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Evy Nordley Nominee Profile: Wentworth's Sign-Up Revolution

Friends organizations come in all sizes, but are united by two things: a shared love of libraries, and reliance on volunteers to coordinate their fundraisers and programming. The Friends of Wentworth Library in W. St. Paul are certainly no exception.

As a case in point, The Friends’ most recent book sale, held over the course of three days, required 15 shifts and 90 volunteer time slots to carry out. In total, 30 volunteers turned out to fill those 90 slots, and the fundraiser went off without a hitch. Approximately 500 happy shoppers left with at least one new used book in hand.

This high-level overview belies one of the most significant challenges associated with putting on such a large endeavor: filling all those shifts! Until recently, notes member Karen Griffin, the event coordinator or coordinators did this with pen and paper. Griffin and her colleagues found that process cumbersome and time-consuming.

In preparation for the group’s October 2016 and April 2017 book sales, leaders explored online alternatives. Ultimately, the growing volunteer tool “SignUp.com” struck them as the best option, in terms of user intuitiveness and expense. They determined to pilot it and share their findings with other Friends facing these same challenges.

Happily, the move paid almost immediate dividends – and exceeded their original expectations. “Using ‘SignUp,’ we quickly found we could better track volunteer hours, send messages like reminders and thank yous, and generate reports after the fact,” Griffin said.

The Friends highly recommend that other groups take advantage of their upfront research and “sign up” (pun intended!) for this free and easy tool.