Who uses it? What do users say about it? Where is it used? Who are we?
News flash, March 2016: To date, the VolunteerSignup.org website has facilitated recruitment of over 1,000,000 wonderful volunteers! The service is now used by over 30,000 groups and organizations.
Who uses it?
Below is a "word frequency cloud" showing who uses VolunteerSignup.org The bigger the word, the bigger the number. So, the big users of VolunteerSignup.org are societies, PTAs, schools, teams and foundations. Service organizations, churches, sports clubs, theatre groups, Scout troops, and fairs are also prominent.
To ground things, here are some examples of groups and organizations that have created 10 or more signup sheets over a one-year period (good work!). Note the intriguing size range (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra vs. Mrs. Wildman's Grade Three Class).
- Animal Crackers Nursery School
- Southwest Hockey Program
- Rosa Parks Elementary School
- Twin Brooks Community League Soccer
- Free Cakes For Kids - Nottingham
- Albany Fair
- LSW Band Volunteers
- St. Peter's Parish
- Alberta Snowboarding Association
- Lewiston Civic Theatre
- Des Moines Art Center
- Williamstown Primary School Seaside Fair
- Greenbrier Lacrosse
- MBCC Outreach
- Essex Alliance Church
- Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
- Leduc Figure Skating Club
- Mrs. Wildman's Grade Three Class
- 1st Epping Scout Group
- Inland Valley Hope Partners
The above represents typical use. What about atypical use?
VolunteerSignup.org saw a surge of use after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Because government alone could not deliver all disaster relief services (eg., food to the elderly), the people of New York and elsewhere mobilized, using VolunteerSignup.org to help recruit and organize volunteers.
Hurricane Sandy Spike 2012
On November 11, 2012, approximately two weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck the New York area, we received this email from a Hurricane Sandy relief organizer.
"I love your site and we have used it to dispatch over a thousand volunteers for Hurricane Sandy relief. You've literally helped us to save lives."
Another atypical but effective use of VolunteerSignup.org has been for support networks. For example, VolunteerSignup.org has been used to recruit, organize and schedule volunteers (often family, friends and neighbors) in support of people injured in a car accident or with a serious medical condition.
What do users say about it?
Here are some unsolicited emails we have received from users of VolunteerSignup.org
"You guys are the best!!! I used VolunteerSignup to coordinate a huge Fair at my son's school in May. We had over 20 games/stations that needed volunteers. I had over 200 volunteers to coordinate. I work full time and this website was HUGELY beneficial. I had looked at SignUpGenius and a couple of other websites but found yours to be the most intuitive, straightforward, and user-friendly. I have received so many compliments about the signs ups. I couldn't have done it without your awesome services." bdu….@hotmail.com
"Thanks very much for such a simple, elegant tool. I looked at several sign-up services, and yours does one thing only, but very well. Everything else I looked at was feature-bloated and most were ad-driven. Bravo!" web....@...ville.com
"I love your site. I was introduced to it thru our local high school as a potential volunteer. I have introduced it to my elementary school PTA and now use it myself as an Event Coordinator for one of our schools events. Thanks so much developing this." sbm...@hotmail.com
"This website is FANTASTIC!!! Thanks for making it available to non-profits for free! We are a baseball-softball organization and are using it for our snack bar sign ups. It's making it a breeze this year!" tod...@gmail.com
"Love Love Love VolunteerSignup! We use a very cumbersome program for our sign ups and our volunteers hate it. We are trying this with our upcoming popcorn sale because it is so simple to set up and user friendly! Thank you!" mro...@...samail.org
"I have used Volunteer Spot and SignUpGenius and just have to say that your software is SO MUCH BETTER! Easy to use and does not require people to sign their life away to volunteer. Just wanted to say that I'm very impressed and will always use this program for any sign ups that I'm coordinating. Thanks!" jlw...@att.net
"Thank you for providing this website. It has saved my wife a lot of time getting volunteers for school book fairs. We have been using it for about three years and haven't had any problems with it." jrl...@gmail.com
"Thank you so much for creating VolunteerSignup. Wow, this has made my job as coordinator of volunteers for my kids school rowing club so much easier. I'm not so computer savvy so I was blown away by what can be achieved by a push of a button. You guys are awesome and thank you so much for this free service. Many blessings to you all from Australia." sus...@...net.au
"REVOLUTIONARY! This fantastic website is so easy to use: simple to set up; simple for people to sign up. Great functionality and terrific added extras (e.g.: list of email addresses of sign-uppers to contact). So thrilled to have been directed to this site - we are using it for a school function. Thank YOU!" win...@...net.au
"Thank you! This will be the 3rd year we use volunteersignup.org for our annual festival and it is SO helpful! Seriously appreciated!" dan...@...ens.net
"Thank you so much for developing this tool AND making it free! I've used this a number of times over the past 4 years for 2 non-profits, and can't begin to tell you how much easier it made the events. THANK YOU THANK YOU!" asw...@...rian.org
Where is it used?
Although it began as a simple garage project for a local ski club in Canmore, Canada, in 2010, others have found VolunteerSignup.org on the web, or learned about it from other users, planting seeds elsewhere which have flourished. It has grown and spread remarkably well considering that it is not advertised.
VolunteerSignup.org is mostly used in the US, Canada and Australia, although it is also used in the UK and even a little bit in China. Since the site is in English it is mainly used in English-speaking countries.
Approximately 70% of VolunteerSignup.org's use is in the US, 20% in Canada and 7% in Australia. However, on a per capita basis, use is highest in Canada, particularly Alberta, the Canadian province where VolunteerSignup.org began.
Below are the cities that use VolunteerSignup.org the most. Calgary and Edmonton have "home town" advantage; New York, Chicago and LA are the three largest US cities, so a large number of users in those cities makes sense. But Melbourne, Australia? We have no idea how VolunteerSignup.org became so popular there (but are delighted).
Overall, we'd say that VolunteerSignup.org is mainly used where the tradition of volunteerism and citizen engagement is strong, and where people are open to new ways of doing things.
Who are we?
VolunteerSignup.org was created by TRAFx Research Ltd. (TRAFx) as a free service for non-commercial, volunteer-support activities that provide social benefit. Why would we do this? Quite simply, we believe volunteers do important work and that volunteerism should be encouraged in society. Also, our staff, outside their jobs here at TRAFx, are volunteers and volunteer coordinators themselves, and understand that volunteering should be made as easy and convenient as possible. One way to do that is by using web-based software such as VolunteerSignup.org to facilitate and manage online signups.
TRAFx is a small technology company located in beautiful Canmore, Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies, near Banff National Park. (It is gorgeous here. If you have not been, you really should come.) We design, manufacture and sell a sophisticated line of trail and road traffic counters, and the software used to process the data these devices collect. Most of our customers are government agencies that manage public lands (e.g., national parks, provincial parks, state parks, forest service, etc.) TRAFx has been in business since 2001.
We had the software engineering talent within our company to create VolunteerSignup.org so we decided to do it. It took us a few years to create and refine, working on it when we could (after all, we still had to run our regular business). We are proud of what we have created and are delighted by its growing popularity.
We do not intend to commercialize VolunteerSignup.org. There are no ads. Our big investment was the considerable time it took to write, test and refine the code that runs the website. Renting server space on the cloud, and keeping the website up and running, costs little, so we do not need to charge fees or seek donations---even a small company like ours can find the money to pay for this. In the future, we hope to offer a version of the website in other languages---Spanish, French, German, Chinese, etc. If you can help in this regard, please let us know.
Please spread the word about VolunteerSignup.org!
A very short history of VolunteerSignup.org
VolunteerSignup.org began as a garage project for the Canmore Nordic Ski Club back in 2010. Since then, it has grown steadily. Below are some milestones.
Sep 2010 - A very, very simple online signup sheet developed for Canmore Nordic Ski Club's fall ski swap (online signup was a success)
Oct 2010 to July 2011 - other Canmore and Banff-based organizations use the bare bones service (word quickly spreads)
Aug 2011 - www.volunteersignup.org website created to make the service available internationally (goes live in Aug 2011).
Sep 2013 - 200,000 volunteer opportunities filled
May 2014 - Comprehensive rebuild of the underlying technology to make the service even better (thank you Dan!)
Jun 2014 - 400,000 volunteer opportunities filled
Feb 2015 - 600,000 volunteer opportunities filled
Apr 2015 - Whew! A top to bottom rebuild to make VolunteerSignup thoroughly mobile-friendly and better in other ways (Thank you Dan, Tobi, Stefan, Judy, Jacob!)
Sep 2015 - 800,000 volunteer opportunties filled
Mar 2016 - 1,000,000 volunteer opportunities filled. Wow! The service is now used by over 30,000 groups and organizations.