How HART Built a Volunteer Management System Using Mobilize

March 29, 2017

HART (Helping Area Response Teams) found Mobilize on a mission to build a prosperous volunteer management system. The nonprofit organization, which dispatches volunteers to assist first responders on emergency response calls, needed to build a strong sense of community in order to succeed.

Since using Mobilize, HART has mobilized a flourishing volunteer-based organization. Mobilize has helped them easily connect with each other, host regular meetups, and better prepare for emergency response calls.

ABOUT HART

HART is an all-volunteer organization operating in Washtenaw County, Michigan. They aim to provide extra support in stressful situations. Volunteers work together to improve the morale of local emergency responders and decrease the risk of injury when possible.

“Our volunteers are on call 24/7, 365 days a year. The HART service is needed most during extreme weather conditions,” explains Brent Courson, a HART volunteer and Mobilize group leader.

A sense of community, Brent says, is imperative to the nonprofit's success.

“The goal of our community to ensure that we are providing the best service possible to our local first responders. To accomplish this, we must efficiently communicate with our volunteers and keep them engaged. This includes providing plenty of scheduled volunteer opportunities,” Brent says.

THE CHALLENGE

In 2014, when HART first launched, the nonprofit found itself facing common small business challenges, such as maximizing time and communicating efficiently. HART relied on email to coordinate volunteer events but found it too difficult to manage.

“HART is operating smoothly now, but during the startup phase, our volunteers were responsible for numerous tasks. Anything that required more time meant that something else was getting delayed. The overwhelming number of emails also led to miscommunication because responses were often delayed,” he explains. “It was time-consuming to compare the responses, and answer the questions of each member.”

When email proved to be too challenging, Brent tried Slack, but had problems teaching fellow volunteers how to use it.

“[Slack] was too confusing for our volunteers."

THEN HART FOUND MOBILIZE

When HART found Mobilize, it didn’t take long to be convinced to make the switch.

“I was sold on Mobilize before talking to anyone at the company because the features addressed all of the challenges I was facing. Mobilize was simple, it didn’t require members to join or learn anything new. It provides the tools to streamline group communication,” he explains.

Once HART started using the Mobilize platform, the community of volunteers became more engaged. In addition to smoother scheduling and communication, Brent says Mobilize encouraged inactive members to participate more in the community.

“Not only was time saved, but we had a significantly higher response rate. Volunteers who may not type out an email were willing to click to reply,” he says.

Mobilize has also helped HART make new volunteers feel welcome.

“Mobilize has helped by making it easier to communicate with new members. As new members are added, everyone has access to a current contact list. This was a challenge before Mobilize,” he says.

RESULTS & IMPACT

HART has flourished since Brent started using Mobilize, supporting emergency responders in what can be a very demanding and emotionally taxing job.

In 2016, the organization—which currently stands at 41 volunteers—responded to 24 incidents where they distributed 60 cases of water, 48 cases of sports drinks, 40 gallons of coffee and 26 gallons of hot chocolate.

Volunteers range in age, from teenagers to a gentleman in his eighties. These are details Brent didn't know about until he started using Mobilize. In addition to member insights, he finds comfort knowing there’s a designated place for the volunteers’ contact information in the Mobilize member directory.

“Mobilize will make it easier to ensure communication continuity. As a volunteer, my goal is always to ensure that others are prepared to replace me. Because the contact list is in one place, any future community manager can easily contact all the volunteers. The Mobilize system is user-friendly and intuitive and I know the Mobilize team is ready to help our group leaders if they need assistance,” he says.

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