How many times have you found yourself struggling to read a volunteer’s handwriting on the paper form they filled out?
Or realized you forgot to ask a question 15 minutes after a volunteer filled out the paper form?
Or spent hours typing volunteer information into your CRM or spreadsheet after each event?
Paper forms are inconvenient, time-consuming, and bad for the environment. All of the time you spend printing out forms, reading replies, and manually entering them into your database is time you aren’t spending improving a volunteer’s experience so that they’ll want to volunteer again and tell all of their friends about your organization.
Now, you can avoid all of these hassles by creating a form that people can fill out in minutes from their smartphones. They won’t even need Wi-Fi to do it.
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In this post, we’ll dive into the key advantages of mobile forms, what elements to include in your forms, and how to organize the information you collect for more efficient systems and processes. We’ll also look at some automation tips and tricks to save you even more time.
What is a mobile form?
Mobile forms allow you to create, share, and collect information on the go from your smartphone or tablet.
Unlike a traditional paper or online signup form, the entire experience is designed from a mobile-first perspective (no awkward pinch-and-zoom maneuvers just to read and reply to a question). Some mobile forms, such as JotForm Mobile Forms, even allow you to collect responses offline (i.e., no Wi-Fi needed).
What are the key advantages of mobile forms?
There are four key advantages to using mobile form software, such as JotForm Mobile Forms, over paper or web-based forms, including:
- They save time. Both your team and your volunteers will save a ton of time. Volunteers can fill out mobile forms on their smartphones, and the data is automatically collected in one place. This means your team no longer has to review the data and add it to your CRM manually.
- They save money. Mobile forms are cost-effective since you don’t have to print out paper forms or signup sheets. You can also make unlimited revisions with just a few clicks on your keyboard.
- They’re mobile-friendly. Volunteers can fill out mobile forms even when they’re offline.
- They improve the volunteer experience. Mobile forms provide a better volunteer experience, so volunteers will be more likely to come back and volunteer over and over again.
What elements should you include in your mobile volunteer forms?
At its most basic, a great mobile form is simple, intuitive to fill out, and loads quickly (ideally within three seconds). The easier you make it for a volunteer to fill out the form, the more likely they will do it.
This means asking only the essential questions that you need answered and in an order that makes logical sense. For instance, if you only need a volunteer’s name, email address, and t-shirt size, then don’t ask questions about their mailing address, birthday, favorite color, and social security number.
When you ask a lot of unnecessary questions, you create more friction in the form completion process. The longer the form, the more likely people will take a quick look, see the amount of work required, and decide to put it off.
If you ask for sensitive information such as a home address, credit card number, or a social security number, you have to work harder to convey trust. At the bare minimum, make sure your form is fully secure, encrypted, and looks credible. Also be sure to explain clearly in your form descriptions why you need this sensitive information and what you plan to use it for.
Pro tip: Ask a friend or colleague who isn’t in your industry to go through the form. They’ll be able to help you uncover blindspots, spot problematic questions, and improve the overall form experience.
You can further increase the odds of collecting all of the submissions you need with these next-level formatting tips, including
- Integrate with the smartphone’s native functionality — such as the built-in camera, GPS, and voice features (i.e., Siri and Google Assistant) — to reduce the amount of effort required to fill out the form. For example, someone can use Siri to fill out their form instead of manually typing in all of the details.
- Use single-input form fields.
- Make sure the form is easy to navigate through a touchscreen (i.e., no small fields or need to “pinch and zoom”).
Pro tip: Don’t want to spend time creating a form from scratch? Use one of these free volunteer form templates instead.
Organizing all of your volunteer information
Another advantage of using a mobile form is that it makes the process of organizing and acting on all of the collected information simpler.
There are three main ways to organize your volunteer details:
- The most simple and straightforward is to tie it to a Google Spreadsheet or Excel file.
- You can also integrate the form with your CRM, such as HubSpot CRM, Pipedrive, or Zoho.
- Or you can build your own makeshift database with a tool like Airtable.
Creating custom workflows based on the information volunteers provide
When you organize your data in one of these three ways, you can create custom workflows that streamline your processes — saving you and your team a ton of time.
Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
- When someone submits a new form, you can automatically add them to your volunteer newsletter list in Constant Contact.
- Send a Slack notification to a team member when someone fills out the form so that they can send a personalized thank-you email (or video) and schedule a follow-up call.
- Check in volunteers at your event on your phone using JotForm Mobile Forms. No Wi-Fi required.
Using mobile forms allows you to streamline the process of collecting volunteer information at scale. And you don’t need to know how to code (or have any special technical skills) to create these forms. Volunteers can fill out mobile forms anytime, anywhere, even when they don’t have Wi-Fi.
Interested in creating your first mobile form? Here’s how to do it:
- Create a JotForm account. (There’s a free plan.)
- Build your first form using the intuitive, easy-to-use mobile Form Builder.
- Sync it with your Constant Contact account. When a volunteer fills out the form, they will automatically be added to your email list.
- Watch the responses roll in. Access them anywhere and anytime from your smartphone.