Start a New Volunteer Time Tracking Program | Track It Forward

Guide to Starting a new Volunteer Time Tracking Program From Scratch

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Push Back

How do you handle those that argue it’s not useful?

Buy In

Is it hard to get everyone to agree to track hours?


Will it last longer than a few months? or it will fall apart right away?

If Your Time Tracking Program Works, You'll See the Benefits Right Away

Measurable Impact

Use objective hours for grants and reports.

Increased Recognition

Volunteers will be instantly recognized for what they’ve done.

Improved Accountability

Know who is doing what at any time.

Follow These Steps to Make Sure You Set Up Your Program For Success

  1. Why Are You Tracking Hours in the First Place?

    No time tracking program will succeed without having a real goal. Tracking hours just for date collection reasons is not enough to convince volunteers to actually track hours. You might need it to keep volunteers accountable, to qualify for grants, or to keep track of incentives. Whichever, identify the real reason that you need a time tracking system.
  2. Run a Pilot with a Small Group of Your Top Volunteers

    Form a small committee of top volunteers who are interested in tracking hours, and have them use it for a few weeks. Work out the kinks, get feedback from the volunteers, and make sure a digital time tracking tool is the right fit to meet your goals. If it's not actually saving you time, it's not the right fit.
  3. Get Buy In From The Staff

    When first running a time tracking program, your staff needs to be completely on board with it. You need to show why it’s important to track hours and how it has already worked in your pilot and how that pilot demonstrates the progress you were looking for. It’s risky to move forward unless you have this unified top-down agreement.
  4. Training Plan

    How do you train existing volunteers? How do you train new volunteers? How do you train your staff? You should have an action plan to onboard them to make sure they track their first hour. It could be through an on-boarding email or just a website with instructions.
  5. Feedback loop

    Remember your initial goals? Your volunteers must be aware of that all the time otherwise they’ll stop tracking hours. Send monthly reminders, recognize those that have volunteered the most, and make sure you are giving out your incentives that you promised.
  6. Get That First Hour Logged

    Once you have everything in place, get your volunteers to log their first hour. Once they get their first hour logged, then the rest is easy.