Interview with Josh Cassidy, Community Response Coordinator
Ottawa Cares is an initiative founded by the Manor Park Community Council in partnership with community associations: Cardinal Glen, Lindenlea, New Edinburgh, Manor Park, Overbrook, Rockcliffe Park, and Vanier. Ottawa Cares organizes community and city ward-wide responses to COVID-19.
Ottawa Cares recruits and facilitates volunteers to deliver food from food banks to residents. In October of 2020, Ottawa Cares launched ‘Dinner is Served’. A prepared meal program distributing prepared meals to families through local schools and community groups.
Josh Cassidy explained, ”Before we had Bloomerang Volunteer, I had a system of spreadsheets and forms that was confusing, time-consuming, and prone to mistakes. Volunteers would submit their weekly availability through the Ottawa Cares website. I would take that information, and I would use it to put together a schedule, it took me forever. It was difficult to manage, not just scheduling but making changes to that schedule as well.”
“Before InitLive and MapTag, I would send volunteers a spreadsheet table with their delivery information. With so many deliveries, I was not able to organize this information into an efficient route for volunteers. Before each shift, it would be up to the volunteers to look at their delivery addresses and determine the most efficient route.” Josh explained
Ottawa Cares chose Bloomerang Volunteer to streamline its volunteer recruitment and management process and MapTag to deploy scheduled volunteer drivers to optimize delivery routes for greater efficiency. Ottawa Cares supports each food bank that utilizes Link2Feed’s Client Management System to identify and report each client’s need and address. This information is taken anonymized and entered into MapTag, a route optimization system. The entire solution provides scheduled volunteers optimized delivery routes and an optimized number of food hampers based on their vehicle capacity. This end-to-end solution enables Ottawa Cares to maximize how many clients can be served in a single volunteer shift, allowing them to scale up operations to meet growing demands.
“Bloomerang Volunteer’s flexibility in creating volunteer shifts and curating schedules is incredible. Volunteers really appreciated the ability to self-sign up and the flexibility to fit their volunteering around their busy life, work, and family schedules.” – Josh Cassidy
Volunteer Self-Sign Up
“Bloomerang Volunteer provides the ability to have volunteers self-sign up for shifts on their own. We simply create the opportunities, create the volunteer shifts and send them out for self-signup. Volunteer shifts are almost always full within a few hours of sending them out,” explained Josh
Operational Time Savings
Josh explains, “Volunteers really appreciated the route optimization MapTag provides. We’ve been able to save staff hours because of the integrations that then have allowed us to increase the number of food banks that we’re serving.”
“There has been an incredible demand from volunteers as the exposure risk for COVID-19 is low. Volunteers can register for shifts from their own homes and the pickup and drop off of food hampers is contactless. Many volunteers have come to us specifically because they are looking for COVID safe volunteer opportunities.” Josh explained.
“We’ve grown to appreciate Bloomerang Volunteer’s ability to host separate venues within an opportunity. This allows Ottawa Cares to share volunteers between the different food bank locations! Because of this feature, it is incredibly rare for us to have no registrations for a volunteer shift!” explained Josh
“I know that volunteers really appreciated when we started using routing software. They can complete their deliveries in the order they are listed and be confident it will be the most efficient delivery route possible,” Josh explained.
“We firmly believe that staying organized contributes to volunteers returning for more shifts. From signup to delivery, we want this to be a simple process for volunteers. Bloomerang Volunteer’s simple and flexible software has been paramount in keeping us organized ” explained Josh.