8 Free Volunteer Management Tools for Nonprofits

Courtney Moran
Courtney Moran  |  February 1, 2018

A few years ago, I accidentally volunteered to take over the daunting job of managing a volunteer staff. 

I had no experience managing volunteers and didn’t even know that volunteer management software existed. Honestly, I thought I was offering to manage the staff for a week or two while the current volunteer manager took a vacation.

But just like the fate of most of the emails I sent during my tenure as volunteer coordinator, I skimmed that email and missed a major piece of information. I was, in fact, volunteering to indefinitely take over coordinating roughly 25 volunteers for a weekly farmers’ market.

I learned, over the course of a few emails, as how to best manage the volunteer staff. I received the volunteer list and learned that the previous manager sometimes created an Excel file to streamline the process. I’m reluctant to admit exactly how long I maintained my volunteer staff with a spreadsheet and email. (There were so many emails … )

As you well know, the job of recruiting, training and maintaining a happy volunteer staff can be complicated, arduous and, at times, thankless. Volunteer management tools will help you manage every essential task with ease. There are a variety of solutions available today and many of them are reasonably priced, if not free.

Free volunteer management tools

Below is a list of eight volunteer management tools with free or freemium solutions for nonprofits.

  1. Doodle
  2. Ivolunteer.com
  3. Samaritan
  4. SignUp.com
  5. VolunteerLocal
  6. WhenToHelp
  7. YourVolunteers
  8. Church Director

1. Doodle

Doodle Volunteer Management

Doodle provides a simple way to decide on dates, places and more. It’s used by any group in need of finding a date that works for the majority, which is especially pertinent in the volunteer sphere.

Free features:

  • 1 administrator
  • Easy scheduling
  • Sync calendar
  • Private and Business plans free for 30 days

Paid options:

  • Private is for professional for $39/year
  • Business is for teams $69/year

What users like:

“We have lots of meetings to plan in our business with people who are volunteers. Doodle gives us the ability to poll when all parties are available and schedule a meeting everyone can get to.” — Victoria S.

What users dislike:

“I love that it is simple and minimalist so you can just get people together without fuss, however, as simple as it is, I’ve not found success with particularly non-techy crowds using it. Techy crowds used to using apps should have no problems though.” — Lark I.

Recommendations to others:

“Use Doodle when you need input from multiple people and don’t want to waste precious time and energy going back and forth trying to figure out a date/time that works for everyone. It is by far the best meeting scheduling tool I have ever used.” — Leola R.


2. IVolunteer.com

ivolunteer.com Volunteer Management

Ivolunteer.com helps you sign up and manage people for any type of event with customizable, reusable sign up sheets. The free subscription is good for small organizations and events just starting out with Ivolunteer.com

Free features:

  • 1 administrator
  • Up to 15 volunteers
  • Free subscription must be renewed every 30 days

Paid options:

  • Standard subscription covers 50 volunteers for $20 per 30 days
  • Premium subscription covers 500 volunteers for $175 for 6 months

What users like:

“I love how easy ivolunteer is to use as an admin and for the people who sign up to volunteer with our organization. We serve an older clientele, and they have told me how easy it is to use, which is very important for me and my organization. I enjoy all the features ivolunteer offers and was able to learn the system by just experimenting with it!” — Tess M.

What users dislike:

“The aesthetics of the website seem mid-90s, and does not have a current generational feel. I would enjoy seeing an option to change the layout or customize the look and “feel” of my dashboard.” — Elizabeth M.

Recommendations to others:

“It is a great system!” — Tess M.


Samaritan Volunteer Management

3. Samaritan

Samaritan helps clients manage and grow their volunteer programs with products to match their changing needs. Organizations qualifying for the free version must have an annual organization-wide budget < $400K and also be a current member of Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). Check with Samaritan to apply.

 

Free features:

  • 1 administrator
  • Unlimited volunteers
  • Volunteer dashboard
  • Basic custom registration
  • Online training available

Paid options:

  • Simple starts at $2,500/year
  • Standard starts at $4,500/year
  • Pro starts at $15,000/year

What users like:

“Allowing volunteers in different locations/departments to utilize the same system has been a great asset for us. We are now able to offer more volunteer opportunities to our overall organization because of the scheduling feature and the overall user friendliness that it offers.” — a user in non-profit organization management

What users dislike:

“The backend of the system can be a bit complex because eCoordinator can do so many things. Training new employees requires a bit of time but once there is some familiarity with the system the employee picks new things up quickly. The backend of the system isn’t the most intuitive but accomplished every task set before it.” — John M.

Recommendations to others:

“We use internal trainers and support. Many times those folks are not available and just provide a multi-page guidance document. This is very frustrating when you are trying to accomplish something that seems easy. I really think the system could be more intuitive and perhaps simplified for users who don’t need the complex data that is obtained.” — a user in utilities


SignUp.com Volunteer Management

4. SignUp.com

SignUp.com helps you organize people and manage time with signups and more. Basic is a free plan from SignUp.com, great for small groups and simple activities.

Free features:

  • 1 group page
  • 1 custom question field on signup sheet
  • 1 primary organizer
  • Unlimited emails, participants and signups
  • Calendar Sync and embed
  • Custom notifications options
  • Email customer support

Paid options:

  • Starter for $9.99/month
  • Plus for $24.99/month
  • Max for $49.99/month
  • Campus for $99/month

What users like:

“I have used it for both a volunteer organization as well as for my association planning job. It allows you to easily create a schedule and allow volunteers to sign up for shifts and then communicate with them through the site. I used it initially for my volunteer group and then began using it for my planning job as well.” — an administrator in non-profit organization management

What users dislike:

“I wish I had more ability to customize auto-replies and reminders when people sign up, but we do not have it in the budget to pay for the service, so such is life. Not an issue with the service, an issue with our organization.” — an administrator in research

Recommendations to others:

“It’s a great way to organize volunteers and make sure we have shifts covered.” — a user in non-profit organization management


VolunteerLocal Volunteer Management

5. VolunteerLocal

VolunteerLocal helps you organize, manage, schedule and communicate with volunteers.

Free features:

  • 1 admin user
  • Unlimited volunteers, jobs and shifts
  • Custom registration fields
  • Mass email capabilities and event data archiving are unavailable

Paid options:

  • Discover plan is $200/event or $600/year
  • Grow plan is $800/event or $2,400/year
  • Conquer plan is $3,000/event or $10,000/year

What users like:

“Not only is VolunteerLocal incredibly easy to use, their staff are rock stars and incredibly helpful at troubleshooting and answering questions. They have made event volunteer management a breeze. The feature to copy job descriptions has helped save a ton of time, we use it for an event that we hold every year and not much changes other than dates and times.” — Jana D.

What users dislike:

“At times it would be nice to have activities listed, but the volunteers could tell us when they are available rather than within our set times.” — an administrator in health, wellness and fitness

Recommendations to others:

“VolunteerLocal is definitely a step above a lot of the free signup websites out there. Their product streamlines volunteer management, especially for large events. Additionally, their staff are outstanding, helpful, and just all-around amazing. I highly recommend VolunteerLocal to anyone who uses volunteers for special events.” — Jana D.


WhenToHelp Volunteer Management

6. WhenToHelp

WhenToHelp provides organizers and volunteers alike flexible schedule creation and publishing. Organizations that are considered a charity, have a US 501(C)3 designation, or schedule unpaid volunteers qualify for the extended free use.

Free features:

  • 250 volunteer max
  • 100 shifts per week max
  • Email schedule reminders
  • Unlimited access for schedulers and volunteers
  • Mobile capabilities, tech support

Paid options:

  • Cost ranges from $15–$108/month depending on the number of volunteers

What users like:

“Workers can tell us when they can and cannot work and we can make schedules that work well for our entire workforce. I don’t know why we did not start using WhenToHelp sooner; it has made my job exponentially easier. My employees can claim, drop and switch shifts with a push of a button and I can go in and approve those changes with ease.” — Christopher C.

What users dislike:

“As user friendly as it is, the online application can be confusing to first timers and freezes at times. I occasionally have to check the website for shift changes. Other than that, my employees love it and even with it’s flaws, we wouldn’t use anything else.” — Christopher C.

Recommendations to others:

“I would highly suggest this for companies and organizations of any size who need multiple workers in place at any given moment.” — Christopher C.


YourVolunteers Volunteer Management

7. YourVolunteers

YourVolunteers is a free cloud-based volunteer management solution.

Free features:

  • Unlimited volunteer “focuses”
  • 1,000 volunteers per “focus”
  • Volunteer tracking and email reminders
  • Computer, tablet and mobile friendly
  • No email schedules from system
  • Has advertising

Paid options:

  • Premium is $20/month
  • Custom plan varies

What users like:

“There is nothing I dislike about the program. It helps me with anything that I need. [YourVolunteers] is helping to get our business recognized for the good we do.” — Chris D.

Recommendations to others:

“They should try it out to see if it works … for them as well.” — Chris D.


8. Church Director

Church Director helps multi-site and satellite churches, worship teams, ushering and greeting teams, small groups and missionaries coordinate, track and manage team members and assignments.

Free features:

  • Limited number of teams and team members
  • Individuals schedules
  • Recurring schedules
  • Team calendar
  • Printer friendly reporting
  • RSS feed team alerts

Paid options:

  • Plans range from $5.95/month to $49.95/month, providing coverage for three users to an unlimited number of teams

Try one of these tools for free today

These free volunteer management tools, and other tools to aid in volunteer management, are just a few of the many options available for managing volunteers, schedules and events. For additional help in choosing the right solution, check out the volunteer management software category where you can compare products, learn about the benefits and compare all the available features.

Courtney Moran
Author

Courtney Moran

Courtney Moran is a Senior Research Specialist at G2 concentrating on HR with a focus on employee engagement and diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI). She is interested in helping HR professionals understand the solutions available for creating a diverse, inclusive, and engaged workplace culture. Her varied work experiences — including pastry chef, farm hand, and research assistant — have been her biggest asset in understanding the value and struggles associated with myriad careers.