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Our new Volunteer Management System

We know that, in an ever-changing world, we need to adapt our systems and processes to meet the needs of our volunteers. We want to support you to make a difference to the MS community and ultimately achieve our vision of a world free from the effects of MS.

We’re therefore introducing a new way for volunteers to manage their own data and access and upload information about their volunteering. This will be done through a Volunteer Management System called Assemble.

What will Assemble help volunteers to do?

By introducing Assemble we’ll be able to simplify processes for volunteers and staff which currently sit across several systems. Assemble will provide a central source of information, and allow us to report accurately on the activity undertaken by our volunteers for the first time. 

The system will simplify processes like online recruitment and uploading service data. It’ll also enable volunteers to access up-to-date information and support when they need it, whilst still being able to get help from our Volunteer Support Team and Volunteer Managers. 

Assemble is used by many other large charities such as the RSPCA, British Red Cross and Diabetes UK. We’re confident that the system has appropriate controls, and policies are in place to safeguard our volunteers’ data. 

How will volunteers use it? 

How volunteers use the system will depend on their role(s). All volunteers will be able to view and update their own data. And those in some roles which manage or supervise other volunteers will be able to view and update certain details of others.

Some functions, such as recruitment, uploading service data and signing up for staff-led events and drop-ins, will be available for the launch of the system this summer. The system will also host news and information for volunteers, which we currently publish on the volunteer website. We’ll be testing the usefulness of other system features with volunteers over the coming months to decide whether to use them. 

Why now? 

We’re undertaking a major transformation project to overhaul how we use data and systems at the MS Society, called Project Sage. Over the last few years, we’ve heard from volunteers that we ask them to use too many systems, and that the processes involved are not clear. The platform that our Portal and volunteer website sit on is also end of life, so we’ve used the opportunity provided by Project Sage to bring these key functions together into one system. Assemble will replace them both.

When will this launch? 

A phased rollout of the systems will start this summer, and we’re developing a staggered rollout plan to enable us to provide enhanced support to volunteers as we introduce the system. 

What support will be available? 

We know that getting to grips with a new system can be daunting, so we’ll be developing a suite of training and support, in collaboration with our Volunteer User Panel, before launch. This will include training videos, how-to guides and Zoom drop-in support sessions.  

What’s next?

We’ll keep you updated as our plans develop.