Web App Boosts Volunteers For Crisis At Christmas

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A more efficient application process improves volunteer rates for homeless charity Crisis at Christmas

Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, has received over 30 percent more applications from volunteers for its annual Crisis at Christmas event than last year, thanks to a web-based, volunteer portal.

Since its launch last month, the online volunteer portal has seen record numbers of people applying to help deliver Christmas to homeless people this December.

Effective Process

Prior to the app’s development by Totally Communications, help offers had to be processed manually, a considerable task when the organisation has an average volunteer rate of 8,000.

The improved level of efficiency has resulted in Crisis being one month ahead of schedule in constructing its volunteer base, with over 7,300 applications processed. The web app automates previously time-consuming administration and paperwork, while existing volunteers can apply for roles, view shifts, request changes and even communicate with other volunteers.

“We had nearly as many applications on the first day as we have previously got in two weeks we have already processed and accepted around 90 percent of the applications, which is unheard of,” said Ashley Bladon, project manager and IT & systems co-ordinator for Crisis at Christmas.

“Typically this time every year the staff at the Crisis head office are extremely busy processing applications manually, but because everything is automated this year, we have been able to plough many more resources into the event itself,” he added. “Thanks to the ease of using the new system, as well as the great new community area, anecdotal evidence suggests all queries are down by around 60 percent.”

Last Christmas, German thin client specialist IGEL donated 240 thin clients to Crisis at Christmas so that volunteers could communicate and identify shelter for homeless people, while earlier this year Vodafone teamed up with online donations service JustTextGiving to launch a free texted donation programme.

Another initiative by the IT industry to help charitable organisations is Byte Night which saw volunteers, including eWEEK Europe editor Peter Judge, raising money for the homeless by sleeping rough for one night in October.

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