Beyond their means
How one organization understood the value of volunteers and invested in them
In 2018, Catholic Community Services in Salt Lake City, Utah began using Pulse to gather client feedback — a system designed to gather client feedback from those individuals using the services provided by CCS. Each of those individuals were going through the harrowing experience of homelessness.
With that feedback, CCS was able to enhance the experience of those individuals by listening to their concerns and responding to feedback. However, Matt Melville, Director of CCS in Salt Lake, quickly realized there was another group that he desperately needed to ensure were having a good experience at his facility — volunteers.
For many service providers — funding tight, resources stretched, and staff pushed — volunteers are the lifeline of their organization. They allow these organizations to go beyond their means and try new and innovative approaches while making sure that current needs are met.
At CCS, volunteers take on an array of tasks ranging from laundry, cooking, cleaning, hygiene kit creation, personal shopping, and much more. That is why CCS knows that ensuring volunteers have a good experience is key to keeping their organization running.
Shortly after CCS began using Pulse to capture client feedback they wanted to expand the services to the volunteers, to capture their experiences and make adjustments. CCS brings in on average 60 volunteers a day. Making sure these volunteers have a good experience helps to make sure they will be more likely to come back, which allows CCS to do as much as they do.
The volunteer Pulse kiosk at CCS gives volunteers the opportunity to leave honest feedback, helping CCS ensure they are having a meaningful experience.
Britney Moulton, Volunteer Coordinator at CCS, is hyper-aware of the value of good volunteer experiences, and Pulse has allowed her to be more immediate in her decisions.
“It’s really helped me to gather that information right on the spot and address any issues as soon as they happen instead of losing that relationship,” Moulton said. “We can catch problems before they become a major problem.”
Moulton uses the data from the volunteer survey every day, analyzing it for trends and anomalies. She prints out reports and passes them out at team meetings where her staff can discuss and address any issues, point out areas that have shown improvement and are doing well, and keep her thumb on the pulse of the volunteers.
Weekly report print out that Moulton takes to her team meetings each week.
“Having [the data] available is instrumental to making sure that we are able to build successful programs. It’s not something that’s taken lightly,” Moulton said. “When [Matt and I] pulled this up my second or third day I thought, ‘I would have killed for that in refugee resettlement.’ That would have been so helpful. I was blown away.”
One particular example of using the data happened immediately after they opened the new Gail Miller Resource Center in Salt Lake City. While reviewing the information from the volunteer survey they noticed an issue volunteers were having with parking and getting access to the building.
“When we first opened, the building was on lockdown, and we were having volunteers park in the back,” Moulton said. “But we had some issues where the front staff weren’t able to get to the phone or the call box in time and I had a lot of volunteers that were angry because it was taking them 10 or 20 minutes to get into the building. So I was able to catch that and now we have volunteer parking upfront.”
Using the Pulse data, Moulton was able to recognize a problem quickly and resolve it before it grew into something more. It also frees up her time, meaning she can spend less time gathering feedback and more time responding and improving. This means a better quality experience for volunteers which will lead to more consistent volunteer numbers and more options and help given to those individuals using the services that CCS provides. Volunteers help CCS provide service above and beyond their normal means, and Pulse helps them keep it that way.