When it comes to certifying organizations for the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA), students have a range of options. Make sure the all your school, club and individual hours count for the highest award levels. Schools, especially private schools, will verify hours but often only for approved charities. Individual military branches, government agencies, civic, national service programs, or businesses may also certify. VolunteerCrowd’s College and Career Advantage Program certifies students beginning in elementary school through college for all service hours with a verified nonprofit or school.
Deadline for 2018, 2019, and 2020 Awards
In addition to certifying your 2020 hours, VolunteerCrowd can verify your 2018 and 2019 volunteer hours according to Points of Light. Students must submit their hours before October 30th, 2020. (See below: Does VolunteerCrowd Certify all Hours?) Our program’s award begins January 1st through December 31st. Hours volunteered during the year count for that award year. When you work with a PVSA certifying organization, be sure to understand what causes the organization accepts. For example, many private schools, nonprofits, and clubs may limit verification to approved charities. VolunteerCrowd consolidates certifies community service hours across schools and club programs for 501(c)(3) nonprofits served.
Know Your Award Levels for Your Age
The certifying organization establishes the start and end date for its award cycle. Sometimes schools track in sync with the school year by opening the program in early summer and requiring all confirmed hours by April or May. This schedule works for schools that recognize outstanding service contributions at spring service-award recognition events. For VolunteerCrowd specifically, the student’s age on January 1st determines the number of hours a student has to volunteer for each award level. Example: If you turn 12 on February 2nd, and volunteer 76 hours that year, you qualify for the gold award because you were 11 on January 1st when the year began.
Kids (5-10 years old)
Teens (11-15 years old)
Young adults (16-25)
Combine School and Club Hours for Higher Awards
Students who join VolunteerCrowd’s College and Career Advantage program can track and verify volunteer hours across schools and clubs. The benefit is that students can reach higher award levels. If you attend a public or private school, college, or university that offers the PVSA, be sure to ask if the school certifies all hours or only time spent serving approved causes. Private schools and student service clubs such as the National Charity League, Assisteens, Key Club, may have some restrictions on counting hours outside of approved causes or organizations.
How Does PVSA Certification Work?
Students who join the College and Career Advantage Program can use the VolunteerCrowd app to track service hours. See our post, How to Track Volunteer Hours. We send an automated email to the nonprofit organization contact listed for the project with a custom link to VolunteerCrowd’s hour’s verification form. Your connection will see all of the information you provided include dates, times, and how you made an impact. The nonprofit contact approves hours and has the option of endorsing the skills and strengths you demonstrated while volunteering. All endorsements appear on your service transcript, which you can send to colleges and universities along with your college app. (PRO TIP: Every time you volunteer, be sure to make a lasting impression with your volunteer coordinators!)
Does VolunteerCrowd Certify All Hours?
That depends on a few things. First, the volunteer coordinator must remember the student’s contribution, so don’t be shy. Introduce yourself, check-in during the project, and thank your contact for the opportunity. Next, your connection must be a representative of a verified nonprofit or school. What does that mean? Students cannot list a parent’s, sibling’s, friend’s (or their own!) name and email as the primary contact. The contact’s email should match the organization. (Good example: firstname.lastname@example.org. Questionable example: email@example.com). Listing accurate and valid contact information is the best way to get your hours approved. Otherwise, students risk not having volunteer hours approved. Contact us with any questions.
VolunteerCrowd will certify hours for individuals with an active College and Career Advantage Plan. Trial periods are excluded. Plus, you need an active plan to order your official service transcript through Parchment for colleges, universities, and employment.
What about Virtual Volunteer Hours?
Online volunteering is popular due to Covid-19 but is not new. The same suggestions for in-person volunteering apply for confirming virtual hours: Ask your coordinator who is authorized to approve hours. Start with a friendly introduction and share a little about what attracted you to the cause. As you work, give regular updates on your productivity. (Example: If you are making makes, take a picture and email it and post it to social media tagging the nonprofit.) And always, always, provide accurate contact information when adding your hours in the VolunteerCrowd app.
Is There a Cost to Earn the PVSA?
By definition, the certifying organization that gives the President’s Volunteer Service Award must confirm students’ community service time that’s used to achieve the award. Some programs that offer the award may charge for club or program fees. However, there is no cost for the PVSA physical award – the certificate, pin, medallion, or coin given to the student. The certifying organization tracks, verifies, and reports hours to The Corporation for National Community Service.
Feel Good About Your Contribution
Earning a President’s Volunteer Service Award may seem like a big goal and something hard to achieve with school, sports, friends, family, and other activities. It shows dedication over time, which is a great character strength and can set you up nicely for community service scholarship. But if you find a cause you love or an organization that inspires you to make a difference, the hours will fly by. Involving your friends in something that inspires you is an opportunity to mix it up and make new memories. You’ll also discover that when you help others you can go far in life by learning, growing, and getting the recognition from colleges and future employers who appreciate your heart as well as your brain.