Your work is vital. We are raising funds to support it.
One of the biggest challenges to any organization is tracking volunteer hours - how many hours volunteers are contributing, and the impact of those hours (what was accomplished? what difference was made?).
How could apps developed for employees and consultants to track hours via a smart phone or feature phone be used by volunteers to track their hours as well?
Some time-tracking apps include:
Android Time Card for Android. Offers basic check-in and checkout features. Completed time cards can be emailed in CSV format for processing in spreadsheets. Time Card also tracks mileage and supports multiple languages.
ClockedIn 2 for iOS. Calendar-based. Creates summary reports by day, week, or month.
iPunchclock for iOS. Manages multiple independent time sheets. The app uses the iPhone’s location awareness to add another dimension to reporting. Data can be exported in different formats or uploaded to Google Docs.
TimeCatcher for Android. Intuit’s own time sheet mobile app tracks time spent on the phone with clients through a simple timer. The data can be exported as a CSV file, email, or text message; a future version will integrate with QuickBooks or QB Time Tracker.
TimeClock — Time Tracker Data can be exported to a spreadsheet.
Timewerks for iOS.
My only concern with these apps is that they all emphasize the dollar value of that time - something I think is very important for organizations to avoid when talking about the value of volunteer hours.
Any volunteers using these or other apps to track their volunteer service time? Anyone building an app specifically for volunteers to track their service times?
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
Jayne - in your TechSoup profile you need to post a warning -- 30 minutes reading jcravens42 posts can easily turn into "Shoot, I forgot to pick up my kids!" -- in all seriousness, you do a phenomenal job covering a vast range of topics from online strategies for non-profits to the benefits (or drawbacks to) mobile apps to helpful comparisons.
I'd love to chime in here on this topic for a couple of reasons. I work for one time tracking app you mentioned above (TSheets) and am also a volunteer by chairing a committee to build a fieldhouse for our local (and most of the year snowy) community. For both of those reasons, I'd like to share two thoughts on using a mobile time tracking app with volunteers.
1. You're absolutely right that the reason behind using an app has to be the right one! It's easy to inherently perceive a fixed dollar value attached to hours/time when volunteers submit a timesheet - whether paper or paperless. But truly it's to evaluate the impact and use the information generated from accurate reports to see how we can best allocate one of our most valuable resources: volunteers time. We appreciate our volunteers and value their time and therefore want to implement the most efficient and effective tool to track it!
2. Secondly, and this seems obvious but I think many tend to fail here: the only way a time tracking app works is if you find one that volunteers will actually use. In real time. If you sign up for one that only operates from a computer, you don't have the mobility needed to clock in/out from remote locations and end up with manual entries after-the-fact. If your app only operates on a smart phone, you exclude those volunteers who might still be in the standard cell phone era. There are solutions out there that cater to just about every person - with texting, twitter, manual, and dial-in features to clock in and out, take notes, and switch tasks.
One last thought - it can be deceiving when you check out time tracking sites and feel they are only catering to those who bill for their time. There are solutions out there that provide equal benefits/value to non-profits as they do for-profit organizations. You just have to fine that right solution that's simple to use and is tailored to the unique nature of your non-profit!
Thanks for reading Jayne!
Thanks for the very kind words, Kelsie!
"But truly it's to evaluate the impact and use the information generated from accurate reports to see how we can best allocate one of our most valuable resources: volunteers time. "
Dollar value regarding volunteer time doesn't show impact. What is shows is "Here's how much money we saved by not paying people to do this job." And when you do that, it causes major problems: paid employees start fearing they will be let go and replaced by volunteers, unions start protesting, funders cut your budget and say, "Just get more volunteers - they're free", frogs rain from the sky... it's something I rant about regularly (see the link in my original post).
So, while I understand tracking volunteer hours - and I do it myself, very often - what's *much* more important in evaluating volunteer impact is knowing what was accomplished, what was learned, what challenges were encountered, what was completed, what was left incomplete, who was pleased, who wasn't pleased, etc.
Hope that clarifies. Again, thanks for those sweet works!
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