Hey, my names Odane Finnegan and I’m the founder of Sumaria. The idea for this platform grew from my own experiences in the social sector. With almost a decade working for, and millions of dollars raised for organizations of all sizes there were a few problems common to them all. These problems caused them to spend more time recruiting volunteers than training them or implementing their programs, it also caused them to lose those same volunteers they had invested so heavily in on boarding. What was worst is it was a problem they were all aware of but had resigned themselves to the status quo.
Every organization of any size has to recruit and retain volunteers. To do this organizations currently use a mix of highly specific databases to manage their data or low/no cost fundamental solutions. Each of these comes with their tradeoffs. The high cost system is complex and comes with the labor-intensive data migration process as well as new organizational procedures and policies to ensure data upkeep. The alternative is often the trusty excel sheet. You don’t have to be an expert on the sector to imagine the issues that can come with having multiple excel sheets floating around the office with each team working from their own master list. These inefficiencies can lead to contacts getting lost in the shuffle or being contacted multiple times for the same campaign…. and this is all after you’ve sunk the resources into recruiting and training these volunteers.
In the mobile age I knew there had to be a better solution. I can currently pull out my phone and get literally anything delivered directly to my door but if I wanted instead to give back to my community it might take hours of online research to find an opportunity that aligns with my values, schedule, and skills. This was a disconnect that drove me crazy, right until I decided to do something about it.
Sumaria is designed to be the first social good network connecting individuals with organizations in their volunteer opportunities in the community. A single location for those looking to improve their community and the last volunteer management tool an organization will ever need. By building one platform for both audiences and one tool to address both of those issues faced by organizations we will create a vibrant community to benefit every organization involved. Rather than organizations looking to recruit on their own website or using one of the number of posting boards (which aren’t always designed for their audience) they will be able to have access to a network of engaged community members. This community, comprised of the volunteers of every member organization, will allow volunteer engagement managers to spend more time designing and implementing programming than recruiting and training the volunteers needed to do so.
A simple solution to a simple problem. Organizations are invited to upload their current list of volunteers to the network. Your volunteers, after creating their profile, are then available to be scheduled using our built-in calendar. If your regular volunteer is unavailable simply share that posting with the community at large to reach or specifically target volunteers with a similar profile or experience to fill the opening. This will give organizations access to a pool of trained and talented volunteers and also allow those same individuals access to a range of opportunities that they can filter for timing, scope or skill set. This will create a more fluid system which will increase retention overall as individuals will have more options to engage. So, the next time you lose a volunteer because of a change in schedule they won’t be lost to the system and ones lose will truly be anothers gain.
We’ve also built basic chat and document sharing functionalities to allow for organizations to have a seamless recruiting and training platform. You can share on-boarding documents directly on the platform and answer any questions they might have before entering your program. At Sumaria we aim to help improve every stage of the volunteer management process because we truly believe that the only way to change the world is to change the world around you.
Our platform will be launching January 2020 and although we know that these basic functions when deployed across the sector will help to drive enormous change we aren’t blind to the range of tools needed by organizations and will continue to build a range of services as we grow.
Sign up to join the platform today and be on the ground floor of this new movement!