How to Keep Track of Volunteer Hours

How to keep track of volunteer hours

Tracking volunteer hours can benefit your organization and those who dedicate their time to support your mission. Your volunteers are one of the most valuable aspects of your organization, and tracking their hours can highlight their value and your program’s success. 

A volunteer hours form allows you to keep track of the tasks each person accomplishes, who is working at one time, and how many hours each volunteer has dedicated to achieving your mission. Keep reading to discover the benefits of these logs and the strategies you can implement for a successful transition to this system. 

Importance of a Volunteer Hour Log

There are several reasons to have a virtual volunteer hour log. These documents can highlight the effectiveness of your program and empower you to enhance your volunteer management strategy. A structured log allows you to:

  • Highlight program impact: You can showcase the impact of your program by showing volunteer hours. You can boast your achievements to your community and encourage more people to join your mission. These logs can also help recognize the importance of volunteering for your organization so that each person helping can see how they have a hand in reaching your goals. 
  • Showcase volunteer value: Volunteers are often your most valuable assets. While you likely already recognize that each volunteer dedicates their free time to helping your team, you can further acknowledge their support using an hours log. Looking at how much time each person invests can empower you to better honor and support their efforts more intentionally, such as providing a volunteer hours certificate or other award.
  • Win grants: Organizations applying for grants often report on volunteer contributions. By keeping an accurate and organized hours log, you can save time when reporting this information. Consistently updating your records can allow you to stay ahead of the game and always be prepared for the next opportunity. 
  • Demonstrate accountability: Many volunteers rely on logs to show their volunteer efforts to their schools, potential colleges, and other organizations. Keeping an updated log ensures each volunteer can quickly access their hours and provide this information to anyone who needs it. A tracking process exemplifies that you support your volunteers and want to make their reporting processes easier. 
  • Improve program return on investment: You can calculate your volunteer program’s return by logging hours. Making this simple change can allow you to identify areas where you can make improvements. 

Challenges of a Manual Volunteer Log

Some organizations rely on pen-and-paper tracking methods, such as using a notebook for logging hours. This strategy offers a simple solution for those looking to track total daily hours or encourage volunteers to log their hours manually. However, this method can lead to errors, such as: 

  • Losing pages: Pen and paper methods present opportunities for you to lose or damage papers. This method often only provides one method of storing data, meaning you don’t have a backup if things go wrong. 
  • Logging incorrectly: Whether logging hours or asking volunteers to sign in upon arrival, an incorrect log is possible. Recording the wrong time or estimating hours can lead to inaccurate times and reports. 
  • Manual entry problems: Even the most well-intentioned people can make mistakes. When transferring data from paper to computer, for example, you might input the wrong values and create an inaccurate report without being aware of it. 
  • Forgetting to log: If you rely on paper tracking methods, volunteers may forget to track their time. If the log is only available for specific periods, volunteers may miss opportunities to record or edit their work before leaving for the day. 

To avoid these issues, enjoy easy access to volunteer hours, and ensure data backups, you can use an app or software. These solutions also often offer additional features like communicating with volunteers or making notes about an entry. 

A solution like VicNet can address these issues by offering online access to volunteers through a mobile app or the web. VicNet makes it easy to check schedules, sign up for open spots, update information, and receive messages. Volunteer managers can access volunteer information and easily manage schedules or post available hours. Additionally, VicNet makes it easy to distribute information and recruit new volunteers. 

Strategies for Tracking Volunteer Hours

There is no "correct" way to develop an hours log, but deciding what information you want to track can point you in the right direction. First, you should evaluate your goals and work backward to determine what information will highlight your efforts.

There is no “correct” way to develop an hours log, but deciding what information you want to track can point you in the right direction. First, you should evaluate your goals and work backward to determine what information will highlight your efforts. For example, say you want to redirect resources from one program to another. In this case, you can use your volunteer logs to document the total volunteer hours per program to determine where to reallocate resources. 

The next thing to consider is the form your log will take. One option involves using automated and manual strategies to track volunteer hours. Leveraging multiple systems can minimize potential mistakes and ensure you have an updated account of information. You can also streamline volunteer tasks, such as using a volunteer check-in, check-out, or follow-up process. 

Why Use Volgistics for Your Volunteering Log

A secure system can make the tracking processes much simpler. A system like Volgistics can retain information with peak efficiency, saving time and resources. Volgistics is a complete online tool for managing volunteers. With this solution, you can: 

  • Track what you need: You can easily access the necessary information and generate reports when needed. You can choose to run reports on specific days, award bonus hours for service, assign dollar values to service, create service summaries, and more. 
  • Stay organized: Volgistics empowers organizations to stay organized by presenting a central location for document storage. With these features, you can upload documents, photos, waiver forms, and paper applications while allowing volunteers to upload files. 
  • Engage volunteers: Communicating with your volunteers is essential, and automated emailing and texting can make it simple. Volgistics makes it easy to reach out to individual volunteers, coordinators, workers scheduled for a specific day, all volunteers, and other combinations to get your word out. 
  • Recruit new volunteers: When it’s time to expand your volunteer team, using a system can make the recruiting process much more manageable. You can create multiple applications to provide a customized form for each department or program or develop unique forms for special events. 
  • Access a wide range of features: This solution has everything you need for program success, with a vast range of features to support your mission. Some features available include accessing a sign-in kiosk, volunteer portal, checklists, volunteer profiles, and multi-site capabilities. 
  • Connect with customer support: When you need a dedicated support team, you can rely on the professionals. Along with unlimited support, you can access live training and consulting when you need it. For additional support or information, you can attend free webinars monthly or opt for a private session to request personalized help. 
  • Skip the contracts: You don’t need to commit to using one solution for tracking. With Volgistics, you can skip the contracts and find flexible pricing options. You’ll pay a monthly service fee, depending on the system operators you need and the number of volunteers you need to track. You can also try the solution for 30 days before committing to a subscription. 
  • Plan your volunteer opportunities: Volunteer scheduling software empowers you to view schedules, add or remove volunteers, monitor open shifts, and schedule volunteers for ongoing or one-time tasks. This feature allows your organization and each volunteer to stay on track with their schedule and identify potential opportunities. 

Organize Your Volunteer Hours Log With Volgistics

Organize your volunteer hours log with Volgistics. Request a free trial

The Volgistics team consists of dedicated professionals who want to help you achieve your mission. This system is the product of many years of experience helping leaders to leverage technology and thousands of interactions. 

Our team understands the importance of your volunteers, and we want to make it easier to support your team and streamline processes. Volgistics is your personalized solution. Sign up for a 30-day free trial to see the solution in action.