Micro Nonprofit Accurately Tracks Member Volunteer Hours | Track It Forward

Micro Nonprofit Accurately Tracks Member Volunteer Hours

Pull Reports For Potential Sponsors & Donors

Showcase how the organization is utilizing volunteers and their time with instant reports on volunteer hour totals!

Keep Volunteers Accountable For Commitments

Small or large commitments can all be tracked and kept in one location - for both volunteers and admins to see!

Evaluate Programs & Manage Volunteer Coordinators

Use activity reports to see which programs need assistance, or might need interactive volunteer leaders.

Gardens for Charlestown Uses Track It Forward For Member Requirements And To Emphasize Volunteer Community

Gardens for Charlestown is a community garden with around 120 people sharing plots and roles within the garden. The garden serves as a community garden for members to tend, and as a public park for those who wish to see the garden! 

The garden comes together with the seasons and all the help of the members of Gardens for Charlestown. Then, using the community garden, the community comes together for events, or just to view the public park. It is a beautiful way to bring the community together. 

Gardens for Charlestown is a nonprofit organization that “exists to promote green space preservation, community, pride, and educational opportunities in the neighborhood.” The gardens are extremely popular and have a waiting list of over 80 people who are hoping to participate in managing a plot of the garden. 

Since obtaining the use of one of the limited number of plots is so competitive, there are some requirements that members have to fulfill to stay members of Gardens for Charlestown. Anyone who has a plot is obliged to give at least 12 hours of service during the garden season. The hours of service could be board work, cleanup and maintenance, fundraising events, educational events (Tend and Tell is an educational program for kindergarteners from a neighborhood school), and more! 

The board of the garden consists of unpaid volunteers, including Chris Schiavone, President of the Gardens of Charlestown. He explains that tracking member volunteer hours is important for two main reasons: 

“The primary use that we have of Track It Forward is for members to record their volunteer hours in fulfillment of their membership requirement. On a secondary level, we are using the tracking of hours to really capture as much volunteer service as is going into the organization because very often when we are going out there looking for philanthropic organizations to write us grants or for big-ticket items, one of the questions they always ask us is what other fundraising do we do and what kind of volunteer commitment we have.” 

Since volunteer hour statistics for members are used for two large processes - compliance with membership requirement and fundraising from philanthropy - it’s crucial that the hours are captured fully and accurately, which was not exactly the case before using Track It Forward. 

The prior method of tracking member’s volunteer hours existed in a binder that was located in the garden shed. Chris says, “I am certain we weren’t capturing all the hours,” with that method. Due to people forgetting, not being in the same location as the hour log booklet or manual human error! 

How Track it Forward Helps Monitor Hour Requirement 

Gardens of Charlestown frequently monitors and checks the progress of member’s volunteer hours through Track It Forward. For the gardening season, administrators can see which members might be behind or have not logged any hours. 

Then, they can go talk to these members and see if they have forgotten, or if they need more opportunities to volunteer to keep their membership. 

Chris can do this quickly simply by logging in and seeing how many hours members have volunteered! 

How Track It Forward Pulls Reports For Potential Sponsors 

Chris can also pull reports on the total volunteer hours, or the volunteer hours that have specifically been done for fundraising efforts. Chris especially likes how reports can be generated with as much or as little detail as YOU want. 

Track It Forward reports work in a checkbox way to showcase all the options that can be included on an instantly downloaded report. 

Then, any of this data could be showcased to other organizations, those who might give out grants or provide resources and materials to Gardens of Charlestown. 

“Tracking the number of hours that people are spending volunteer-wise is a very important proof-point for philanthropies to know we aren’t just looking for people to hand us money, we are doing a lot of work ourselves, too.” 

Activity Reports 

Within the reports, Gardens of Charlestown also uses the Activity Reports for internal evaluation. Chris says, “We are also using it as a way of monitoring, not only where the most hours are being spent, but what the correlation is to that and what our needs are.”  

Each activity or category that members of Gardens of Charlestown can log volunteer hours under has its own volunteer coordinator. These volunteer coordinators help manage events that members will volunteer at and then subsequently log their hours. 

Track It Forward allows Gardens of Charlestown to pull reports based on activities, so they are able to see which activities are gaining the most attention or seem to be the easiest to get members to do. Then, Chris can talk to volunteer coordinators about which activities seem to be not getting as much attention, and they can create a plan to attempt to get more members involved in that specific activity. 

“We use it as a board to really understand where we are getting really good volunteer response, and where we need to work harder,” says Chris. 

All in all, Gardens of Charlestown admins are especially happy using Track it Forward. 

“Adopting Track It Forward was, in the context of our teeny tiny organization, pretty game-changing,” Chris says. 

And lastly, Track It Forward’s simple design has been another aspect that he appreciates, as going digital is not always easy for a small organization, but simplicity always helps. 

“The simplicity of the tool, from my point of view, is the best feature. The fact that you can log in and make an hour log that quickly is incredible.” 

When looking for a tool, Chris found that this was the best option to support a smaller nonprofit like Gardens of Charlestown. 

Chris says, “There’s a lot of stuff out there for nonprofits, but a lot of it is designed for a large organization with a large budget. The fact that this is designed in a way that a micro nonprofit can use it really well is amazing.”

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