She’s back! Guest blogger Liza Dyer shares another one of the tech tools she uses for managing volunteers.  If you try this one, you may wonder how you ever lived without it.

Example Trello BoardIs your to-do list a mile long? Are you unsure where that new volunteer is in the onboarding process? If these questions sound familiar, you may benefit from the tech tool Trello.

According to Trello, it’s “the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything.” As with many cloud-based services, Trello has various pricing levels for advanced features. For my purposes I’ve gotten everything I need out of the free version.

A little lingo might be useful before we get much further:

  • Board – This is the basis for everything. You can have different boards for different projects. I have several boards including ones for weekly projects, communication planning, and volunteer recruitment.
  • Lists – Many lists can be on a single board. Each list houses cards. For my weekly projects board I have the following lists: ‘Workin’ On It’, ‘Priority’, and ‘To Do.’ For the recruitment board I have these lists: ‘Currently Recruiting’, ‘Future Recruiting’, ‘Pending, Closed’.
  • Cards – These make up the individual tasks or projects that are put on a list.

In short, Cards go on Lists and Lists go on Boards. For more info on board basics, check out this handy guide from Trello.

Once I’ve created some Cards, I like to add more information to each one. I’ll add a due date because it reminds me by email when something is due soon. I use the checklist feature if there are specific things that can be checked off for that task or project. I may also attach some files if I have a document that goes with whatever is on the card. It’s a terrific way to keep everything in one place.

Trello works for collaborative projects, too. If you’re working with other people who use Trello you can have Members on each Card. Members can see and edit Cards, add comments, and more. My office has found this collaborative function essential for tracking volunteer recruitment. We have four staff members who may need to respond to questions from volunteers and staff; keeping recruitment information on a shared Trello board is the easiest way for all of us to keep up.

Now that I’ve been using Trello for a couple of years, I can’t imagine my work life without it! The visual organization of information is perfect for me.

Are you ready to give Trello a try?

About the Author

LizaJDyerLiza J Dyer, CVA, has worked in the nonprofit and public sectors for over 10 years and is currently a Program Coordinator in Volunteer Services at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon. Outside of work, Liza holds leadership positions with Northwest Oregon Volunteer Administrators Association, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Portland, and the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Connect with Liza on Twitter.