We’ve been trying out a new, simpler way to become a Samaritans volunteer in the north of England over the past six months.

We’ve shortened the journey so that a prospective volunteer can now learn about the Samaritans charity and the roles on offer, start to appreciate the emotional demands of the listening role, find a branch near them and book an interview, all in one single online transaction.

Although the new experience is performing well with end users, the branch volunteers who manage and administrate the service are making do with an awkward set of tools based on email notifications and Eventbrite.

Once the current experiment finishes, we’re planning to introduce new branch management tools that will make it much easier for our branch volunteers to monitor and control recruitment, but that’s still a long way off.

Between now and then, there’s a lot that we still need to discover about branch volunteer needs.

So, we’ve build an early, simple version of one of those branch management tools that we’re calling the recruitment dashboard.

It looks like this.

Dashboard list view and applicant view

The idea is that we can solve some, but not all, of our branch volunteers’ user needs right now, and at the same time gather insights and feedback that will be useful in building more capable future versions of this tool.

What it does

The recruitment dashboard is very simple. It lets branch volunteers:

These are all things that were either not possible before, or involved digging through a busy email inbox to understand.

What it doesn’t do

The recruitment dashboard is a very early version of what will eventually be made available to our branches.

Many features we know are needed aren’t technically possible right now. For instance, the list of applicants updates several times per day, rather than in real time.

By making the dashboard available now and inviting feedback, we hope that we can learn more about what our branch volunteers need from tools like this, and keep improving them over time.

Further reading

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