First, let’s start with the basics. When students volunteer, they typically serve their communities as part of a broader goal. Showing compassion by helping others is one of many reasons you may serve your community. For example, many public and private high schools require students to volunteer for high school graduation. Most Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs require internships, paid or unpaid. Extracurricular clubs like National Honor Society require community service hours for membership. Future pre-med students need both health volunteering and job shadowing hours. Tracking your volunteer hours is always a good idea. Chances are, someone will not only want you to show your hours, but provide proof as well.
The Difference Between Tracking and Verifying Hours
Fun fact! Using paper to track and verify volunteer hours is the same system schools used 10-15 years ago. However, paper logs are easy to lose, and forge. In the post-Varsity Blues era, a verified service transcript helps corroborate hours reported on college apps and in personal statements. Showing proof of your volunteer hours builds credibility and helps colleges get to know the real you.
With VolunteerCrowd’s automated verification process, volunteer contacts are immediately sent an email to verify student hours. This is why it’s important that project information is accurate. Once hours have been approved, we are unable to make changes to the entry.
Volunteer Tracking Apps Save Time
We created VolunteerCrowd based on how students manage their lives – using apps. In other words, VolunteerCrowd’s student app makes it easy for students to find, track, and verify volunteer projects. All in one place! Plus, the end goal is to create a verified, online record.
Now that you know why tracking and verifying hours is important, use our tracking app and create digital credentials to include as proof on all your important applications. Note: At this point in time VolunteerCrowd’s app is required to enter student hours and is only available on iOS. Download the app here.
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 Volunteer Hours for 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 your 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.
Add the link to your VolunteerCrowd digital transcript, which includes volunteer hours by cause area, top organizations served, character strengths, and President Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA’s) earned, to the Common App or Coalition for College application.
Ask a volunteer coordinator with a nonprofit you served for a Letter of Recommendation that talks about your impact and character strengths.
Advice on Tracking and Verifying Volunteer Hours
Many VolunteerCrowd members ask us the best way to enter hours. It’s an important question because each VolunteerCrowd College and Career Advantage Member’s transcript updates with every completed verification. A few days after signing up, you’ll receive an email with lots of great information and tips about tracking your hours.
Here are some great FAQs, which are based on actual questions we received from students just like you!
Who can verify my volunteer hours?
VolunteerCrowd’s role is to reach out to individuals who supervised the work performed by the student. We have an automated verification platform and review every submission before requesting verification from the student’s contact. Like any program, we have rules and standards for verifying hours. The first, and most important, is the volunteer contact provided by the student. VolunteerCrowd allows nonprofits coordinators, guidance counselors, teachers, and club leaders to verify student hours. Every contact must have an email address that matches the nonprofit organization the student serves. Parents, other students, family, friends, or anyone with a personal email address cannot verify volunteer hours.
Example: A student submits community service hours for verification after helping at a pet rescue event in Santa Barbara:
Yes. Nonprofit organizations, schools, and shadowing mentors confirm hours based on the student’s specific project date, start time, and end time. We should also mention that accuracy is essential! If you add incorrect dates and times, your contact can decide not to verify the project.
Want to know the good news? As we verify your time, your transcript automatically calculates hours served by year, by cause, and toward the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Even better, you only have to enter the hours once, then share your official service transcript with your school, colleges, scholarship organizations, and future employers.
What happens if I write 100 hours in the description, but only list one date?
VolunteerCrowd’s app is automated to calculate hours based on dates and times entered. So, even if you state 100 hours in the description, the app only counts what’s entered for dates and times. Use the description to remind your contact about your contribution.
What if I submit a bunch of hours without knowing the exact dates and times?
We’ll be honest, guessing is a bad idea, and we don’t recommend it for a few reasons. Providing accurate information is the student’s responsibility. Verifying volunteer, shadowing, and internship projects is the role of VolunteerCrowd, in cooperation with your contact. Your contacts will get upset if you waste their time guessing dates and may decline to verify your hours.
Will VolunteerCrowd work with my contacts to get my history cleaned up?
VolunteerCrowd does not provide data clean-up services as part of our standard service. However, sometimes students need additional services beyond our standard programs. So, we’re happy to offer dedicated staff time for customized requests outside of the standard program with VolunteerCrowd Premium Services. With that said, if we are unable to clean-up the data, we will reflect the hours as unverified and may recommend you work with another volunteer program.
Will my contact receive one email or multiple emails if I enter many dates?
Some students add hours as they go. Others batch up the hours to send and ask us to consolidate verification in one email. If a student adds multiple projects at one time, VolunteerCrowd consolidates all of the projects into one email per contact. We know everyone is busy!
How will I know if VolunteerCrowd is verifying my hours or is having trouble with a contact?
We reach out to each contact a maximum of four times. If your contact is not opening emails, or responding, we reach out to the volunteer directly via email. VolunteerCrowd verifies projects for College and Career Advantage Members only. Dates and times must correspond to your membership start and end date.
Is it VolunteerCrowd’s job to make sure my contacts verify my hours?
VolunteerCrowd’s role is to request verifications from the official nonprofit or school contact that the student provides. It is the student’s responsibility to build a relationship and request support from the volunteer contact. It is up to the volunteer’s contact to determine whether or not they will verify hours. Fortunately, most volunteer coordinators and teachers understand that students are giving their free time to support their communities and develop lifelong skills. Of the tens of thousands of hours VolunteerCrowd has submitted, volunteer coordinators have refused to verify hours ONLY 2% of the time.
Will you accept National Honor Society, The Congressional Award, AssisTeen’s, X2Vol, or National Charity League approved hours documentation for verification?
This is one of our favorite questions. VolunteerCrowd believes automation is long overdue. We have agreements in place for some nonprofit organizations to accept documentation. You can find this list here. We are working with national clubs and platforms to create similar arrangements, but do not have permission at this time. Stay tuned!
What if I have additional requests that are not included in VolunteerCrowd’s standard membership plans?
We understand that families sometimes have specific needs and requests outside of our standard program. Take a look at VolunteerCrowd’s premium services to see if they’re a fit for you!
In One Place Instead of All Over the Place
Many students use VolunteerCrowd to track and combine volunteer hours for school, club, and family community service projects. It’s a good way to stay organized and keep the details on one unified, shareable transcript. For students who want to use their service transcript to qualify for the PVSA, get strength and skill endorsements from nonprofits they serve, and create proof for their college app, VolunteerCrowd offers a verified transcript service.
We invite all premium members to attend our office hours, where you can get project suggestions, learn about qualifying for the PVSA, and how to add your digital credentials on LinkedIn.