United Way of Midland County, Michigan
$6 Million Annually
Public School System Volunteer Application Program
One of the many projects that United Way of Midland County is proud to work on is a volunteer program that’s run by the public school system.
Every year, the school system accepts approximately 2,000 volunteers. To maintain a high safety level for students, these volunteers must go through a multi-step application process before being approved for the job. Applicants fall under one of three volunteering tiers depending on the level of security clearance involved, from background checks, fingerprinting and ownership of driver’s license and car insurance. The United Way of Midland County has partnered with the school system to facilitate this complex application process.
Maintaining updated information on thousands of volunteers is no easy task. This process was handled on a school-by-school basis, which meant that there were many application inconsistencies, and there was no overarching program coordination. Upon accepting the volunteer applications, the individual owning the process had to manually sift through the information and determine where to place volunteers. All the qualifiers such as the background checks and fingerprints were collected on an individual basis and stored in each volunteer file. Determining whether documentation like car insurance and driver’s licenses were up to date was time-consuming and prone to mistakes. Also, communicating with candidates during the application process had to be done over the phone or in-person, slowing the process down and leading to communication errors.
"After kicking off the second school year with the program, over 4,000 volunteers have gone through the system.”
Jacob Sinacola, MSCS, Senior Manager of Investor Relations, United Way of Midland County
The United Way of Midland County rose up to the challenge and offered to automate the volunteer application process by using Andar Software’s Workflow Plans solution. They typically use this solution for grant applications, but they reimagined its functionality to handle volunteer applications, document uploads, and communications. Aspiring volunteers kick off the process by signing up online. The Workflow Plans solution receives this application and prompts a series of events depending on the requirements that need to be fulfilled. If a volunteer hasn’t submitted their fingerprints yet, the system will send out an email to remind them that they are required. Maintaining data that’s organized, easy to retrieve and updated is now stress-free because all documentation is received in digital form and administered by the system. Furthermore, communicating complicated instructions or keeping volunteers up to date on important dates is simpler and more convenient than it was before because of the programmed emails the system can automatically send out when predetermined qualifiers are triggered.
Replacing the manual volunteer application process with Workflow Plans increased safety in schools, and saved hours of time. A department of four used to work on the background checks before, now it’s down to one person overseeing the task. The new solution is so successful that it will be used from now on to process all volunteer applicants. Additionally, since implementing this new program for its local schools, the United Way of Midland County has demonstrated their versatility as a community supporter and collaborator. They have stepped beyond their traditionally known role as a fundraising organization and solved a community problem that needed attention.