Last week was a busy one for Timeraiser+ with a sold-out workshop in Edmonton and (a very nearly sold-out) event in Ottawa. In addition to the obvious interest from nonprofit organizations, these workshops were exciting for us because we’ve been fine-tuning new curriculum that provides a deeper dive into volunteer management and impact reporting.
As mentioned in an earlier post, we wanted to shake things up a bit on the workshop front, not only because Timeraiser+ is entering its second year, but also because we really do embrace the idea of working (and living) in perpetual beta. Although the original workshop curriculum did an awesome job of talking about the art of the possible, we wanted to focus the discussion on how Canadian nonprofits can use cloud (a.k.a web-based) tools to improve and streamline particular aspects of their work. We chose to work on volunteer management and impact reporting because we believe that cloud tools can be easily leveraged to work smarter, not harder in these areas.
In exploring volunteer management in the digital age, we prompted participants to think about how the volunteer landscape has changed in recent years. What are volunteers’ expectations in the age of connectivity? What are the barriers that volunteers face when trying to connect to an organization? We encouraged participants to critically assess how their organization recruits, trains, deploys, tracks, recognizes, and retains volunteers using stakeholder mapping.
We covered impact reporting in the second half of the workshop. Impact reporting is the art of sharing the value of an organization’s work, and this information typically ends up siloed in the annual report (usually a lengthy PDF document). In the workshop, we discussed moving away from annual reports to storytelling through real-time reporting. Showing value in real time helps organizations tell stories about how many individuals are being served by their programming, how they’re effectively managing their budgets, and more; ultimately building a stronger case for why funders should offer their support. To make these ideas applicable for workshop participants, we used Google spreadsheets to create budgets that update in real time, and can be shared on an org’s website.
Thank you to our excellent program sponsors, and to our terrific workshop participants in Edmonton and Ottawa for asking so many great questions. As we continue to tweak the workshop curriculum over the coming months, we’ll detail on the process as we go -- putting real-time reporting into action.