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Podcast | Nonprofit Volunteer Management: From Engaged Volunteer to Passionate Advocate

Most nonprofits rely on volunteers, but managing this group can be tedious. In this episode of Fundraising Today and the Go Beyond Fundraising podcast, we talk with Albert Vasquez, Head of Sales and Operations for Rosterfy North America.

Rosterfy is an end-to-end volunteer management and reporting tool that helps organizations onboard, engage, and track their volunteers. In this conversation, Vasquez shares how organizations like the NFL and FIFA use the platform to manage the thousands of volunteers they depend on.

We also discuss the overall state of volunteerism and its impact on organizations — particularly how engaged volunteers often become passionate advocates and donors. Vasquez also offers solutions for the common challenges nonprofits face in managing their volunteers.

Want to hear more? Listen to the full episode:

Connect with Albert Vasquez

Read the Blog Post: What the NFL Can Teach Nonprofits About Volunteer Management

Learn more about Rosterfly

Get more Go Beyond Fundraising Podcasts



Leah Davenport Fadling: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Fundraising Today and the Go Beyond Fundraising podcast. Today, I am joined by Albert Vasquez. Albert, welcome to the show!


Albert Vasquez: Thanks, Leah. Thanks for having me.


Leah Davenport Fadling: Tell us a little bit about your role at Rosterfy and some of your background working in the tech space for nonprofits.


Albert Vasquez: I am the Head of Sales and Head of Overall Operations for Rosterfy North America. So, that includes the United States, it includes Canada. And part of what I do on a day-to-day basis is work with nonprofits to help them with managing their day-to-day operations for volunteer management and any of the needs around it.


Leah Davenport Fadling: So, we’re sitting down today to talk about volunteers and volunteer management. And I think it’s a really relevant topic because there have been various studies over the last couple of years that have shown some shifts happening with the state of volunteerism in the United States and around the world. We know that a lot of nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers. Having a way to keep them engaged is really important.


So, to kick things off, start with some of the common challenges that organizations tend to face when it comes to managing their volunteers.


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, so, I talk to organizations every day, multiple times per day, all day long, and the frequent things I come across are helping volunteers onboard. Getting them into the pipeline, getting them through the pipeline, and a lot of it is manual. So, for the volunteer manager, they’re having to manually track volunteer by volunteer, what stage of the process they’re in. And then it’s also on the volunteer side. They’re having to do manual things like download a form, sign it, upload it, email it, go through training. And part of what we see is it can get a little frustrating for volunteers and volunteer managers because it can take so long to get through the process.


I’m also seeing and having conversations around overall tracking and managing what volunteers are doing — when they’re coming in, if they’re coming in — and being able to validate that. Additionally, we’re seeing a lot of corporate volunteering going on, and it causes a lot of frustration with volunteer managers because they get a call from a local corporate office who wants to bring 10 people in. They commit to it, they get a dedicated time slot with some job duties, but then the organization doesn’t know who’s coming. Did they sign all the paperwork? Did they properly train? So, at the last minute, people arrive, they don’t have what they need. Or throughout that process, the volunteer leader at the corporation is calling the coordinator and manager asking, “How many people signed up? We’re supposed to have 10.” And that goes back and forth. So, on top of the responsibilities that volunteer managers have, they’re fielding calls like that.


And then it goes to reporting because they don’t know who’s showing up, how many volunteers they have. They’re having to capture data from different sources and from Excel spreadsheets. And when they’re asked, “How many volunteers did we have last year or last quarter? And how many hours? And which corporations are sending volunteers?” It can take a day if not more to run reports like that. So those are some of the challenges that I’m typically hearing and talking to organizations about daily.


Leah Davenport Fadling: I love that you walked us through the experience on both the nonprofit side and the volunteer side when it comes to volunteering because that first experience they have volunteering with an organization is the biggest indicator of whether they’re going to volunteer again. And we know when it comes to acquiring a donor, it can be incredibly expensive to acquire a first-time donor. And someone who volunteers for your organization, has a really great experience, is one of the most likely indicators that they’re also going to later become a donor to the organization. And so, making sure that experience is optimal for that volunteer — especially for that first-time volunteering appointment — is just incredibly vital.


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, and you bring up a great point there. That’s another topic that comes up: Who’s a donor? Who’s a volunteer? Are there any similarities or common things between the two, and how do we turn that into more donations? I get that question every single day.


Leah Davenport Fadling: What’s the advice you typically give in that case?


Albert Vasquez: Make sure that whatever you’re doing with volunteering is communicating with your fundraising tool or your CRM, and make sure that you have a way to capture and analyze that data. There are several tools out there that help with that type of analytics or that type of need.


Leah Davenport Fadling: You bring up a great point about systems talking to each other. We know that a person is more than a volunteer; they’re more than a donor. They have a whole host of interactions with your nonprofit, with your organization, through lots of different channels. There’s this idea out there called the “loyalty loop” or the “donor vortex,” but they’re always visualizing this very complex and multichannel, omnichannel relationship that a person can have with your organization. And volunteering is one of those channels, but other channels are how they’re interacting with your website, how they’re interacting with your social media content, how they are interacting with any direct mail that you’re sending them.


And so, ensuring that all your back-end systems are talking to each other is something that is an absolutely crucial component to have in today’s omnichannel digital and physical world.


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, you’re absolutely right there. As we (have) conversations with a lot of organizations, they realize they’re lots of tools that can measure different things that are not tied to volunteering but tied to interactions and engagement, like you said, on the websites. I was at a conference recently where I found a couple of partners that do that. And being able to partner and help organizations just by me being educated, it helps everybody else just through conversation, just through knowledge.


Leah Davenport Fadling: Absolutely. An interesting, fun fact that I learned about Rosterfy is that you are the volunteer management CRM for the Super Bowl, which just happened. It was the most-watched Super Bowl of all time. They think it had more views since the moon landing (in) 1969. I didn’t know that the Super Bowl relied on so many volunteers to make that whole incredible show run. So, can you tell me a little bit more about that and just some of the complexities of managing volunteers for a huge event like that?


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, it’s a coveted role in terms of volunteering for the Super Bowl. It starts with people greeting visitors. The host cities of the Super Bowl take a lot of pride in having the Super Bowl and it being hosted there. So, you see volunteer greeters at the airports, at the hotels, outside around the venue, helping out within the stadium. But then also, the days leading up to the Super Bowl require setting up and helping and assisting. And then post is clean-up. So, a lot of people think it’s the Super Bowl, the day of, the hours of, but it’s leading up to and it’s post. We’ll be doing the FIFA World Cup games when they’re here in the States in 2026 as well, just as elaborate.


Leah Davenport Fadling: So, when it comes to recruiting these volunteers, I’d love to know a little bit more about how Rosterfy helps with that, but also just about, for a large event like that, what that whole process looks like.


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, so recruiting for the Super Bowl is not really that difficult, right? Because people want to do it. But in a lot of cases, it’s the volume and it’s roles where it’s not people’s first choice. But the technology allows people to find the opportunities and go through the process quickly, giving them the opportunities to find these roles that they’re interested in. And it doesn’t need a lot of human interaction if you don’t want it to. So, these volunteers get through the signup process, get through onboarding, and they can quickly select.


And that’s one of the things we see in society, is we want instant gratification, or we want it now, and we want it fast. That’s what we’re able to provide for these large events. But then, being able to have that database of volunteers in the system — the Super Bowl host committees a lot of times need to communicate with those volunteers, and they do that through the platform. So, being able to get them in, keep them communicated with and engaged is really what drives this whole need for the platform within the Super Bowl.


Leah Davenport Fadling: Yeah, when you think about it in a different way, I don’t think there’s anything quite like vetting that many volunteers. In a lot of ways, it’s like going through a hiring process because you need to know a little bit about these people. You may need to do some kind of preliminary background check to make sure they’re not going to be a danger to these celebrities and different people and, just, the huge volumes of people that show up for these kinds of events. And then you have to off-board them well and make sure they have a great experience there too. Just having the ability to vet so many people in one go — I can imagine it’s a daunting task for those people that are performing that task.


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, and that’s what’s made it easy for Rosterfy to go year over year with the Super Bowl host committees, because they know it’s easy, they know it’s fast, they know it’s technology-based. And yeah, for the background checks — we can even streamline that process. If they’re interacting with the youth or with anyone else, you should probably screen them ahead of time. But the beauty of having that relationship with the Super Bowl is that the city leaves behind 2,000, 3,000 volunteers if not more that are willing to volunteer. So, a lot of times, the city picks up that group of volunteers, and they use them for other events.


So, a great example is the F-1 Grand Prix that was in Las Vegas recently. They were already on Rosterfy, so they had the volunteers needed to run that. In Houston, when the Super Bowl was there many years ago, they kept the database, and they use it for other opportunities that come through the city because they have the volunteers. They’ve been vetted, they keep them engaged through communications and the platform, which makes it easy to sustain a program like that and then give back to the community.


Leah Davenport Fadling: That’s awesome. So, getting back to the topic of fundraising a little bit, what are some of the qualities of a volunteer that Rosterfy might flag them as being a good potential donor?


Albert Vasquez: So, some of the qualities could be the number of hours, the number of events, what they do for a living, and then where they work. Those are some of the things that you can capture when you’re going through the registration process, and then using the data of employers for your volunteers, you can run reports. I might have 50 volunteers from a neighboring bank or a neighboring major organization, major corporation, and I can go back to them and talk about their corporate responsibility program that they have in place. And they’ll likely want to donate, they’ll likely want to maybe issue grants, whatever the case may be.


But you can come to them proactively showing them what their people are doing in the community and help tie that to additional fundraising opportunities. I’ve seen that executed very well with a lot of organizations that I’ve dealt with.


Leah Davenport Fadling: That’s really interesting. So, let’s get a little bit more deeply into Rosterfy. Can you give our listeners and viewers a brief overview of all the different features that Rosterfy has? We’ve already talked a little bit about how it addresses some of the challenges we’ve discussed around volunteer management and donor prospecting. But I’d love to get the full picture of the tool and what sets it apart from other volunteer management CRMs.


Albert Vasquez: Absolutely. So, Rosterfy is the only end-to-end solution out there that lets you recruit volunteers, onboard, train, engage, retain, and provide reporting. So, I’ll go through some of these key features and really what sets us apart.


When it comes to onboarding, where we are really unique is a lot of organizations have different roles that have different onboarding journeys or steps. For example, you might have a driver that needs to submit a driver’s license and proof of insurance and sign a waiver, when everybody else that’s just packing meals or working in the warehouse just needs to sign a form and get to work. A lot of platforms can’t accommodate both of those, but Rosterfy can, and that’s very much a strength of ours. Additionally, automating the entire onboarding process. So, you can automate document signatures, you can automate training assignments and completions, and you can automate the scheduling of interviews to speed up that process.


But then when it comes to the volunteer and them showing up and them going to actually perform their duties, we have a mobile app, which sets us apart. We provide the ability to do self-check-ins via the mobile app. Setting a radius around the location to prevent people from checking in at home — they check in within a certain small radius. On top of that, providing other ways for volunteers that may not be tech-savvy to volunteer. So, we provide a QR code that a lot of times gets placed on the back of a volunteer badge. They scan their badge to check in. That’s a feature a lot of organizations like because their volunteer base is not tech-savvy, maybe a little older, not quick to adapt technology, so we’re very accommodating with that.


And then moving into the reporting side, we’re so configurable as a solution. The platform looks like it was custom-built for our customers because of the branding, the colors, the fields it can change. And because of all that, we open up every field to be reported against. So, it’s easy to run reports — if there’s a field, you can run a report against it, and our customers love that feature about us in terms of reporting. Like we talked about earlier, reporting is one of the most difficult pieces of their job.


Leah Davenport Fadling: Are there any features in Rosterfy that are templated features or things for an organization that may be new to managing volunteers? Or they’ve newly launched a volunteer program, and they’re not really sure exactly which steps and which kinds of documents and what onboarding things they need to have in place. Are there templated journeys that exist in Rosterfy to help them get off the ground?


Albert Vasquez: Yes, there are. One of the things we built recently was a templated system that’s tailored to the type of organization. So, whether it’s a food bank or cause and cure or something that’s youth-based, we have template designs that have a basic journey that we typically see in the space. So, they get off to a quick start with it, and they just make adjustments and modifications and make it work for them. But yeah, that’s a great point. We realized that and are trying to help communities with those types of templates.


Additionally, one thing to add that I failed to mention earlier about our uniqueness is on an integration side. So, we have an open API that lets our system talk to CRMs, background check providers, learning management systems, Zoom info, Teams meeting links. And when we implement these solutions with our organizations, they realize okay, there’s a lot that our platform is able to do. And they usually take it in phases. But knowing that we can help them scale for the future is really why people select Rosterfy. Because they can see us working now, next year, five years from now, and 10 years after that.


Leah Davenport Fadling: So, you just returned from the Rosterfy HQ in Australia for your kick-off meeting for the year. Are there some new features or abilities that we’ll be seeing from Rosterfy in the near future?


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, so we got the mobile app that just rolled out this year. So, part of that was having that discussion. Features are rolling out with Rosterfy every three weeks, so we do three-week sprints, we take feedback from our customers and directly from the platform so they can vote on what features they want to see in the system.


But one of the things that’s coming out later on in the year is an enhancement to manage group and corporate volunteering a lot better. We’re doing an enhanced integration with the Blackbaud CRM platform, other CRMs as well. And then we are also updating the way we provide dashboards and reports on the Rosterfy admin portal. And we’ve taken this feedback from voting and talking to our existing base.


Leah Davenport Fadling: Very cool. Albert, it was great to sit down and talk with you today.


Albert Vasquez: Yeah, thanks for having me on the show. It was great chatting with you and being able to share about what I’m seeing on the volunteering side and sharing a little bit about Rosterfy.