Use Google Forms and Spreadsheets to Track Volunteer Time

Google Forms and Spreadsheets are a great tool to quickly and easily start tracking volunteer hours.  Before we started Track it Forward, that's what we used as well.  There are pros and cons to using Google Forms and Spreadsheets when compared to a digital system like Track it Forward, but if you've already decided Google Forms and Spreadsheets is the way to go, then just make sure to set it up right.

How To Set It Up

  1. Go to Google Forms or Google Drive
  2. Create a new form
  3. Add fields for the volunteer - you can either have a drop down list of existing volunteers or just have them fill out their name.  I'd recommend having an existing volunteer list and have an "other field" just in case they don't exist yet so you can add them later.  This will help your reports a ton.
  4. Add a date field for date volunteered - Volunteers usually aren't volunteering on the day they submit it.
  5. Add a field for hours - either make it a number field or a drop down form.  I would not recommend doing a start/stop time just because that's an advanced calculation in the spreadsheet
  6. Add a dropdown field for activity - Make a fixed list of activities.  I do not recommend adding an "other field" for the dropdown.
  7. Add a textarea for notes - Make as 


Promote It

  • Link to the form in an email and put it on your website
  • Embed it on your website.  Go to "Send" and click on the "<>" icon to get the embeddable iframe code that you can give to your developer.


Creating the Reports

The whole point of tracking hours is to create the overall reports.  Thankfully with Google Forms you can set it to collect hours as a spreadsheet and then use pivot tables to create the reports you want.  I'd recommend creating these pivot tables:

  • By Volunteer Name
  • By Activity
  • By Volunteer Name & Activity


What are pivot tables?

Pivot tables are definitely an advanced topic, but if you're sold on using a spreadsheet then you have to use those to save you time.  Anyway, this is a lot of assembly, and this is what Track it Forward does automatically for you a ton of other benefits, but if you want a head start on this we've created a template with a pivot table you can take a look at.  Just add your email below and we'll see send it over.