I was thrilled when Nazila Alasti, CEO and Founder of Jooners, contacted me this week and invited me to learn more about her online sign up solution. I wrote about two competing online sign up tools last year so I was eager to learn about Alasti’s approach for organizing a group of volunteers.
Like SignUpGenius and VolunteerSpot, Jooners provides an easy web-based service to manage the volunteer organizing process with e-reminders, social media tools and calendar integration. All three providers offer preloaded examples that you can re-use, or you can start from scratch and build your own custom forms. The templates are a huge time-saver.
Jooners has been around longer than VolunteerSpot (2009) and SignUpGenius (2008), and all three are pushing the online group organizing category forward. Founded in 2006, Jooners is “here to help you organize and coordinate people, events and experiences.” A small company started by a group of Stanford graduates, their motto is: Successful Organizers. Happy Participants. Flawless Experiences.
A killer-feature with Jooners is the recent integration of the popular SurveyMonkey. Here is an excerpt from the Jooner’s blog announcing the news:
With this wonderful integration, you can add a survey to a sign up sheet and gather data while you are signing up volunteers and participants. Or, send a survey after an event to find out what people really thought…
The ability to integrate surveys is extremely helpful to organizations who value data to improve their volunteer and group event experiences. A short video will show you how easy it is to add surveys to your Jooner sign up sheets.
SignUpGenius offers the ability to send text-messages in addition to email, an important consideration as email open-rates continue to decline.
VolunteerSpot offers a clever digital notepad using their iPad app Clipboard by VolunteerSpot, making it possible to take sign ups on the “spot.”
I downloaded the Clipboard app but haven’t had a chance to use it in a group setting. If you have used it, please let me know what you think.
All three products offer a free basic plan but their business models vary.
SignUpGenius relies on ad-revenue for those using the free service. They also offer no-ad services: Pro for $9.99/month with a free 14-day trial and three additional no-ad options ranging from $1.99 to $14.99 per sign up page.
VolunteerSpot’s free basic service is good for one activity organizer and allows you to collect contributions which at the surface is a neat idea because often times your best donors are volunteers. Be advised that there are two layers of service fees when collecting contributions with VolunteerSpot. VolunteerSpot also has ads, and there are at least four Premium plans ranging from $4.99/month up to $29.99/month depending on the number of participants.
Jooners free basic plan is ad-free and good for up to five sign up sheets. There is also an unlimited and more feature-rich Premium service available for $5.95/month ($49.95/year).
I look forward to following these three companies as they continue to refine and update their services, and although I am not ready to declare a favorite just yet, here are my favorite features:
- The texting feature offered by SignUpGenius is relevant for today’s rapidly growing mobile market.
- I love the idea of using the Clipboard iPad app to take live sign ups with VolunteerSpot.
- The simplified ad-free business model of Jooners is appealing, and their integration with industry leader SurveyMonkey is nothing short of brilliant.
With a reported 26.8 percent of the adult population giving 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service, there is plenty of room for all three to succeed.
Which online volunteer organizing solution do you prefer and why?