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Pro Bono Volunteers Launch Volunteer Management App – Kizuna

By July 28, 2015

Sometimes a bit of healthy competition really pays off! It definitely did for a group of Sales Engineers over in our Tokyo office who recently launched a powerful volunteer management app that helps reduce the administrative costs associated with volunteer management.

The idea for the Kizuna App, which means ‘Bond’ in Japanese, started when an internal Salesforce competition asked tech teams to build an application that would help solve a real-world problem – the guidelines were pretty flexible, but the app had to be build on the platform.

Why Volunteer Management?

For Akihiro Iwaya and his team, a volunteer management app made sense – Japan had experienced a considerable amount of natural disasters in the last number of years and organisations both local and international have had a tough job in managing the high volume of volunteers wanting to help with the response efforts – without access to the right technology this job is almost impossible!

The Salesforce team who worked on the app included: Akihiro Iwaya, Masatoshi Tomina and Kazuhiko Imamura. During the initial stages, they worked closely with the YMCA to better understand the requirements of organisations who manage volunteers, and also properly scope the project.

Akihiro notes that this was a really important stage in the development: “we have to thank Mr. Murakami at the YMCA in Tokyo for sharing his knowledge and experience and helping us plan this project. The Kizuna application was developed based on this, and because of that I feel it will go a long way in helping other non profit organisations.”

From this initial work, the team learned that many nonprofit and disaster relief organisations in Japan were managing their volunteers using paper based methods or spreadsheets, something that became a big problem when volumes of volunteers increased. Akihiro and his team learnt that during times of disaster, a phenomenal number of people wanted to volunteer their time, so it was important to make this process and easy and efficient as possible.

Development and Results

For two and a half months, the team worked together to build an app that would satisfy all the requirements outlined and provide real value for organisations using it. The app would integrate with websites and also with Salesforce, so volunteers’ details could be captured in real time and automated journeys could be kicked off from Salesforce. Events record could be set up in Salesforce and pushed to the users websites so volunteers could easily sign up! Using QR codes, volunteer could check-in at events, making it easier for organisations to track volunteer hours and properly measure volunteer response.

Masatoshi, who worked on the app says: “We asked ourselves – how can we make something really useful for nonprofits and hopefully, through our efforts we’ve helped to make volunteer management a lot easier.”

Kizuna App

Throughout the development process, the app was shown to humanitarian nonprofits so the team could get feedback and make improvements iteratively throughout the process. It’s a great achievement for those who worked on the project and also a great asset to the nonprofit community!

The Kizuna App is free to download from the Salesforce AppExchange. Check it out today and see how it could help your organisation get on top of volunteer management:

Check out the Kizuna App: in English, in Japanese