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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why Report Hours?

Reporting hours, along with other data collection is federally mandated. As a federally-funded program, RSVP must abide by the accountability and compliance guidelines and standards set by governmental agencies.

This data also represents a statistical snapshot of what we are accomplishing with regard to the mission of RSVP — which is to engage volunteers in activities that will make a difference in our communities by meeting the needs of nonprofits and the people they serve. The data we collect is sent to legislators and other funders and helps them to determine allocation amounts for our program.

Reporting hours also verifies RSVP-registered volunteers have been active over the course of the fiscal year. Only those volunteers who are serving in the current year are eligible to enjoy the benefits of RSVP, e.g., supplemental insurance coverage, recognition events, the newsletters, etc.

Reporting hours keeps RSVP volunteers insured. The hours reported and signed by the volunteer and/or the volunteer supervisor is the only documentation we have that an individual is serving at a site or participating in a volunteer activity. If we have no written documentation, our supplemental insurance policy does not cover that volunteer in the event of injury.

Reporting hours helps local nonprofits tell their story of service to the community and to funders. Accurate records about the volunteers that serve at local sites allow local nonprofits to highlight the fact that they are utilizing volunteers to help provide their services. This represents a cost savings to already tightly-budgeted organizations, as well as in-kind match for their budgets. This leveraging of funds is critical — and potential funders look positively upon this wise and creative fiscal management.

RSVP, through its national efforts and marketing tools, promotes an image of today's seniors as active and contributing members of their communities. This helps to dispel the myths held by some that older adults are a drain on society — financially and otherwise. As a national network of over 500,000 volunteers and 750 projects, the RSVP program promotes expertise and advocacy for volunteerism by older adults. The more we can track, on a local level (and, by extension, a national level) the reality of the contributions of today’s volunteers, the more we help dispel the stereotypes surrounding aging.

Tracking volunteer data is a valuable tool in detailing and highlighting how volunteers impact a community, what they actually accomplish, and just how valuable they are to the operation of hundreds of nonprofit organizations, schools, and health care facilities in communities and cities nationwide. Without the tracking done by RSVP, the efforts of volunteers remain unidentified in any comprehensive way.

Courtesy of:
Nan Hart
RSVP & The Volunteer Center/Green Mountain Foster Grandparent Program: One-2-One Program
Executive Director
6 Court St.
Rutland, VT 05701

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