Girl Scouts of Maine (GSME) builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, and GSME provides educational services, events and support to over 12,000 girl and adult members throughout the state, and operates service centers and retail shops in South Portland and Bangor, respectively.
With Sterling Volunteers, GSME was able to dramatically reduce the time required to onboard new volunteers, down to less than two weeks from more than seven previously. “The biggest impact for us has been the ability to get our volunteers through the process and troops started faster,” says Leslie Inman, Chief of Membership and Customer Care at GSME. “We were thrilled when we started to see volunteers approved in just half a day. It’s a big change from the weeks it used to take because we were waiting on references to call us back.”
Despite the universal nature of Girl Scout troops, GSME faced a range of challenges when recruiting the 4,000 volunteers they depend on to lead troops and provide support. Most working parents simply don’t believe they have the time to volunteer. A volunteer screening and onboarding process that was painfully slow often served to discourage potential volunteers.
“We were handling the application process and doing reference checks all internally,” says Heather Cameron, Placement Manager for GSME. “We had one staff person whose job it was to conduct the reference checks and follow-up, and it would sometimes take up to seven weeks for volunteers to get through the process.” Then, as part of a wider reorganization within the Girls Scouts in 2016, GSME sought to outsource and streamline its screening process.
In its search for a background screening company, GSME considered Asurint and Sterling Volunteers. According to GSME, the selection criteria included: 1) a technology that was user-friendly for its volunteers; and 2) reasonable pricing for a nonprofit. Sterling Volunteers was the clear choice, especially once Ms. Inman and her team reviewed the platform’s capabilities and end-user interface.
Sterling Volunteers was also able to integrate easily into the new Salesforce CRM system that GSME adopted during its reorganization.
Since switching in February 2016, GSME has processed as many as 200 volunteer background checks each month via the Sterling Volunteers platform. It has seen a positive reception from its volunteers, who find the selfdirected online process fast and easy. According to Ms. Inman, 10-20% of the organization’s volunteers opt to pay for some or all of their background checks. Best of all, partnering with Sterling Volunteers has freed up staff time and resources for Ms. Cameron and her team, while cutting the time required to process volunteer applications.
“Our team can now help volunteers find the right roles for them, get registered and complete their background checks in less than two weeks,” Ms. Cameron says. “It’s a terrific improvement in our business processes and our ability to serve our volunteers.”
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