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6 Min. Read

How to Track Volunteer Hours and Log Time

How to Track Volunteer Hours and Log Time

There can be several reasons for you wanting to track volunteer hours and accurately log the times. You could operate a nonprofit that uses volunteer programs for events or use several volunteers as help. Or, you could be a school student trying to keep track of all your volunteer or community service hours.

Whatever the reason for wanting to track volunteer hours, there’s no need to use a spreadsheet to manually input the data if you don’t want to. There are tons of options when it comes to volunteer management software. It can be a powerful tool, you just need to decide on the features that suit your needs best.

Here is what you need to know for how to track volunteer hours and log time.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

How to Track Volunteer Hours and Why to Do It

Different Ways to Track Volunteer Hours

Time Tracking Process

What Are the Top Reasons to Track Volunteer Hours?

Key Takeaways

How to Track Volunteer Hours and Why to Do It

The good news when it comes to a volunteer hour tracking process is that you can track them in the same way you would employee hours. The time tracking should begin as soon as the volunteer begins their shift. And it will end when their volunteer hours are completed for that shift.

There is a broad range of volunteer management software apps that can help organize all the data. The main thing to keep in mind is to make sure the app you choose has the main features you need. Each app can have a varying set of capabilities and user interfaces.

And not only does tracking volunteer hours help you manage tasks and responsibilities, but it also has a few other benefits. Tracking hours accurately can allow you to fully understand the value that your volunteers bring. Their positive impact can become greater and the hours can get used to demonstrate accountability.

Different Ways to Track Volunteer Hours

There are a lot of time management apps out there that you can use to track volunteer hours. But, you can still manually keep track of hours with a log if that works best for you. This can be the simplest way to do it and is a budget-friendly option. You don’t need mobile devices or access to the internet, just print the sheet and have volunteers record their hours.

Manually tracking hours can be time-consuming, however. There’s a high level of attention needed to update the data and keep it organized. And this can be especially difficult if you have a lot of volunteers or they are constantly changing.

You can also use an automated volunteer hour tracking app to help organize everything. Maybe manually tracking hours is becoming too time-consuming or you are looking for an alternative. Volunteer management software can digitally track and log volunteer hours.

This can provide more accurate tracking and can allow you to manage all the data easier. There are also tons of other features that the apps provide. Which can include things like organization-wide tracking reports with actionable insights.

Time Tracking Process

To track volunteer hours and log time accurately, you want to have a dependable time tracking process in place. Here are a few things to help get you started and stay organized.

  • When a volunteer signs up, they should receive a breakdown of all the hours they are volunteering for and their tasks. Volunteer coordinators can then use the hours as a reference when scheduling or to log the hours for the volunteer.
  • When volunteers are required, make sure to have an efficient volunteer check-in process. This allows the volunteer coordinator time to collect information and assign any tasks. Have them check in at a designated table and record their names and the check-in time.
  • When the volunteers have finished their shift, have them check out at the same table where they checked in. This will contribute to more accurate time tracking and ensures all your needs get met.
  • After your volunteer needs are completed, follow up with the volunteers a few days later to submit their hours if they haven’t already.
  • You can now enter any data from your volunteer hours logs into relevant spreadsheets. Or, if you use volunteer management software then you can review the data and analyze the reports.

What Are the Top Reasons to Track Volunteer Hours?

It all depends on the specific need for volunteers, but some general benefits can come with keeping track of volunteer hours. Here are a few of the top reasons.

1. To See True Costs

The main benefit to volunteers is that they aren’t paid, which can help keep costs down. However, just because volunteers aren’t financially compensated doesn’t mean they don’t provide value. Understanding that volunteer hours play a role in how you achieve your goals is crucial.

Think about it like this: how much would it cost to hire and pay a group of employees to fulfill the responsibilities of your volunteers? Time is money, and the value of your volunteer hours can contribute to things like an increase in charitable donations.

2. To Keep Costs Down

It was mentioned above, but time is money. What would happen if all of your volunteers just disappeared? Would you still be able to operate in the same way? Or would it cause some harmful implications?

What would you do? Is there anyone else who can step in or are you going to need to hire someone new? Now, think about your answers to those questions. If most were ‘yes’ or ‘I don’t know’, then you can already see the true cost savings that your volunteers are providing.

Think if you had to pay your volunteers to provide the same services. What other areas of your business would suffer financially? Accurately tracking volunteer hours can help you keep costs down.

Key Takeaways

It can be difficult to accurately track volunteer hours and log time. You have a million other things on your mind and tracking hours can be time-consuming. There are no set guidelines, but there are some things you can do to help you stay organized.

Having a dependable time tracking process in place is one of the best things that you can do to get started. Outline all of the tasks and responsibilities that get assigned to each volunteer. That way, as they check-in for their shift they will know exactly what they need to do.

Making sure the dedicated volunteers know to check-in and out for their shifts will help contribute to a more accurate log of volunteer hours. There will be fewer mistakes and more accountability.

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