Continuing on our blog post series on available software alternatives available to track school volunteers, in this post we’ll be focusing on Volunteer Time or Hour tracking software.
Volunteer Time/Hour tracking software is, as the name implies, tracks hours of the volunteers. This typically involves a 2-part process:
- Volunteers signing up for volunteer opportunities.
- Volunteers then logging and entering the volunteer jobs they completed.
Administrators or organizers can then verify the jobs volunteers have submitted, and the verified hours can be reported on in built-in reports.
Features of Volunteer Time/Hour Tracking software:
- Volunteers are able to submit or log their hours.
- Volunteers can view available volunteer opportunities and signup; different events and activities with volunteer opportunities are shown in different webpages.
- Site Administrators or coordinators are able to verify hours.
- Administrators are able to assign a volunteer hours ‘goal’, to which volunteers and their service hours can be tracked against.
- Built-in reports provide information on volunteers and their hours.
- Administrators have the ability to send emails to volunteers.
The ability of having volunteers submit their service hours inherent in Time/Hour tracking software is, by its very nature, both an advantage and a disadvantage.
In one sense, the ability for volunteers to submit their hours is an advantage because often times volunteers will do more work than the originally scheduled Start and End times of the volunteer job. So, the volunteer has the flexibility to submit the correct amount of time to the volunteer program leader.
The flip side of the ability for volunteers to submit their hours is, the actual fact that volunteers have to submit their hours in order to receive the hours. With online forms, when a parent signs up for volunteer jobs are automatically tracked and are given with the volunteer. In Time/Hour tracking software, the crediting of hours is based on volunteers having to submit their hours and the organizer having to verify the hours. And the volunteer jobs and hours that a volunteer signed up for are not necessarily associated with the job that the volunteer has to submit. For any submitted hours, the Administrator or organizer has to first look at the volunteer job in question to see if in fact the volunteer was signed up for that job. Then the Administrator can the verify the volunteer’s hours.
However, the biggest inherent shortcoming of Time/Hour tracking software is the fact that volunteers are simply not very cooperative in submitting or logging in their hours. And when they do, it is often late in the year. This creates a huge burden on administrators and coordinators, who need to go back weeks, if not months, to find the volunteer positions in question and verify jobs and hours. For example, in an elementary school, most parents submit their hours late in the school year. Administrators and coordinators need to deal with dozens, if not hundreds of volunteer jobs, going as far back as September of the previous year.
So, Volunteer Time/Hour tracking software, whilst provides features not found in online signup form services, have both pros and cons with the inherent way these systems typically work.
In our next post, we will turn to general volunteer management systems. These provide the next level of features above what Time/Hour tracking systems provide. So come back and learn about volunteer management systems.