Volunteer Self-Scheduling: SFJazz


SFJAZZ is a non-profit arts and jazz culture organization in San Francisco, California. Recognized as the leader in jazz creation, education, and overall experience, SFJAZZ offers a wealth of year round programs with their largest event being the San Francisco Jazz Festival held every fall.

The Challenge

Before finding Shiftboard, SFJAZZ worked with their internal IT department to create an in-house scheduling system. Via this intranet program volunteers would sign up electronically for shows. Their data was then manually re-entered into another volunteer database. Finally, hard copies were printed and distributed to the volunteers.

Rick Warren, SFJAZZ Volunteer Coordinator and Senior House Manager, was very clear in describing his biggest problem with the old way of doing business. “Time. I used to ‘go dark’ and edit schedules and enter data for 2 months. The turn around time between when a volunteer signed up to when a shift was confirmed was just too long.”

SFJazz needed a program that offered:

  • A real-time schedule accessible from a web or mobile browser with immediate confirmations for volunteers
  • Volunteers needed to be able to pick up, see, and print their schedules in one place at the same time
  • A reliable volunteer database with contact information, history, etc

Online Volunteer Self-Scheduling Software

Rick first saw Shiftboard in action at the San Francisco International Film Festival. After comparing Shiftboard to both in house and other software options, he saw that the choice was clear: Shiftboard event volunteer scheduling software would provide the quickest, easiest solution to their current time consuming problem.

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The results were noticeable right away. During their spring season 1291 positions were posted, and within the next 18 hours 60% had been picked up online by volunteers. By the end of the first week over 70% of the shifts had been filled. “With volunteer self-scheduling, the ballgame has changed. Volunteers now see it as first come, first served and are eager to login and pick up shifts ASAP. Our volunteers are more involved now.”

Not only has Shiftboard decreased the time necessary for Rick to go back and manually confirm users, but volunteers have enjoyed using Shiftboard as well.

“My users love it. With volunteer self-scheduling they can see the changes right there on their own schedule online or print it out. It’s instant gratification. They are happy.”