Let’s Help: A way to organize volunteers

Welcome to the Let’s Help web site!
Our goal is to provide you with a way to coordinate the time, skills and
energy of volunteers.
The Let’s Help web site is a tool to make
communication and coordination easier between many people using a
convenient email and web page interface.
Background:
The Let’s Help project was conceived as a means to help a family dealing
with cancer. The cancer patient was consumed with doctor appointments,
debilitating medical care and fatigue. The spouse was focused on providing
health care for the cancer patient as well as the burden of additional
home chores done by the patient. Every day errands, home care and maintenance,
childcare and yard care became difficult to finish on a timely basis. Having
someone else get the weekly groceries or mow the lawn was a huge benefit.
Many friends and extended family members wished to help but the family lacked
the time and energy to coordinate all of their efforts. Friends and family
that live far away wanted to know what was happening and unknowingly increase
the volume of phone calls and e-mails to the household making it difficult to
respond individually. In addition, there was no clear means of communicating
with everyone so that willing volunteers would not double-up on one task while
neglecting another.
Let’s Help was born as a solution to this need. Although a family dealing with
cancer inspired this site, it can be used in other areas where you are trying
to coordinate volunteers. Examples might include school teachers managing parent
volunteers for the class room, playground construction projects, ongoing work
details at campsites, etc.
How we work:
This site centers around a set of Requests, Offers, and News items
managed by project coordinators. Information is sent out via email
to registered volunteers, inviting them to view the web site and
take ownership of a particular request. Owning a request allows
volunteers to help in ways they are most comfortable. It also lets
other volunteers know that a particular request will be finished,
so they can spend their time on different requests. The Let’s Help
web site allows for multiple coordinators. This provides a means
of sharing the effort of coordinating volunteers between a group
of people.
Requests:
Requests are the heart of the Let’s Help system.
By way of example, let us consider the cancer patient and
their family. Using the Let’s Help Web Site, the family or
a third party coordinator can make a set of requests as needed.
For this example, a lawn needs mowing request is posted on the
web site! The web site automatically sends email to a set of
volunteers that previously checked that they could help with yard
care. One of these volunteers checks into the web site and chooses
to sign up for lawn mowing.
The web site alerts the coordinators that the mowing request has
been taken.
While the family focuses on health care, the volunteers get to
help and the lawn gets mowed.…