You're Looking to Start Tracking Volunteers Hours - What's Next? | Track It Forward

Making Configuration Decisions for Schools

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OK, so here's the deal.

We keep telling you that you can "Setup your site your way", "It's not our workflow, but yours," etc etc. And yes, our platform is flexible enough to cater various kinds of organizations and address multiple types of goals. But we've also seen this and done this long enough to know that there are best practices around setting up your configurations to help you achieve what you're looking for. 

Primarily, the main differences will be depending on if you are tracking parent hours or student hours. Based on what we've seen from other schools and universities, we would like to share some decisions you'll want to make before you begin setting up your site.  

Below are the 5 main questions that we typically ask to help get a new site launched. 

1. What profile fields do you want to manage for each volunteer?

This is the volunteer information that you will upload into the system yourself, or will be requested for the volunteers to provide if they are self-registering. Typically schools request basic information such as Name and Email Address. We also suggest the following: If you track parent hours, you may want to request the student names(s) and family IDs. If you track student hours, you may want to ask for the name of the homeroom teacher or the graduation year of the student.

2. What event information will you request?

This is the information that the volunteers will be required to fill out after every community service event. So gather what really matters and keep it simple, such as date, location, and the number of hours volunteered. We also suggest the following: if you track parent hours, you may need to know what common activities they volunteered for (such as lunchroom monitor, after-school sports, parent pick up line, etc). If you track student hours, you may need the name of the volunteer organization that they participated with or the contact information of the on-site coordinator. 

3. What milestones do you need to track?

They are many types of milestones that can be tracked: single hour, multiple hour, volunteer specific, activity specific, etc.  If you track parent hours, you may have milestones based on what grade level their students are in or if the families are single parent or multi-parent.  If you track student hours, requirements may vary based on if the student is an Honor Student, IB Student, or Non-Honor student, or you may have requirements for graduating. For a full list on milestones, read about it here. 

4. Who is going to approve hours?

Depending on the size of your school, it may not be feasible for one person to approve everyone's hours. Select teachers or office admin that are vested in helping volunteers track time and most importantly, have the time to do it! If you track parent hours, maybe the person who does this is a PTA member or a parent volunteer.  If you track student hours, you may have homeroom teachers or an office administrator that does it. 

5. How do you want volunteers to register?

This one doesn't matter as much if you are tracking parent hours or student hours. There are two main ways to get your volunteers enrolled. Here's the difference: If your volunteers self-register, it may save you time, but it may take longer for them to get signed up if they procrastinate. If you import everyone, you'll know that every volunteer is in the system, but the downside is that scrubbing that date and loading it may take a little longer initially.

 

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