The France-Edmonton Society is a not for profit organization, that aims at the promotion of France’s language and culture. Each year we participate to a huge 3 days festival in Edmonton (Servus Heritage Festival) which welcomes over 350,000 visitors. At this festival we run the pavilion France which is visited by over 8,000 festival goers.
Our current organisation was registered in 2009, however it was the continuity of another one started in 1985. The first year for the pavilion France was 1986. I believe that when the pavilion started in 1986, the number of volunteers who took part in the pavilion was around 40.
We have 150 people in our staff list and it’s a real challenge to schedule them. Over the years the pavilion has grown quite a bit, from producing a mere 500 plates of crêpes to now over 7,000. With the increase in productivity, came the need for more volunteers and time shifts.
Church & Volunteer
For the past 4 years I was using MS Excel spreadsheets but as we needed to register more people, we ended spending countless hours on the phone to synchronise all the time slot occupancy between the recruiting volunteers (2 to 5 recruiters depending on the year).
Between contacts with the volunteers, confirmation of availability, calling back volunteer to give the OK (or emails) or look for alternative time, it was becoming a nightmare! As of last year we had 130 time slots to account for over 800 hours of volunteer time.
Our scheduling challenge also lies on the fact that the pavilion takes place only once a year. The introduction of any new tool has to be fast, efficient and user friendly so that we do not spend a lot of time figuring things out, and explaining it to the volunteers. The work scheduler ShiftPlanning did just that: peachy!
One word: HEAVEN! It cut the time spent on the phone by over 50% and the time spent on emails by 75%. I must admit the introduction of ShiftPlanning was not a done deal. The age of our volunteers range from 12 to 80 years. Needless to say that the younger generation took it quite readily, with little incentive other than: cool new tool.
As for the older generations, it is an ongoing process. Although we do know that some will definitely never use it, leaving it to the administrators to schedule them, it made our lives easier since the confirmation emails were automatically sent. As the years will go by, we expect some of them to convert to the work scheduler once they will get used to it. We know this will take several years.
Oh yes! I would recommend the work scheduler and their team is courteous, always on the ball. Maybe a little bit too much (fast to answer) for me who is not a IT buff.
ShiftPlanning has changed our image, took some dust of the picture, rejuvenated us. We are now looked at as a cool pavilion! The work scheduler has certainly won the eternal gratitude from the recruiting and managing volunteers.
HEAVEN! – Véronique – Societe France Edmonton
Last year we only used the message wall, as a networking tool for the volunteers. Since we are using the work scheduler only 2 months per year it will take some time before we experiment with all the features.
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“With this tool, you can literally run tens of employees with ease.”- makeuseof.com
“It is an intuitive product, with a nice range of features.”- killerstartups.com