Case study

1200 Tumbador volunteers for international rehabilitation centers

Not-for-profit organisation Tumbador has been supporting rehabilitation centres in Guatemala and Peru for more than twenty years, providing both financial assistance and volunteers who are happy to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. In addition to physical rehabilitation of children and young people with disabilities, the centres also offer ergotherapy, psychological assistance and social support. To honour our twenty years of being, we spoke to Stefan, Chairman of the not-for-profit, and Michel, who is responsible for fundraising for the organisation.

Tumbador’s story begins in 2001, when one of Stefan’s friends travelled to El Tumbador in Guatemala to work as a volunteer physiotherapist. ‘We decided to arrange a benefit to try to give things a boost. We repeated the initiative the next year, and a year later, the NFP was born,’ explains Stefan.

Supporting these kinds of initiative does require considerable funds, which is where the fundraising team has its beginnings. Michel explains, ‘Every year we send volunteers out to concerts and festivals. The proceeds that we receive from those efforts make up a significant chunk of the income of the not-for-profit, which allows us to finance the development aid. Activities that our volunteers do at those events include crowd control, looking after the bar, and getting to enjoy a concert at the same time.’

Last year, Tumbador’s database had some 1200 active volunteers, all of whom need to be assigned to one of multiple shifts. Michel continues, ‘Prior to 2021, their work was quite fragmented – there were two teams, one for hall events and one for multi-day festivals. Each team had its own list of addresses and worked out its schedules independently of the other. Information didn’t flow very well, and that sometimes meant that volunteers ended up double booked.’

The search for a single central scheduling system

To combat these challenges, Tumbador began to look for a scheduling tool with a central database in which it could create a schedule for all events and that would allow it to communicate with staff. Beeple turned out to have the solution. ‘One of our staff members gave us a demonstration of Beeple and it clicked immediately! Beeple already had a wealth of experience in scheduling volunteers at events and in vaccination centers, so really understood what we were looking for,’ explains Stefan.

‘It’s an incredibly useful system for us, the schedulers and our staff. We use Beeple to create all the events that we’re seeking volunteers for. Volunteers sign up for the shifts that they find most appealing and we then decide which candidates to accept. We always try to take our staff members’ preferences into account – we usually solve the puzzle pretty quickly,’ adds Michel.

Michel continues, ‘We always create a reserve list that we can contact quickly if something changes at the last minute, or someone turns a shift down. Our database includes people from Limburg to West Flanders, so there’s always someone nearby whatever the event.’

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

‘Anyone can become a volunteer by signing up on our website. Last year was a record year, and we sent volunteers to more than 104 hall events and festivals. At smaller events, you only need a handful of people, but we might need 120 people for a single day at festivals like Tomorrowland. So, we’ll welcome all the help we can get!’ concludes Stefan.

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