OnVolunteers Student Service System is now available to all high schools at $0, no really, it's free!
Jul 07, 2020 12:00 AM

The OnVolunteers team is proud to announce that it is making the Student Service System available to all high schools free of any fees. You read correctly, there is no cost to high schools to use our Student Service System - no annual subscription, no maintenance fees, and no training costs.

Right about now you're asking 'What's the catch?'  We unequivocally state there is no catch - schools can use our system without any fees. Another thought that might pop up in your mind is 'Oh, it's probably some watered-down light version of the system that I have to pay for'.  Nope. What we are offering is our comprehensive full product, it's not a 'Free-mium' thing. You can read about our extensive feature set on the Student Service System webpage.

We have decided to change the business model of the Student Service system, that is, the way the system generates revenue. So again, just to be clear, your school would (will) not have to pay anything in the event you sign up to use our system. One way we generate generate revenue is from displaying student-appropriate ads in the system. Students will see ads for things like Nike, Adidas, Herschel (backpacks), Beats (headphones), Ambercrombie and Fitch and other products that teens typically buy. The ads will have discounts attached to them, so students will be able to save money on the things they would otherwise buy. We will regularly make available to schools the products/brand ads that will be showing in the Students' portals. Of course, you'll be able to see the ads yourself so you know what students are seeing. There's one other way we generate revenue from making the Student Service system free to schools. We will be happy to show you how that works if you'd like to learn more. When school admin people learn how the system works and how we're able to provide the system free of any fees, the normal reaction is "oh, that's totally reasonable" or "wow, that makes perfect sense", and they're absolutely good with it.

We understand you might be suspicious, as the saying goes "there's no such thing as a free lunch". We encourage you to contact us and learn about our system, we're 100% confident you'll agree the value our system creates for high schools far exceeds what any other software vendor is able to offer, bar none. The only thing you'll risk is 30minutes of your time to speak with us and see our system. We believe you'll be absolutely glad you did.

Thanks for reading.

The OnVolunteers Team

Unique volunteer program needs of Indepedent, Catholic and Charter schools require unique software capabilities
Apr 15, 2020 12:00 AM

Specialized volunteer management systems which focus on serving the needs of Indepedent, Catholic and Charter schools provide capabilities available in general volunteer management systems, but more so. Because these schools have very unique needs, specialized software vendors develop particular features not available in any other type of system, whether online signup tools or hours tracking tools, or general volunteer management systems.


Indepedent, Catholic and Charter schools place very high importance on school community building, and the parent volunteer program is an integral part of that. Because of this, they have very unique requirements. Below are the top 10 most common requirements among Indepedent, Catholic and Charter schools. These needs extend beyond what any general volunteer management systems are able to provide and most certainly far, far exceed what online sign up tools or hours tracking apps are able to do.


Unique needs…

  1. Central location
    The school needs to have all volunteer-related events, activities, volunteer jobs, family hours management, and communication.
  2. Mandatory hours requirements
    These schools require parents/families to contribute a certain # of volunteer hours every year, this ranges from 10 to 50 hours per year. Many schools even require greater hours if a family has more than 1 child in the school. Schools don’t want to have to spend time looking up parents’ hours every time a parent wants to know how many hours they have.
  3. $ values associated with Hours
    Indepedent, Catholic and Charter schools attach a $ value to each hour, for example,As each family is required to commit to doing x # of hours.
  4. Activity and Schedule preferences captured every year
    Many schools assign parents to their volunteer areas, for example, with a very large event, and the volunteer program leaders would like to be able to ask parents for their preferences with regard to the type of volunteer jobs they would like to have and what their schedule availability is like.
  5. Required verification of volunteer jobs and hours
    As the school has mandatory hours and there are $ values associated with each volunteer hours, it is vital that there is a verification process to ensure parents are credited (and not) with the accurate # of hours.
  6. Sign up mgmt; Priority signups, sign up specific to parents of certain grades or groups
    Volunteer leaders have many unique requirements, for example, allowing certain parents of specific grades to sign up for events first, then another set of parents in another grade and so on. Do the same with groups in the school.
  7. Family hours management
    In most cases, there are many parents who may be credited with a certain # of hours for things like volunteer work already completed, or single-parent families who have a lower required # of hours.
  8. Requirements for parent sign ups
    Many times certain sign ups should only be shown to parents who meet specific requirements, for example, having completed a criminal background check, or having completed a food safety course (to prepare food at the school).
  9. Ability for parents to be able to submit additional hours
    There are many cases when parents do additional work that are beyond those of a signup. In these cases, parents need to be able to submit hours that are either additional to what they’ve done or hours not part of any existing signup .
  10. Repeatable process year after year
    Volunteer programs of course continue every year. Volunteer teams don’t want to have to create new signups every year. This applies to the entire volunteer program, so it’s really far, far more than simply managing signups, it’s about volunteer program management.


Does your school’s volunteer program have some, most or all of the above requirements? If ‘yes’, you’ll want to consider looking for volunteer management software vendors that specifically focus on Indepedent, Catholic and Charter schools. We’re happy to say that OnVolunteers is one of those vendors.


So if your school has some of the above requirements, we invite, no, we urge you to compare our system against any other system available. Sign up for a short, no obligation web demo to see our system firsthand. We’re extremely confident you’ll immediately see why our system serves the needs of Indepedent, Catholic and Charter schools better than any other system available. Oh, there’s one more thing… you’ll pay less than systems that don’t stand up against our system.


So if you have some, most, or all the needs above, we urge you to contact us, we can help.


Happy volunteering!

The OnVolunteers Team


Another option – Volunteer management software for schools to track parent volunteers.
Feb 06, 2020 12:00 AM

In this blog post we will provide product information on Volunteer management software for purposes of tracking parent volunteers in schools.


Volunteer management systems are the next step up from Time/Hour tracking software and generally offer a much broader range of features and functionality. The reason for this is volunteer management systems serve more industry segments, for example, non-profits, hospitals, universities and, of course, schools. And since these organizations tend to be big organizations, with hundreds if not thousands of volunteers, their volunteer needs are wide-ranging.


In order for volunteer management system vendors to be able to serve such varying industry segments – and their needs – the software offerings need to have more feature set offerings. That said, whilst such feature sets are broad they are not “deep”, meaning they come with many features, but the extent to which the features serve user needs is rather limited.


However, it is the extent of an organization’s volunteer program which causes these organizations to look to volunteer management systems.


Catholic, Independent, and Charter schools, with their strong focus on building school community, most often have very extensive parent participation programs. A Catholic elementary school with 300 families for example, may have as many has 70+ school events and activities, with 600 to 800+ available volunteer positions or shifts, every year. Plus these schools have significant volunteer requirements, for example, tracking families with Criminal Record Checks or Food Handling Certificates. Online signup forms and Time/Hour tracking systems simply do not come close to serving such volunteer management needs.


Features of Volunteer Management Systems


Generally provide all the features that Time/Hour tracking software provide, plus the following.

  1. Centralized system wherein everything from signup forms, volunteer profiles, event signup, scheduling and management, and advanced reporting are all in one place.
  2. Scheduling of events and school activities needing volunteers.
  3. Ability for volunteers to add and manage User profiles, all contained in a volunteer database.
  4. Volunteer signup and hours tracking.
  5. Ability to serve up and manage unique volunteer signup pages for special groups of people or special events.
  6. Ability to manage volunteer profiles.
  7. Multiple user levels and permissions.
  8. Ability to send emails to volunteers, both automated and manual.
  9. Kiosks for volunteers to check in and check out.
  10. Integration with CRM or school information systems.


As you can see, volunteer management systems offer a wide range of capabilities.


With volunteer management systems, getting started usually involves “implementation”, meaning entering data and configuration of the system. In most cases, training is also part of the process, again, because there are so many capabilities to learn.


In our next blog post, we will look at another option for school parent volunteer management – highly specialized systems uniquely designed for schools. Come back again in the next couple of days to learn about these systems.


Happy volunteering!

Next option – Volunteer Time / Hour tracking software to track school parent volunteers
Dec 05, 2019 12:00 AM

Continuing on our blog post series on available software alternatives available to track school volunteers, in this post we’ll be focusing on Volunteer Time or Hour tracking software.


Volunteer Time/Hour tracking software is, as the name implies, tracks hours of the volunteers. This typically involves a 2-part process:

  1. Volunteers signing up for volunteer opportunities.
  2. Volunteers then logging and entering the volunteer jobs they completed.


Administrators or organizers can then verify the jobs volunteers have submitted, and the verified hours can be reported on in built-in reports.


Features of Volunteer Time/Hour Tracking software:

  1. Volunteers are able to submit or log their hours.
  2. Volunteers can view available volunteer opportunities and signup; different events and activities with volunteer opportunities are shown in different webpages.
  3. Site Administrators or coordinators are able to verify hours.
  4. Administrators are able to assign a volunteer hours ‘goal’, to which volunteers and their service hours can be tracked against.
  5. Built-in reports provide information on volunteers and their hours.
  6. Administrators have the ability to send emails to volunteers.


The ability of having volunteers submit their service hours inherent in Time/Hour tracking software is, by its very nature, both an advantage and a disadvantage.


In one sense, the ability for volunteers to submit their hours is an advantage because often times volunteers will do more work than the originally scheduled Start and End times of the volunteer job. So, the volunteer has the flexibility to submit the correct amount of time to the volunteer program leader.


The flip side of the ability for volunteers to submit their hours is, the actual fact that volunteers have to submit their hours in order to receive the hours. With online forms, when a parent signs up for volunteer jobs are automatically tracked and are given with the volunteer. In Time/Hour tracking software, the crediting of hours is based on volunteers having to submit their hours and the organizer having to verify the hours. And the volunteer jobs and hours that a volunteer signed up for are not necessarily associated with the job that the volunteer has to submit. For any submitted hours, the Administrator or organizer has to first look at the volunteer job in question to see if in fact the volunteer was signed up for that job. Then the Administrator can the verify the volunteer’s hours.


However, the biggest inherent shortcoming of Time/Hour tracking software is the fact that volunteers are simply not very cooperative in submitting or logging in their hours. And when they do, it is often late in the year. This creates a huge burden on administrators and coordinators, who need to go back weeks, if not months, to find the volunteer positions in question and verify jobs and hours. For example, in an elementary school, most parents submit their hours late in the school year. Administrators and coordinators need to deal with dozens, if not hundreds of volunteer jobs, going as far back as September of the previous year.


So, Volunteer Time/Hour tracking software, whilst provides features not found in online signup form services, have both pros and cons with the inherent way these systems typically work.


In our next post, we will turn to general volunteer management systems. These provide the next level of features above what Time/Hour tracking systems provide. So come back and learn about volunteer management systems.


Happy volunteering!

Software to track school volunteers – Available Options Series
Oct 15, 2019 12:00 AM

In most of our conversations with schools considering software for their school volunteer program, we’ve realized that school administrators and parent volunteer program leaders need help understanding the many different options available to them and how those options differ from one another. So, in a 4-blog post series, we’ve decided to share our knowledge about the wide range of available options on software to track school parent volunteers.


Generally speaking, software for tracking school parent volunteers comes in 4 categories:

  1.  Online signup forms
  2.  Hour Tracking web apps
  3.  General volunteer management systems
  4.  Specialized volunteer management software uniquely designed for schools


In this post, we’ll focus on Online signup forms.


As we briefly wrote in a past blog post, online volunteer signup forms are, well, just that. Online signup forms come in different varieties, from free single webpage signups to multiple online signup form services.

Features of Online Signup forms


Free Signup forms

  1. You’ll typically get 1 signup form
  2. 1 ‘organizer’ account, which is usually for the person who is managing the school activity or event need volunteers.
  3. the ability to create a ‘schedule’ – either the day(s), Start and End times of the volunteer opportunities, and how many volunteers you need.
  4. send emails to the participants, i.e. parent volunteers.
  5. pick a theme for your signup page.
  6. no passwords needed – this is a good and bad thing – good in that you can send the link to anyone, and bad because the link is often posted by the schools on their website, meaning anyone on the Internet can see the information.


Paid Signup forms

  1. these will of course include the features contained in a free version, plus the following, in one form or another.
  2. multiple signup form webpages, each one being a different link.
  3. multiple organizers, again, the # available will depend on some type of plan that you can select; the greater the # of organizers, the more you pay per month.
  4. custom fields that you can add to each signup form.
  5. various ways to create signup schedules.
  6. more advanced emailing capabilities.
  7. basic volunteer hours tracking; this usually comes in the way of services hours from one signup page being dumped into an Excel spreadsheet.
  8. the cost of Paid signup form services range from $9/month to as much as $49/month.


Getting started is very easy with online signup forms, you just need to create an account.


If your school needs help with recruiting parent volunteers for a school event, then online signup forms are great tools. You just need to pick which plan you need based on how many events and how many organizers you have.


In our next post, we’ll be looking at Hours Tracking web apps. We’ll provide features information on those web apps and how they differ from online signup forms. So be sure to come back in a couple of days.


Happy Volunteering!

Learn why OnVolunteers is the leading volunteer management software platform for schools. Contact us today.