Green plant in hand

It’s hard to keep any organisation working towards a common goal, but it can be especially challenging for charities. You’re dealing with a mix of full-time staff, part-time staff and volunteers, and you don’t have a lot of money to spare for expensive people management technology.

The good news is that making sure everyone is in the right place, at the right time, is easier than ever for not-for-profit institutions, thanks to online shift planning tools – and the leading solutions are more affordable than you think.

Let’s look in more detail about how charities can use shift planning software to improve the way your team collaborates...

Find the right people balance for everyday success

Every penny counts in not-for-profit – more so than in the commercial sector. The way in which you schedule staffing can affect how well resources are allocated, and also impact the difference you can make with the funds available.

Charities can use shift planning tools to make sure the right mix of people are scheduled to work at any point in time, to get the most out of both salaried workers and volunteers. It’s really important to strike the balance between having enough people available to get tasks done, without having too many paid employees on shift.

A good people shift planning solution will enable your organisation to find a ‘happy medium’ when it comes to staffing, and you can set minimum/maximum people levels to ensure you optimise productivity day-in, day-out.

And the best thing about good shift planning tools is that they factor-in what type of contract somebody is on, or their availability, so you can make sure you’re never assigning somebody too many days’ work.

Flex to meet fluctuating demands

Getting the head count right is challenging for any organisation, but it’s particularly challenging for charities, as this figure can fluctuate. You might need additional workforce at certain times of year or during particular campaigns, or if you’re responding to real-world events.

Shift planning tools give you the power to dial staffing up and down as needed, and to see exactly who’s available to work if you need to boost numbers. Plus, you can use one platform to manage teams in every location – which is ideal if you’re trying to run an international operation, or balance headquarters requirements with people out in the field.

To ensure shift planning software works hard for your cause, you need to pick technology that makes it easy to build and add different shift pattern codes. This will enable you to quickly create or change rotas, depending on what’s happening – so you can quickly respond to crises or disasters with a coordinated effort.

Creating visibility for everybody

Collaboration is key to success in the not-for-profit sector, and people management platforms can help your team to work together more productively, to achieve the right results.

If you’re using a manual system to schedule staffing, chances are only managers and senior personnel have access to the rota. Different departments or teams may have their own system, which makes it hard to see who else in the organisation is available to help. Also, sharing and updating schedules with the wider workforce can be very challenging – with people often working off the wrong version of a document.

Shift planning software provides a consistent platform for coordinating schedules, which the whole institution can view. You can offer restricted access to general employees and volunteers, so they can see when they are working and who will be working alongside them, without being able to make roster changes. You can channel annual leave requests through this same platform, so everybody knows who has booked holiday to avoid calendar clashes, and you don’t assign someone to work when they are unavailable.

By providing greater visibility over staff movements, your team will feel confident that they can work together successfully to drive good results – because they know exactly what is required of them. Even better, if your shift planning platform is remotely accessible, it can be used by volunteers and paid staff out in the field to forge stronger links with other regions and head office teams.

Technology that quickly delivers ROI

The idea of investing in software doesn’t always sit well with not-for-profits. However, shift planning tools can be a lot cheaper than you think, and more importantly, they quickly drive return on investment as you improve the way you create schedules, communicate with staff and encourage cross-organisation collaboration.

WhosOffice is a leading provider of shift planning platforms to the charity sector. We’re already helping organisations to coordinate the movements of both paid staff and volunteers more effectively, ensuring that everyone works together towards a common goal.

Try WhosOffice software for free to see how it can help your charity work smarter.

Photo by Akil Mazumder of