On any given week, Lakeview Pantry—one of Chicago’s largest and longest-running food pantries—has a minimum of 250 volunteer slots to fill. Community engagement is essential to every piece of the organization, as they run on an army of over 3,000 volunteers. Last year alone, the Pantry’s volunteer corps donated 4,200 hours of time: the equivalent to 21 full-time staff. Drew Moran, the Pantry’s Manager of Volunteers, is responsible for overseeing the hundreds of volunteers who come through their door every day looking for a meaningful way to give back.
The Pantry serves 3,500 clients each month with just 13 full-time staff members, so the needs of the organization are wide ranging—from administrative projects to picking up food with a cargo van. Drew has learned to let the Pantry’s volunteers gravitate toward the opportunities that excite them, finding that it makes for higher level of commitment and better follow through. Although the Pantry uses an online registration and orientation process, Drew also takes the time to get to know the volunteers, parsing out their personal and professional background and connecting one-on-one to locate their passions. This placement effort demands sophisticated volume management, and his approach quickly turns impractical without automated database oversite.
When Drew first started working at the Pantry four years ago, the organization was using paper applications, and volunteers were registered and scheduled for shifts over email. He and his team found their time monopolized by volunteer management data entry instead of strategizing on programs and services.
As an ongoing and evolving project, Lakeview Pantry has had several Salesforce volunteers devote a few hours each month to amending and enhancing Salesforce’s features.
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