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How Catholic Charities Implements a Volunteer Management System that Works

Maria Busko is the Volunteer Services Manager at Catholic Charities of Baltimore, a nonprofit that supports services for kids and families with emotional and behavioral challenges and mental health needs. Catholic Charities of Baltimore operates statewide with dozens of sites, including residential programs, schools, educational programs, and outpatient clinics. They rely heavily on volunteers for an array of tasks ranging from administrative assistants to mentors and workshop leaders.

Maria has been in Volunteer Management for over 12 years and was eager to find a system like Track it Forward to manage volunteer hours that were being logged throughout the Catholic Charities of Baltimore division. Up until she came aboard, they had used paper documents that were unwieldy and difficult to organize when it came time to compile reports. Maria first tested out Track it Forward with a dozen volunteers before implementing it statewide to manage hours for over 100 volunteers. Volunteers self-report their own hours remotely from their respective sites, and they can even log hours in the middle of the night if they chose to!

After hours have been logged in, Maria regularly exports the data from Track it Forward and imports it into their agency-wide tracking system. The data is exported in a standard easily-digestible format, which makes their data entry so much easier than it used to be. “It saves us a lot of time and headaches,” says Ms. Busko.

One of the most important features is the ability to classify volunteers according the type of work (Mentor, Intern, etc) and the site location. They use this data for monthly reports on different types of volunteers, how many there are, and how many hours they are serving. This data is useful for doing comparisons month-to-month on recruitment and retention metrics. Catholic Charities of Baltimore has ambitious plans on putting this data to use internally. Below is a sample report of their hours logged from week-to-week:

“We plan to become more sophisticated in translating hours to full-time equivalents and monetary value to really show the impact agency-wide. An hour of volunteer time, especially if it’s skill-based, is a very valuable metric. We want to be able to show that not only month-to-month, but annually as well,” says Ms. Busko.

Maria loves discovering and implement good system that work. She enjoys learning new things and finding new ways to make things work easily for everybody. Her favorite aspect of working with Catholic Charities of Baltimore is the opportunity to get to know volunteers from such diverse backgrounds and also be able to them find the right niche so that hours are spent in a meaningful way. In her free time, Maria enjoys relaxing with yoga, gardening, and cooking.

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