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.
Extend this one example to dozens
of requests handled by dozens of volunteers. The Let’s Help web
site allows the family or someone they designate as a third party
coordinator to manage all the activity, matching abilities and
desires with basic needs, in an easy way. The web based system is
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ready to assist when each
person is able.
Offers:
The volunteers may have specific things they can or are willing
to do. Some of these may be things the family may not think about
as requests. For example, someone can pick up kids after school
on Thursdays. They can present this offer to the family or coordinator
via the web site. They can either accept the offer or decline it,
using the web site. Other volunteers do not see everyones offers
but coordinators can view them all.
News:
Far away friends and family may not be able to help directly but
still need to feel in touch and up-to-date on family issues. News
items of health status, upcoming events, etc. can be posted to
the Let’s Help web site to help keep all registered volunteers
informed. This helps keep the number of phone calls and email
communications to a manageable level. An added feature also allows
the inclusion of digital pictures into the news items.
Coordination:
There may be times when the family cannot coordinate volunteer
activities at all. The Let’s Help web site enables a designated
third party to step in and begin coordination of volunteers
immediately. Which volunteers that can help with certain tasks
and chores are immediately available to the new coordinator by
simply going to the Let’s Help Web site. Names and phone numbers
of volunteers are easily found. Requests can be made, filled with
qualified and interested volunteers and completed in a timely fashion.
This web site is being used for following types of projects:
Want to learn more? Come view the
Demo site — it allows you to
interact and experience the system. (Email has been disabled in the Demo to
prevent abuse by spammers, but the email log is active, showing you the email
that would have been sent.)
If you’d like to see the system as a volunteer, login with:
Volunteer Account:
Coordinator Account:
Username:
volunteer
Username:
coordinator
Password:
letshelp
Password:
letshelp
Once you enter the Demo site, there is a link to the Let’s Help reference
manual to help you familiarize yourself with the site features.
Within
the site you will see several “Help!” links —
these links take you to appropriate points within the reference manual.
The first demo site is based around a family where the wife has
cancer.
A second demo site is also
available.
This second site uses the same passwords as above, but is built
around helping to maintain a youth camp.
Like what you see?
Sign up
for your own site and use it for a one-month limited trial!
If you have any questions, feel free to let us know at
support@letshelp.us.

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