Farewell Friend

As someone pointed out yesterday, 2015 started with a bang! After nearly a decade of stable service, the “much loved” and much used database VolWeb suffered a major technical breakdown.

We knew more than a year ago that VolWeb was facing increasing risks and health problems.  And we all knew the day would come when VolWeb would do more than just show its age – it would face an age-related malfunction that would require critical and intensive care. And more than just a light sniffle, this breakdown has rendered the system completely inaccessible and it will take more than a day or two of rest to bring it back to full strength.

“Much loved” is an exaggeration. A big one! Like all tools and systems we usually only love databases when they work exactly the way we want them to. VolWeb didn’t have lots of bells or whistles, menu bars, or fancy videos. It was not shiny and new, and it did not do every thing we wanted. We never yelled “We love VolWeb” across the office. But, now that VolWeb is gone, we realize just how much we used it, needed it, and how much we will miss it.

Volweb was a workhorse, a constant companion, and a useful tool for thousands of volunteers and volunteer managers. It was developed a decade ago to support volunteer recruitment efforts for the 2010 Olympic Games and was later adapted for use by volunteer centres across the province. Since 2010 it has been lovingly cared for by the staff at the BC Games Society – who deserve massive thanks and admiration for their tremendous service and ability to keep VolWeb functioning with the smallest of budgets and tightest of timelines.

Volunteer Victoria has been working on a new database system called Volunteer Impact for more than 6 months. We had planned to launch the new system in February once all the technical issues have been solved, the data is clean, and everything functions as it should. But with the demise of VolWeb our ‘perfect launch plan’ has been shelved.

Yesterday we brought Volunteer Impact online so that we can provide continuous service to our member agencies and to the public. The new system is not perfect – but it has lots of new functions and features, and things to enjoy. And we hope in the not too distant future, we will hear member agencies and volunteers claiming to “love that new system.”