalUX, provides a great user experience for everyone.
  • A responsive UI means crew leaders working from their phones can take care of administrative chores.