Best practices in online shopping dictate that users want to first see the items they are interested in and only then are they will to register and provide personal information. Far fewer people would go online shopping if they had to register or login first before seeing any items.
For staff members, the Dashboard is well organized and straightforward. All functionality is designed to be “1 click” (e.g. approving members, creating teams, deactivating needs). Posting a recurring need for volunteers for the entire summer can take less than 2 minutes. Many small charities and churches use MTN and most have little technical proficiency so we have to make it easy (e.g. to post needs, edit needs, read reports about who’s meeting those needs) to get everyone on board with MTN. Our efforts are to take every possible step/click away from users (to make the system easier to navigate), which has meant much more technology development work on our part but resulted in a more user friendly system.
Yes, MTN has been designed to be very user friendly. MTN is similar to shopping on Amazon.com. If they can check email or have ever bought anything online, they can use MTN. Actually, it is easier than online shopping because they’re not putting in credit cards and waiting for approval. MTN gets very few complaints from anyone about having trouble signing on to meet needs. Thousands have used MTN to register successfully for volunteer opportunities and events, both young and old, both technology proficient and technology averse.
However, it should be noted that in some communities and churches, online tools will not be the only way churches and charities to find volunteers and connect people to opportunities to serve. Trends in the business and social networking world point to increasing adoption of online methods of communicating. People in all age groups are becoming increasingly comfortable with online searches (putting in criteria, getting results that fit, and selecting the one that suits them best) and they enjoy the convenience (being able to do so at midnight on Friday or Sunday afternoon). But some people will still want to sign up on paper or by phone, which can work well in combination with MTN because you can adjust the number of people or items still needed by simply changing that number next to each need on your MTN Dashboard.