SportsEngine DIBS – Read this to learn what you need to know for your Volunteer Bond program.

You may be using the SportsEngine Sports Management system and maybe considering using their DIBS process to help manage your volunteer bond program. Before you go ahead and implement this for your entire league, you may want to learn about how far you can go with the DIBS process. You’ll want to learn the full details – what it can do and what it cannot do. Read the rest of this post to learn everything you need to know about the DIBS features and what’s involved.

Managing a volunteer bond program for a youth sports league can become a full-time job, that is, if you are not using the right software tools. There are a myriad of tools available to manage your volunteer bond program. Deciding on what tool to use really depends on your program and how extensive your volunteer needs are. For example, if you only have a need to sign up volunteers, then you’ll only need an online signup sheet. There’s and Signupgenius, both of which have free versions. But if you want something to better manage your volunteer bond program, let’s dig further..

The SportsEngine DIBS feature set allows you to do the following:

  • Post available volunteer posts to all parents and families.
  • Have parents claim the volunteer post they want, i.e. submit a ‘dib’ on that position.
  • Have your volunteer coordinator verify,, using a paper sign in/out sheet from wherever the volunteer post was completed, whether a parent completed their volunteer jobs.
  • Track the volunteer hours or credits families have to determine whether they have completed the league volunteer requirements.

Great, right? Well, not so fast. Because there’s more involved in managing a volunteer program.

First, different volunteer jobs have different parameters. Here’s a common scenario, let’s use a hockey tournament (or any sport tournament or meet). In this example, you’ll have:

  • different volunteer positions
  • different shifts, with varying Start and End times
  • different groups of volunteers (for specific-division volunteer jobs)
  • different # of people needed per volunteer job
  • different rink locations

With the above, the above would mean hundreds of different variations. And with DIBS, you will need to create a ‘DIB’ for every one of these variations, that’s hundreds and hundreds of volunteer ‘DIBS’ just for one tournament. Here are just a few of the many limitations:

There is no way to create multiple shifts under the volunteer position so that you have far far less job postings.
In the DIBS way, parents see everything – the hundreds of volunteer job postings even though only a small number of volunteer positions apply to them.
There is no way for parents to add a 2nd or 3rd person to the volunteer ‘dib’. Let’s say you and your spouse want to sign up for the same volunteer position so you can get double the hours. There is no way for parents to that in DIBS.
DIBS does not provide your parent volunteer leaders (who may manage the volunteers on their respective teams) with a way to see who has volunteered for their volunteer positions.
DIBS provides no way for parent leaders to communicate with parent volunteers, all communication is done outside of DIBS, in silo’d emails.
In DIBS, all the volunteer positions are shown in one big list, there is no way to categorize or group related volunteer positions into segments. Parents are forced to have to slog through all your postings just to see the ones that are applicable to them.

An important task in managing a volunteer bond program is to keep track of parents who have completed their volunteer hours so your league finance people can either reimburse the parents’ volunteer bond or send a family their check back to them. From the perspective of your parents, their expectation is after they complete their volunteer hours, they will be reimbursed for the volunteer bond they paid or have their volunteer bond check returned to them. With DIBS, there is no functionality to keep track of families to whom you have reimbursed (or returned their check back to them for their volunteer bond). This is another thing you need to track manually, either in Excel or Google sheets – read: more hours spent going back and forth from your spreadsheet to DIBS. The ideal alternative is a volunteer management system that provides an easy way for you to keep track of families and the status of their volunteer bond. So, either dozens of hours of work with DIBS tracking volunteer bond status, or an automated tracking process with a volunteer management system?

Another very important aspect of managing family/parent volunteers is making sure parents know the status of their volunteer hours, either mid or at the end of the season. It’s not enough to say that parents can see their volunteer hours in their DIBS interface. For one, the inference is that your volunteer coordinators have verified parents’ volunteer hours. And two, parents may or may not look at their DIBS interface. As we all know, being a parent is all-consuming, so if you have no way to inform parents of the status of their volunteer hours, it’s almost a ‘gimme’ they are not going to know the status of their volunteer hours. DIBS has no functionality to inform parents of the status of their verified volunteer hours. Ideally, you want to have a software tool that will automatically monitor families’ volunteer hours and notify those who are low on volunteer hours and are in danger of not meeting the volunteer bond requirements. A full-featured volunteer management system will provide this.

While at first glance the DIBS feature set (it’s not accurate to call it a volunteer management system) seems as if it can handle your league’s volunteer bond program needs. However, with the multiple important – time-intensive tasks – you need to do to manage your program, there’s much more to consider. In this post, we’ve covered the big considerations: 1) the ability to categorize, condense and create volunteer positions that are easy to manage and easy for parents to sign up for, 2) tracking the status of families’ volunteer bond and 3) the ability to automatically notify families of the status of their volunteer hours. And when you fully consider everything volunteer coordinators in youth sports leagues or organizations do in managing their volunteer bond program, you’ll start to realize you have many more important needs than what the SportsEngine DIBS feature provides. Google is one click away, type in ‘volunteer software for youth sports leagues’ and you’ll be on your way to finding a solution that will better suit your volunteer program needs.

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