Exclusive Interview: Best of Jooners, 2009

Last week after much deliberation, we selected the winner of Best of Jooners – 2009.

<<DRUM ROLLLL PLEASE>>>>

Our Winner is Karen Werner from Woodside, California.

Karen shared her perspectives on organizing and volunteering with me over a quick interview, below.

Enjoy!  And congratulations to Karen!!!!

Jooners’ interview with Karen Werner – Summit Prep

Congratulations Karen! Thanks for being available to chat with Jooners.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a mom of 3 kids ages 15, 13, and 10. We live in Woodside, California.

I am very involved in my kids’ two schools, I’ve been on the PTA, and the school foundation, and have served a four year term on our school board. I also work part time.

How did you find out about Jooners?

I signed up to do a volunteer project at our high school, Summit Prep and knew that I would have millions of emails and that I would inevitably get my wires crossed.  So I started looking for a tool that could help me organize and manage this project.

I did not want to spend a lot of money and I did not want the volunteers to have to register. Jooners was the perfect fit. Plus Jooners is intuitive and easy to use and the sign up sheets look exactly like they would if they were on a clipboard.

What other products did you consider?

I tried Google forms but it was not the right fit.  I needed a tool where once a volunteer slot is filled, volunteers know it’s taken, so they can look for the other slots that need to be filled.  With Jooners, I like that people can’t over write other sign-up slots and volunteers have to email me to back out of commitments.

How much time did Jooners save you?

Our project has 200+ parent-volunteer positions. Impossible to coordinate/organize on email or spreadsheets…  I estimate that using Jooners, I have saved anywhere from 7-11 hours of time per volunteering cycle!  To set up for the first form took a bit of time but now I just copy and change dates for a recurring set of activities!

What else matters to you?

From the get-go, with that many volunteers, it was super-important for me not to be making mistakes. I was worried that I would miss an email, or transcribe information incorrectly into jobs and times.  So, I knew that if I did this manually, I’d be spending MANY MANY additional hours reply to way too many emails, and checking and double-checking information.  I can’t tell you how much time that would be. I only know that it would make me lose lots of sleep!

And similarly…I LOVE the automatic reminders! That saves me a bunch of time too. I know the events and activities run smoother because of the reminders.

And lastly, I feel it is important to appreciate the volunteers and thank them for their generosity. So I love the Thank you notes.

What advice do you have for a new Organizer?

Keep it simple.

Make it easy on yourself and your volunteers.

When they show up make sure that there is a valuable job for them to do.

Don’t overburden your volunteers.

Appreciate your volunteers.

Tell us about your webpage and all the Jooners’ sign up sheets there.

What I wanted to do was put together ALL the online sign up sheets that I had created in one place. This does several things: 1) Helps volunteers see ALL volunteer opportunities in one page 2) Allows the administration and others to go to see the up-to-date list of who to expect,  and 3) I don’t have to email anyone!!

Here is the page: http://sites.google.com/site/joonersdemo/

You can click on any of the sign up sheets to see what I have. BTW they are empty, because we have removed all personal information on these. You try it out—sign-up and see just how easy it is!

Anything else you’d like to share?

You have solved a real problem with Jooners and made my life easier. Thank you!

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