Your volunteers are your most valuable players—they’re the driving force to achieving your mission. For those of you who don’t know where to begin tracking the value of your volunteers and supporters, a rather useful starting point is the volunteer hours log.
With a volunteer hours log, you can keep track of volunteers, the hours they’ve committed to your cause, and the tasks that they’ve accomplished. At Mobilize, we have helped nonprofits, unions, advocacy groups, and political campaigns and committees track the volunteer activity of over 4M volunteers. This is over $100,000,000 in volunteer impact!
Tracking, measuring, and reporting your volunteer data is essential to develop strategy, win grants, and showcase just how much your volunteers contribute. Let’s jump in!
Why Are Volunteer Hours Logs Important?
Volunteer hour tracking logs are integral in measuring the effectiveness of your volunteer program. Furthermore, they are an integral part of any volunteer management strategy. With a structured process to track volunteer hours and the creation of a volunteer hours log, you’ll be able to:
- Showcase the value of volunteers. We all know that your volunteers are your most valued assets—but you won’t truly know how much work they pour into your organization and cause until you begin to take a look at the hours they invest. When you monitor the dedication of your volunteers, you are able tohonor and recognize their hard work more intentionally.
- Demonstrate accountability. You’ll make things much easier for volunteers who must complete and log their hours for school, scholarships, etc. Having a tracking system already in place will make authorization of these hours much simpler and showcase to your volunteers that you’re invested in streamlining their logging process.
- Improve volunteer program ROI. One of the simplest ways to calculate your volunteer program’s ROI is by logging volunteer hours. Once you begin to do this, you’ll discover where you can make improvements.
- Share program impact. Don’t keep all of the good news to yourself! Share the amount of hours your volunteers put in with all of your stakeholders to show how impactful your organization’s work has been.
- Win grants. If you’re applying to grants, chances are you’ll need to report on your volunteers’ contributions. If you already use volunteer hours logs, there won’t be a need to scramble for this information or make a guess. Stay ahead of the game by consistently using volunteer hours logs.
Strategies And Tips For Tracking Volunteer Hours
If you're not currently tracking volunteer hours, there’s no better time to start than now. We have some tips for organizations who want to optimize their volunteer hour tracking process. By developing multiple ways to log volunteer hours, offering both automated and manual volunteer hours log, and investing in an integrated volunteer system, you’ll begin to have a better handle on your volunteer program.
There is no one “right way” to develop a volunteer hours log. First, you must investigate what type of information you need to track. This will let you know if you should collect hours by program/cause, volunteer, or time period. Is your goal to redirect resources? Then maybe collecting hours by program/cause will help you gauge how many total volunteer hours there are per program and see where resources should be shifted. Ultimately, the way in which you create your volunteer hours log will depend on your goals and the data that your organization needs to collect.
Once you have created your volunteer hours log, you will still need to implement processes that will ensure they are being used and used correctly. Things like volunteer sign-up, volunteer check-in, volunteer check-out, and volunteer follow-up should all be established to streamline the volunteer processes and to keep data accurate.
Which tools will you use to track hours? Some organizations opt for manual volunteer hour logs while others prefer more automated volunteer hour tracking. Manual volunteer hour logs are cost-effective and quick to put into practice. Just print or copy your sheet, bring it to your volunteer event, and have volunteers record their hours.
Transferring the data to a master spreadsheet later will help you upkeep a simple database of your volunteers and their contributions. Have no idea where to start? Check out our volunteer hours log template below to get started.
Automated volunteer hour tracking may be a better option for organizations with larger volunteer programs. Manual volunteer hour logs can be time-consuming and require more attention to upkeep than automated options.
Volunteer management software, like Mobilize, makes it easier for you to track your organization’s impact. Automate and streamline the tracking of volunteer hours, volunteer check-in, volunteer follow-up, etc. With volunteer management software, you’re able to focus on things like program quality and impact—not chasing volunteers down to keep track of their hours and improving volunteer program effectiveness.
With platforms like Mobilize, tracking your volunteer hours becomes easier. You can monitor hours with volunteer CSV exports available for download for all of your events. Paired with automatic nudges that increase event attendance and powerful integrations that help all of your digital and in-person volunteering needs, volunteer management software is an investment that works for you. With powerful integrations with CRMs, you’ll also be able to get a unified view of each supporter.
Mobilize Resource: Check Out This Volunteer Hour Log Template