Managing Volunteers

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Managing Volunteers The problem-solution sets provide a method to detail everything needed to galvanize support for addressing a critical problem facing an NGO or grass roots organization.

Summary of the Problem

Description: This is a sentence or two description of the problematic situation facing the civil society organization

How do we efficiently manage volunteers for health needs after a disaster?

Description of the Need


  • Organizing before the disaster
  • Organizing during the disaster response
  • How to maintain interest after the initial emergency response?
  • Empowering volunteers to identify needs and react
  • Issues of trust or credibility

Who Needs This?

Description: Who is the owner of this need? Which NGO, community-based organization or group of people would better be able to implement their mission if this problem was addressed?

There is a desire from individuals and companies to help, but the need for coordination is needed from responding NGOs.

Solution Space

Description: What are the technology areas you see as potentially solving this problem? (e.g., Mobile, social media, geospatial technologies, etc.)

  • Social Media could have a big role: for example creating a Facebook group to organize volunteers before a disaster
  • Database for volunteers to register with specific NGOs ahead of time
  • Mobile being able to coordinate volunteers in the field.

Use Case

Description: Provide either a paragraph or bulleted list of how someone might use a proposed solution that is developed

  1. Volunteers register with their skill sets/experiences
  2. When a disaster happens responding group can send a message to the volunteers that match their requirements (sms/mobile)
  3. Volunteers can respond that they are available
  4. Volunteers could report needs and services they have provided
  5. Other volunteers and responding organization can identify the unmet needs
  6. Efforts redirected to where they are needed

Existing solutions or relevant links

Description: What other potential information could help the technologists working on the idea.

What Resources Are Needed

Description: In thinking through the resources necessary to solve this problem, what would you want from the private sector, volunteer community, government, large scale NGOs, and/or funding organizations.

  • SMS credits to organizing number
  • Set-up of the technology
  • Need a NGO that wants to adopt the system
  • Funding to set-up/maintain
  • Doing fundraising
  • Advertising to get individuals to register (social media?)
  • Support from government/non-profits to increase credibility

Follow-on Actions

This problem-solution set was sent to the Random Hacks of Kindness Organization for their Hackathon on June 4-5.