Just a few of the many schools using OnVolunteers

Donna SalahubChair,
Parent Participation Program
Vancouver College Catholic
Vancouver, Canada

The OnVolunteers system has caused transformational change for Vancouver College… we’re a more proactive and centralized program. With OnVolunteers, it’s easy for parents to get involved in our school community… The system gives us visibility into all our activities so we’re able to efficiently manage and control all areas of our parent participation program… we wholeheartedly recommend the OnVolunteers system to any school with a volunteer program”

We use OnVolunteers with every one of our school events and activities... In one year we've saved over 400 hours... that's time saved from countless emails, phone calls and tracking everything on Excel spreadsheets… It's nothing short of amazing… And it's just so easy to use, for parents as well as our volunteer team. I wholeheartedly recommend OnVolunteers to any school.

Chris HermesmannParish Education Committee
Sacred Heart School
Vancouver, Canada

Colleen BeggsPresident
Parent Auxiliary
Little Flower Academy
Vancouver, Canada

The OnVolunteers system is a huge asset to Little Flower Academy. The system has automated and simplified our entire volunteer process. Our parents find OnVolunteers very easy to use.. they’re much more engaged. OnVolunteers really helps us to build a stronger school community, hands down it’s the best system available for Catholic schools, or any school with an extensive volunteer program. We absolutely recommend OnVolunteers.

Success Stories

Vancouver College Catholic School Case Study

Vancouver College is an independent all-boys K-12 Catholic school based in Vancouver, Canada. The school has an extensive parent participation program which helps to provide much-needed parent volunteers for school events and activities as well as fundraising support.

Parent Participation Program and Challenges

Vancouver College is made up of three schools: Elementary, Middle and Senior Schools, with a combined 1,050 students. Approximately 900 families volunteer to help run the 40+ school activities and events each year. With each family contributing 30 hours each year, Parent Participation leaders track and account for approx. 27,000 parent hours in a typical year.

Prior to implementing the OnVolunteers system, the Parent Association used an online custom built system. The incoming Parent Participation Coordinator wanted to move away from the custom system, and towards a vendor supplied system, where enhancements and upgrades would be managed by the vendor.

In the spring of 2018, the Parent Association made the decision to source a new volunteer management system. After conducting a search and evaluating potential alternatives, the Parent Association selected the OnVolunteers Parent Volunteer system in April 2018.

OnVolunteers implementation

Implementation started in May of 2018 and took approximately five weeks. This consisted of the following:

  • ‘Volunteer portal’ set up and volunteer process configuration, the latter being specific to the requirements of the Parent Participation program.
  • Data entry of 80% of the school activities and volunteer shifts into the system; this was completed by the OnVolunteers team. The remaining activities were later added by the Parent Participation team.
  • Training of Parent Participation administrators and coordinators.

In summer of 2018, the OnVolunteers Parent Volunteer system was launched.


The new system has supported a more efficient Parent Participation program, due to the integrated signup and hours tracking process, internal messaging system, parent hours monitoring and notification tools, and extensive reporting.

Stronger School Community

The system eliminated the ‘hassle factor’ for parents to get involved in school events and activities. The ‘Parent Portal’ makes it simple and easy for parents to view and sign up for volunteer positions, and the tracking of hours is automatic. This has supported a stronger school community.

Ongoing Improvement

The visibility and transparency provided by the system allows the Parent Participation team to continuously monitor and review the program, resulting in responsive change management and stronger governance.

The Parent Participation Program Chairperson, Donna Salahub, says “the change to the OnVolunteers system has been transformational to our program… we have largely moved away from a reactive and decentralized program to a more proactive and centralized program.

Salahub adds “The security model is brilliant…. We have 5 administrators and over 20 coordinators… the system supports a strong governance model which we have embraced. We are able to distribute the work while reducing risk”.

The principal of Vancouver College, Daryl Weaver, says “the OnVolunteers system has made our program very efficient. We’re able to upload all our activities and volunteer positions before the start of the school year, this gives our program stakeholders complete visibility into the entire year’s program, all in one central place. We can see where we might have volunteer needs and be proactive in meeting those needs…"

Daryl WeaverPrincipal
Vancouver College Catholic School
Vancouver, Canada

Sacred Heart School
Vancouver, Canada

Past process

Like most schools with a volunteer program, the Sacred Heart School in Vancouver, B.C. had a manual process to recruit parent volunteers and manage family service hours throughout the year. Mr. Chris Hermesmann, Team lead for the Parish Education Committee at Sacred Heart said "We typically informed parents of volunteer jobs through our school website, and used email and telephone as a means to sign parents up. And we tracked it all on Excel. With about 300 families, the time to manage everything was just overwhelming."

Using OnVolunteers

On choosing OnVolunteers and getting started, Mr. Hermesmann added... "The idea of automating our volunteer process was very appealing. We looked at other volunteer systems but those really didn't meet our extensive needs. We learned of OnVolunteers and that it had all the unique features our school needed. So we decided to try OnVolunteers for our annual Walkathon. Getting set up on OnVolunteers, importing the parent list, uploading volunteer tasks took less than 2 hours. We started getting parents signing up for volunteer tasks almost immediately after informing parents of the new OnVolunteers process.”


With just their first event on OnVolunteers, the School enjoyed significant results. Mr. Hermesmann summed things up... "We first used OnVolunteers with our Walkathon fundraiser… we reduced the total # of hours managing our Walkathon from over 50 hours to less than 10 and we cut the hundreds of emails down to less than 20. Since then, we’ve been using OnVolunteers for every school event and activity needing volunteers... In one year we estimate we’ve saved over 400 hours, cutting our volunteer administration time by over 75%... that’s time saved from countless emails, phone calls and tracking everything on Excel. We’re able to use the time saved for other fundraisers… that’s a huge value to the school. It’s nothing short of amazing. I wholeheartedly recommend OnVolunteers to any school as an alternative to using email, phone and Excel to manage their volunteer process.”

Chris HermesmannParish Education Committee
Sacred Heart School
Vancouver, Canada

Little Flower Academy
Vancouver, Canada

Legacy Situation

Little Flower Academy (LFA) is a Catholic faith-based high school for girls in Vancouver, Canada. As a foundational part of its school community, LFA has an extensive volunteer program, with dozens of events and activities every year, with hundreds of volunteer tasks and over 500 families helping. To add to the complexity of running such a program, the school asks families to contribute a set number of commitment hours. Managing such a program manually, with email, phone and spreadsheets was a hugely time-consuming effort. Therefore the LFA Parents Auxiliary made the decision to use technology and engaged a school volunteer management software provider to help.

Un-served needs with another volunteer system

Prior to OnVolunteers, LFA had been using another volunteer system. However, the school still struggled with issues. While the software helped to automate parts of the volunteer process, it lacked key features LFA needed., such tracking $ values associated with service hours and the ability to account for un-scheduled volunteer jobs. Many parents also found the system un-intuitive and difficult to use. Parents and volunteer coordinators alike were not having a good experience.


LFA learned of OnVolunteers through one of the LFA parents with a younger child in another school already using OnVolunteers. The LFA Parent Auxiliary team evaluated OnVolunteers quickly determined it met the program’s unique needs.

Results with OnVolunteers

Within a few days, the LFA volunteer portal was fully operational and ready for the volunteer team to start using to recruit parents and managing its events, activities and volunteer tasks. In addition to providing LFA with comprehensive volunteer management tools, the OnVolunteers system also provides Catholic-school-specific functionality, such as showing volunteer jobs only to parents of specific grades or specific groups and automatically monitoring family hours and notifying families with low hours.

The LFA Volunteer Administrator, Risa Royer, says “OnVolunteers centralizes our volunteer program, making things very easy for everyone. One of the great benefits of the system is we, as in the volunteer team, don’t have to be involved in the sign up process, parents just go in and sign up for whatever tasks suit them. That’s a huge time saver for us. And the system is very flexible, we’re able to have an honor system that automatically approves volunteer tasks as parents complete them, but at the same time also have a coordinator-approval process for unplanned volunteer jobs. We find that flexibility extremely helpful, we don’t know of any other volunteer system that gives you that.”

Risa Royer
Volunteer Administrator
Parent Auxiliary
Little Flower Academy
Vancouver, Canada

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