Start a New Volunteer Time Tracking Program From Scratch | Track It Forward

How To Start a new Volunteer Time Tracking Program From Scratch

Benefits You'll See Right Away

Measurable Impact

See and pull reports easily, showcase different volunteers, hours, or different efforts that volunteers are putting their time towards.

Increased Coordination

As a volunteer manager, you will feel more organized and easily be able to know what volunteers are doing, and recognize them for their hard work!

Improved Feedback Loop

By analyzing reports and volunteers, you will be able to see what aspects of volunteer management you need to improve - retainment, engagement?

Common Pitfalls You May Face

Push Back

Some people in your organization might not see the benefit of incorporating a whole new software program. Be sure to take them through its use and impact in a big picture way.

More Tasks

If you are not logging hours now, it may be a bit harder to get volunteers to do this. Explain its value and continue to push and motivate time tracking to make it a habit.

Motivation Fizzle

Time tracking software is only as good as the effort put into it - if it is not being used, it is not impactful. Fizzling can easily happen, just be prepared, and don’t let it get too far!

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

  1. Create Clear Goals That You Want Time Tracking Software To Achieve

    Since you are not replacing an old system, it is important for you to analyze what exactly you want out of a time tracking software and what problems in your current organization workflow you hop it fixes. Tracking hours just for date collection reasons is not enough to convince volunteers to actually track hours. Common goals could be to measure volunteer program impact, to check on productivity of volunteers, to send hour totals and volunteer totals to a higher organization, IRS form reports, or just volunteer recognition - or even a combination of all of these! Track It Forward helps a lot of organizations, especially if implemented correctly and with the correct goal mindset.
  2. Make Sure Track It Forward Fits With Your Workflow

    Since you are starting your time tracking program from scratch, you will need to make sure you aren’t asking your volunteers for too much. You cannot completely reorganize your volunteer program to fit this time tracking software in. For example, if you use an event calendar normally, Track It Forward can do time tracking through an event calendar. Same thing with a check-in kiosk! There are solutions beyond just having your volunteers log hours after they volunteer, these will help you avoid the fizzling stage.
  3. Start A Free Trial

    Before you showcase this time tracking software to anyone else, you want to know how to operate it and how it functions. This will also help show you if you really like the time tracking software and think it will fit in with your organization. Read help articles, talk to support, and start a free trial to get a feel for the software! Track It Forward is happy to offer a commitment-free trial.
  4. 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 free trial. It’s risky to move forward unless you have this unified top-down agreement. Be sure to showcase how the software works as well as the projected benefits it will have on your organization as a whole. We know they will love Track It Forward!
  5. Run A Pilot With A Test Group

    Gather 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 you feel like it is too hard to implement in this small setting, it may not be the best fit for you. Remember, the first go-around may not always be perfect, and that is okay!
  6. Training Plan

    So, if your organization and test team like the time tracking software program, it’s time to move on to all your volunteers! This is important, even if the time tracking software is so easy to you, you need to host a volunteer training session. In this session you can go over the software system and why this is important that they continue to do this moving forward. You can even offer incentives for using the software. 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.
  7. Get That First Hour Logged

    Once you have everything in place, get your volunteers to log their first hour. Be sure to be open to questions and help guide them through the system. You can also gather help articles and support videos if they need help and they are a great reference point to have!
  8. 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 the incentives that you promised. Keep reaching out to volunteers to keep them motivated and understand any issues they may be having.
  9. Keep Updating Your System As Time Goes On

    tMaybe a new feature comes out, or you are interested in using a different part of the software. Track It Forward is always coming out with new ways to make sure our software is updated, but you never have to use these features, only if you want to! Because you are starting your time tracking program from scratch, your initial set up might be pretty basic. Keep researching and seeing if there is a more efficient way to do what you are doing, or how new features can help you. If you run into a problem, don’t hesitate to contact support!
  10. Keep Motivating Volunteers To Use The New Time Tracking Program

    As new volunteers come in, make sure they know how to use the software system immediately. Your time tracking program should be instilled from the start with any new volunteers. And don’t forget to check in on those old volunteers to make sure they are still using the time tracking software! Once everyone is on board, you are golden.



Track It Forward is a time tracking software system that inspires to help you complete all of the steps above. We know how time tracking software works and how it is best implemented, especially for first-time users of time tracking software. 


We provide extremely helpful support, help articles, and videos for all of our potential clients to see. We would love to chat with you if you have more questions or want to know how we can fit in to your organization!