Interview with Lindsey Houser, Volunteer, and Food Drive Coordinator
Loaves & Fishes provides a week’s worth of nutritionally balanced groceries to individuals and families experiencing a short-term crisis through a network of 41 emergency food pantries located throughout Mecklenburg County. Loaves & Fishes uses a Client Choice model, which allows clients to select groceries their family is most likely to eat. Clients can choose a specified number of items in the areas of grains, proteins, vegetables, fruit, and dairy based on the size of the family.
Loaves & Fishes depends on the generosity of over 4,000 volunteers to provide a week’s worth of nutritious groceries to hungry neighbors in need. Volunteers are the hands that sort and pack food so that it is ready to be made into family meals. Volunteers are the smiles and kind words that put anxious clients at ease. Volunteers are the hearts that offer hope to our neighbors in need.
Maximize Your Organization’s Impact with Our Comprehensive Volunteer Management Guide
Before adopting Bloomerang Volunteer, Lindsey explains,” Our previous volunteer software had a very complex back-end, and nobody but me was willing to use it. Many of our volunteers had a hard time signing up, and I would have to do it for them. Then when people arrived, they would have to sign paper waivers. In this digital world, we need every waiver and emergency contact at our fingertips.”
“When the pandemic hit, we started a program to do contact-free food relief boxes delivery. Before Bloomerang Volunteer and Maptag, we spent hours a day preparing routes in excel with zip codes for volunteers,“ explained Lindsey.
Loaves & Fishes chose Bloomerang Volunteer to streamline its entire volunteer management process from recruitment and scheduling to attendance tracking and communications.
Loaves and Fishes also invested in Bloomerang Volunteer’s integration with MapTag to further optimize their contactless food delivery program by equipping volunteer drivers with optimized delivery routes for greater efficiency to ensure all clients receive the food they need.
DELIVERY ROUTE OPTIMIZATION
“Bloomerang Volunteer has allowed us to schedule our home delivery drivers easier, and MapTag’s route optimization has saved us hours of time. When we have route optimization that does the same exact thing for us in seconds, then we have staff members who now have five, six hours of their day back to continue engaging the community and trying to do more fundraising and more recruitment, build other programs to help feed people,” explained Lindsey.
FILL SHIFT GAPS
“When we have a ton of open shifts, I’ll just send out a mass broadcast through Bloomerang Volunteer to 1600 people just to see if we can fill some. Those one-off volunteers will get those messages to try and re-engage them,” explained Lindsey.
Lindsey explains, “When I am recruiting volunteers for a special event, I’ll use the filters on the volunteer database to segment out anyone 18 and older and volunteers who have worked more than five hours. Then I’ll send out a communication to that specific group inviting them to volunteer.”
HARNESS DATA FOR GRANTS
“When I am writing a grant application for a company, I can look through Bloomerang Volunteer and very quickly see if we have volunteers from their organization and how many hours their employees worked for us. Then we’re able to use that data in our grant writing to try to help maybe tip the scales in our favor,” explained Lindsey.
VOLUNTEER CHECK-IN KIOSK
“The check-In kiosk is really easy for us. When volunteers arrive, they know to just hit the button on the kiosk to check themselves into their shift. It’s a great system for us to keep track of attendance on the app like I have 15 people only 13 of them have checked in”, commented Lindsey.
VOLUNTEER RATING & NOTES
“To better manage our volunteers, we started adding special notes to volunteer profiles like this person is in a wheelchair or this person is always 20 minutes. Now we’re starting to use that ranking system which is great, so I can filter anyone with three stars and higher when sending out invitations to volunteer for other events,” explained Lindsey.
Innovative Software & Phenomenal Customer Service
“We have a lot of unique needs being a network of pantries, and any other solution we looked at would’ve not only cost more money, but they weren’t as flexible for our needs. The fact that Bloomerang Volunteer is still innovating was important to us when choosing a volunteer management software” Commented Lindsey.
“I would definitely recommend Bloomerang Volunteer. It’s been able to streamline so many of our different areas of volunteerism within our organization, and the customer service is phenomenal. I feel like everyone I’ve talked to at Bloomerang Volunteer just wants to see how they can save me time on a daily basis.”