Interview with Jamie Cross, Emergency Programs Manager
The David McAntony Gibson Foundation operates as GlobalMedic, is a registered Canadian charity. Our mandate is to save lives by providing short-term, rapid response in the wake of disasters and crises, both at home and abroad. GlobalMedic was founded on Emergency Response. While we have run many non-emergency and capacity-building programs, the majority of our work continues to be a critical intervention in the wake of disaster and crisis.
GlobalMedic is a volunteer-driven agency. Their volunteers give their time and expertise to ensure that every dollar donated provides as much aid as possible. GlobalMedic runs six core programs, including water, emergency food, medical, shelter, flood, and RescUAV program.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed GlobalMedic’s domestic program needs as well as how they were able to deploy volunteers. Jamie explains,” When COVID hit, we had to shrink the size of our events drastically. That meant we had to increase the frequency of them, and we were operating out of like six different locations and running multiple shifts a day.”
“We could no longer do the signups the way that we had been doing them because we couldn't monitor numbers as much. Managing volunteers with our old systems was an incredibly time-consuming and challenging process. After about two to three months of this, I started looking for volunteer management software, which is when I found InitLive.”
GlobalMedic chose InitLive as their volunteer management solution to quickly adapt to their volunteer program's changing requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With InitLive, GlobalMedic streamlined its volunteer management process from recruitment and scheduling to attendance tracking and communications to efficiently deploy volunteers.
ONLINE SELF SIGNUP
Jamie explained that "People looking to volunteer can go to the website on the volunteer page and click the link that goes to our online signup form. The opportunities are available for anyone and are set up to be self-signups. We set up the caps, the max we can have at each event or shift. Then people go in and sign up for the shifts that they want."
VOLUNTEER CHECK-IN TRACKING
"When a volunteer arrives at a shift, they get screened and then checked in through the app by a supervisor, which is either a staff member or lead volunteers whom we would assign as a shift supervisor role on that shift. From a COVID safety plan point of view, these attendance records ensure we're meeting safety plan requirements as well," Commented Jamie.
Jamie explains that "Once the opportunity is set up, it's really easy to start contacting volunteers. Once we set up the opportunity for the next month, we just send out a blast to everybody, letting them know that they can sign up now for that opportunity. If there are not enough people, we'll send out another blast pushing for signups."
Jamie explained that "Using InitLive is great for our volunteers because they have access to more information. They have access to the number of hours they have worked, reminders on shifts or opportunities, and the ability to update their own information to ensure they don't miss any important communications. I think it's been super beneficial and has given volunteers more connection with us."
Schedule Volunteers In Half The Time
"Before InitLive, our team was spending about three to four hours a day scheduling people, responding to emails, changing people's schedules. With InitLive, I would say we have halved our time scheduling people, if not more," explained Jamie.
Immense Time Savings
“I think by far the top value that using InitLive has provided our office is the immense savings in our staff time for scheduling and communicating with volunteers. It also helps ensure that our events run smoothly and, with the COVID 19 pandemic, safely as well,” explained Jamie.