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Team Rubicon: Reducing Disaster Relief Volunteer Recruiting From 4 Hours to 2 Minutes

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams all over the world. By providing veterans a mission that helps them regain a sense of purpose, community and identity, Team Rubicon is building the strongest, most effective cadre of disaster response workers in the world.

Team Rubicon recruits, trains and deploys volunteer emergency response teams comprised mainly of veterans all over the world. Yet the nonprofit’s paper and spreadsheet-based volunteer management system severely hampered timely deployments. “We used Excel for our rosters and had to do everything manually. Communication was by email, and yet because we had 200 new volunteers a week, one-on-one email correspondence was completely unsustainable,” said Pat Ross, national membership coordination at Team Rubicon. “Because all of our information was decentralized and housed on individual computers, we really depended on human will to muscle through the volunteer coordination and deployment process.”

Why Cornerstone

Team Rubicon knew they needed a better solution to efficiently manage and deploy hundreds of new volunteers joining every week. “We were hoping to change the way disaster response works, but our systems were brittle and not scalable,” said Ross. “When we conducted an operation to the Philippines, we had to fly in 5-10 regional leaders to Los Angeles, review social media, send emails and man the phones. It took 4 hours to recruit, organize and coordinate the deployment of each individual. We really needed a system that could keep up with our sheer velocity in volunteer processing, orientation and engagement.”

Team Rubicon implemented Cornerstone’s Connect, Learning and Extended Enterprise solutions. “Cornerstone doesn’t crash. You log in, it works,” said Ross. “One of the coolest things about Cornerstone is that we can do a bunch of integrations through APIs, including background checks, personnel management and mass notifications. Cornerstone is willing to participate with other companies to make the entire ecosystem better and make things easier for us. In the software space, that is a huge deal.”

The Results

Reduced individual volunteer recruiting, mobilization and coordination time from 4 hours to 2 minutes. Via Cornerstone, Ross and his team can rapidly manage a volunteer’s location, find their airport code, deliver training and certify background checks. “With Cornerstone, it takes 2 minutes to verify someone is administratively and logistically ready to deploy. It makes a huge difference. We sent 60 people to Nepal and only had to make one phone call. We had zero misses.”

Delivered training instantly. Team Rubicon relies on Cornerstone Learning to deliver critical training the minute a volunteer is accepted. “How do you get 200 new volunteers a week oriented and familiar with your culture?” said Ross. “With Learning, we can tell volunteers ‘if you sign up today, we can deploy you today’ because the training is online.”

Improved the volunteer experience through faster communication. Team Rubicon uses Cornerstone to connect with volunteers quickly and efficiently. “Imagine you’re just out of the military, you hear about Team Rubicon, and you think ‘this fits the bill for bringing me back into the community and giving me purpose.’ Then imagine the frustration you would feel if you had to wait days for a response,” said Ross. “Part of our relationship with volunteers is making the entire experience meaningful and efficient. We use Connect to share information and create communities. They don’t have to wait days to hear from us. We’re getting them from ‘click to shovel’ even faster.”

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