New web system makes life easier for NZ’s 1million plus volunteers

AUCKLAND, 29 October 2009: Kiwis who want to volunteer to help at upcoming major sporting and other events can now put their hands up to register their interest in advance using a new volunteer registration service being launched in Wellington today.

Developed entirely in New Zealand, the PutYourHandUp system combines cutting-edge cloud computing technology with proven knowledge about what it takes to run a successful volunteer-driven event.

During its development and implementation the system was proven to save up to 90% of volunteer time on some of the most time consuming tasks required to organise a complex event.

The system was created by monitoring the processes used to find volunteers for the 2008 FIFA Women’s U17 World Football Championships. Then it was proven at the 2009 FIBA Men’s U19 World Basketball Championship where organisers said it made a “dramatic” difference, saving more than 50% of volunteer time across most tasks and more than 90% on registration data-input time.

Launched at this week’s Volunteering New Zealand’s Volunteering Unleashed national conference, the new system has been developed by ClubHub.

Based in Auckland, ClubHub provides sporting and recreational clubs with membership management systems. ClubHub began when its founder, Maurice MacLaren, who has an IT background, decided there had to be a better way to run his local soccer club. His goal was to allow club volunteers to fulfil their roles and access club information much more efficiently.  Success in delivering services for volunteers online has now resulted in the ClubHub system being taken up overseas.

“One of the biggest challenges for any event is the huge amount of information that has to be managed,” said Maurice MacLaren. “You see people just sinking under a mountain of paper-work. And from the volunteer side it’s not always easy to quickly let event organisers know you would like to be involved, your skills, or how best you could help.”

PutYourHandUp allows volunteers to register online their interest in participating and allows event organisers to register their event. PutYourHandUp then links the volunteers to information about the available events quickly and easily.

Volunteers choose to register for particular events that interest them, and organisers can then communicate directly with them and dramatically speed up the whole process of volunteer recruitment and assigning people to their roles for an event.

The number of New Zealanders who volunteer for unpaid activity each year across all areas has been estimated by Statistics New Zealand at 1,011,600. 

Shane Goldfinch, who helped organise volunteers for the FIFA and FIBA events, said the new system also meant people would get more enjoyment out of the events as well.

“Using PutYourHandUp builds much better bonds between people because they are able to be in contact before the event starts. Also, too often in New Zealand we run an event and then throw all that information away. With this system it’s easy to keep a record of who might like to help at another event and any special skills they can bring, like being a translator.”