Let’s start with the basics first. When students volunteer, they typically serve their communities as part of a broader goal. Showing compassion by helping others is the best, but may not be the only, reason. Many public and private schools require students to volunteer for high school graduation. Extracurricular clubs often include community service hours among their members’ required activities. Tracking your volunteer hours is always a good idea. Chances are, someone will not only want you to show your hours, but provide some kind of verification.
The Dreaded Volunteer Log
VolunteerCrowd looked at 84 public high schools in Orange County, CA to see how students track their volunteer hours. Of the 70 schools researched 26 required volunteer hours, ranging from 10 to 40 hours across four years, to graduate. An additional 26 schools had optional student community service programs. The students who served a recommended number of hours received special recognition at graduation time. Whether required or optional all 52 schools had one thing in common: using paper volunteer logs to track and verify hours. Paper logs are easy to lose, and forge, according to one district that discontinued mandatory volunteering after learning that students falsified service records. In the post-Varsity Blues era, a verified volunteer transcript helps corroborate hours reported on college apps and in personal statements.
A Volunteer Tracking App
Another fun fact about using paper to track volunteer hours: It’s the same system schools used 10-15 years ago. We created VolunteerCrowd based on how students manager their lives – using apps. VolunteerCrowd’s student app makes it easy for students to find, track, and verify volunteer projects – all in one place.
How to Track Hours for VolunteerCrowd Projects
Click ADD HOURS on your dashboard: You can also select Track from the bottom menu.
Find your project: VolunteerCrowd saves all of your requested projects so you can add hours quickly.
Confirm contact information. This is the nonprofit contact who will verify your hours. If you use our hours verification service, be sure the correct person is listed so we can confirm your hours and ask for strength and skill endorsements on your behalf!
Describe your project. This is the important part. Colleges want to know how you worked with others in your community to make an impact. Example: I worked with a team of volunteers at the Saddleback Food Bank to assemble 1,000 meal kits for hungry seniors.
See your verified hours. Students who subscribe to the *College and Career Advantage Plan will see when the organization confirms the hours. Don’t forget to check out your strength and skill endorsements under your recommendations.
How to Track Your Own Projects
Click ADD HOURS on your dashboard: Whether you are tracking hours for a project you found on VolunteerCrowd or on your own, the first step is the same.
Select Add Project + : This appears under the word REQUESTED.
Add contact information: This is the person who scheduled and/or supervised you volunteer project. Accuracy is important. Make sure the information is correct if you want your hours verified. Use an email address with the nonprofit’s name in it. Example: Use email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add the cause and project type: You can select one cause. For volunteer project type, select event, volunteer internship, virtual volunteer, campaign, or donation drive.
Describe your project: This appears on your transcript. Include statements about what you learned, how you worked with others to support the community, or the impact of your project.
The Difference Between Tracking and Verifying Hours
Many students use VolunteerCrowd to keep track of their volunteer projects across school, club, and family community service projects. It’s a good way to stay organized and keep the details all in one place. For students who want to use their service transcript to qualify for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, get strength and skill endorsements from nonprofits they serve, and create a volunteer transcript for their college app, VolunteerCrowd offers a verified volunteer transcript service.