Charities are being urged to turn to CRM to harness the army of volunteers that has formed as a result of the pandemic. People want to help, but harnessing this will be key for charities moving forwards, believes Reach Volunteering, an organisation that connects volunteers with good causes.

In the UK, within seven days of the first lockdown being announced, 300,000 people had volunteered with a charity and more than 750,000 had signed up as NHS volunteers.

An article in The Guardian revealed that of the 12 million adults in the UK who offered their services during the last year, a third did so for the first time, indicating that a new and sizable cohort had the opportunity to experience the value of volunteering first-hand, from connecting with others and providing a CV boost, to the possibility of improved mental and physical health. And most volunteers plan to continue helping out in the longer term. When asked if people planned to continue volunteering when the pandemic was over, 62 per cent said yes.

People had that sense of wanting to be useful, of wanting to give back and to do something to help make things better for people. They also had that desire for connection something which looks set to continue.

Working out how to attract even more new volunteers, as well as holding on to those who joined in throughout 2020 is one of the challenges charities will face as the nation continues to emerge from lockdown.

Keeping volunteers engaged will be key and CRM solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an effective way for charities to manage the relationships with their volunteers and keep them connected.

High rates of volunteering have been linked to organisations that make regular contact with potential volunteers and have strong structures in place that support volunteer engagement and development. Communicating and establishing relationships with volunteers is what’s going to keep them volunteering after the pandemic. However, to do this it will be critical that the volunteer data is kept as up to date as possible or risk alienating this valuable audience. We’ve recently launched the first in-platform data cleansing solution which will enable the charity users of Dynamics 365 to effectively and cost efficiently clean their data all within the security of the Azure ecosystem meaning that staying connected with volunteers has never been easier, cheaper or more secure!