What is a volunteer hours log?
Without keeping tracking records of volunteer work, you will never know what benefits you can experience as a volunteer now or in the future. For instance, when applying for a job, you can list your service experience in your resume, the hours you rendered as a volunteer relevant to the position you’re applying for.
You can use this valuable information when applying for a college scholarship program. It is crucial to keep records of all your volunteer experiences using a volunteer hours log. It should include the number of hours you served, the dates, a description of the tasks you did successfully, and the contact details of the organizations and supervisors you volunteered for.
Although there are several ways you can keep track and document all your volunteer experiences, using a volunteer hours log template is the easiest and most convenient.
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Why is it important to log volunteer hours?
Using a volunteer hours log help you keeping a record of the hours you have contributed to a certain cause. It contains essential information including your name, email address, volunteer activities, time-in and time-out, and how many hours you worked.
The information provided by the volunteer hours form helps you better manage your volunteer work while keeping your data organized. If you can track how many hours you have rendered, you can place a value on the services you provide.
The logging of volunteer hours also helps organizations measure and report the importance and value of volunteer services to the community. Whether you do this manually using a volunteer log sheet or you use a digital system, tracking volunteer hours is crucial for the following reasons:
- To demonstrate accountability
Many community partners make it a requirement for volunteer hours to get recorded in an official capacity on behalf of an organization. A log authorized by the supervisor or organization is a common tool shared between community partnerships like these.
- To improve the ROI of volunteer programs
The return of investment of a volunteer program can be partly measured by how many hours you and the other volunteers contribute. Logging in your volunteer hours can help the organization understand the volunteer program’s ROI and from this, take the necessary steps to improve it.
- Share the program impact
Through the log, the organization can show and share with their volunteers, stakeholders, donors, and community members how the organization makes a difference in the community. In tracking and recording the hours volunteers contribute, the organization can show the community that they’re having an impact and delivering on a specific mission.
- To help organizations win grants
Many non-profit organizations depend on grants and other outside funding to keep going. Many of these granting-giving entities require that these non-profits keep track and report their volunteer contributions. By showing proof that they’re volunteer hours, they have better chances of securing the funding they need.
How to make a volunteer hours log?
For your organization to find out the precise number of hours that you and the other volunteers spend in carrying out your duties, you need to have an effective volunteer hours log.
You can use this to keep track of the work done by all of the volunteers (including yourself) and the time duration required for the completion of your organization’s goals. You can use a pre-formatted volunteer hours log template to help you create this essential document in a time-efficient manner.
Following are the simple steps for making a volunteer log sheet:
- Create a new Word file
One way to create this log is by using Microsoft Word. You will find it easy to use this application for this purpose. You can create a file that you can edit several times. After you feel satisfied with the log you have created, you can save it in different formats according to your convenience.
- Think of your objectives
As a volunteer, you can understand exactly what the organization expects of you if there are clear objectives. This provides you with a specific direction to the overall process based on all of the formulated plans. It also prevents you from getting involved in unproductive activities and concentrate more on those that are important.
- Add your basic details
This section of the log contains the basic details like the name of the event or organization, your name as a volunteer, your contact details, the duration of the program, the volunteer institution’s name, and so on.
All of this information is crucial when keeping a record of your volunteer work. The same information will also be the basis of the certificate of completion that you will receive at the end of the event.
- Segmentation and structure
You can have an organized placement of all of the important information by providing a structure to the document. This will make it easier to follow and analyze. If you can make separate segments that place the tasks in a more detailed way, it will give you an overview of the whole process.
Make it a point to monitor your log regularly so you can keep track of the progress of your volunteer work. Monitoring prevents you and the other volunteers from slacking off. Conversely, it also helps identify those who are reward-worthy in the program. Additionally, you will get the chance to quickly adapt corrective measures should the need arise.
How do you record your volunteer hours?
You should start recording your volunteer hours on a volunteer hours form after volunteer events. Keeping track of your participation hours as a volunteer is crucial, especially if the value of those hours is very high. The information you record in your volunteer hours log can also help you in other ways like the ones mentioned above.
Tracking your volunteer hours isn’t a difficult task. You can use Google Sheets or Google Forms to make a volunteer hour sheet. Although these automated spreadsheets can be a great way to automate your process, you still need to do some things to make your recording process more efficient.
First, you will need to properly set up Google Sheets or Google Forms to come up with an accurate tracking form, spreadsheet, and reporting system. If you work in an organization, you can even share this with others. Here are the steps to do it:
- Create the form
You can use Google Forms for many things like quizzes, surveys, and more. Creating a Google Form from scratch seems like a daunting task but if you set it up correctly, you can quickly transform a blank form into a log for recording your volunteer hours.
Although creating a Google Form is pretty straightforward, making one for volunteer tracking purposes is a bit more complex. For instance, Google Forms has different styles to help you categorize your sheet. You have to consider which style to use before creating your form.
- Choose the rich questions for tracking your volunteer hours
Remember that you and the other volunteers will have to answer the questions on the form. Then you will record the answers into the document for you or your company to analyze. This document is your volunteer time tracking spreadsheet.
Whichever way, you still need to set up the right format for questions for you to get the data you need for your spreadsheet. Make sure you ask the right questions to ensure efficiency.
- Establish rights and permissions
For this step, you have a couple of options to choose from. Don’t skip this step if you want other people to access the form too. You can do this in the following ways:
Send the form through email to everyone directly from Google.
Share a link on your company’s website. Do this if your company has a designated resource page, volunteer page, or if you want to post the form as a reminder for others to log their hours too.
Embed the form on your company’s website.
You only have to perform this step once. After that, you don’t have to worry about sharing your form. Just make sure you do it correctly!
- Prepare the Google Sheets Download to ensure accuracy
This perhaps is the most important part of using Google Forms in the creation of a volunteer timesheet or a time-tracking spreadsheet. In doing so, you will come up with a Google Sheet – a spreadsheet with all of the information from the form.
Keep in mind though that there may be a need to organize the information you gather in a specific way. You may have to add formulas to sum up the hours together or categorize the responses of the other volunteers.
You may also have to create pivot tables to make it easier for you to analyze the data you gather. This allows all of the responses on the tracking form to instantly go into your spreadsheet.
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