Tracking volunteer time

You can track time for a volunteer opportunity on behalf of other users in the program. If you find that volunteers forget to track their time, doing it for them might help you get a more accurate picture of true volunteer engagement. You can also enable automated time tracking when an opportunity is created to streamline time tracking.  


To sign up volunteers for an opportunity, you must have the volunteer manager role.

Tracking volunteer time for a single opportunity

When a volunteer opportunity has finished, users can track their time. You can do it for them using a tool on the volunteer opportunity: 

  1. Open a volunteer opportunity and select Track Time at the top. Volunteers are listed under the shift they signed up for.

  2. Review the hours that are input by default in the Bulk Time to Track column. Hours are auto-populated based on the volunteering time field on the volunteering opportunity form.
  3. Select users you are ready to track time for and choose Track Time in the operation dropdown. 
  4. Select Confirm to track their time.


Hours are either auto-approved or queued for approval, depending on your site settings. Time Submitted is displayed in the Track Individual Time column if a user's time has been tracked successfully. 

If a volunteer is not shown in the list, you can use the search bar at the top of the page, add users and Track time for user. The track time form is opened, allowing you to submit an individual's time. 

Track and approve time from the Bulk Manager

You can also track and approve time from the Bulk Manager. Go to Manage > Volunteer > Bulk Manager and find the opportunity. 

  • Select Manage next to the opportunity and choose Track Time to go to the time tracking page mentioned above. 
  • Select Manage next to the opportunity and choose Approve Time to review all queued volunteer time submissions awaiting approval. 

Tracking volunteer time for multiple opportunities

You can also track volunteer time for multiple users across different published opportunities. Go to Manage > Volunteer > Import Volunteer Time.

Preparing the CSV

For the import, you'll need a CSV file. Start by downloading the CSV template on the Import Volunteer Time page. The CSV may contain these columns or other fields relevant to your program:

  • Volunteer Opportunity ID: found at the end of the opportunity URL. 
  • Volunteer Identifier: this could be an employee's email, employee ID, or Spark user ID. 
  • Time Volunteered: enter time in minutes.
  • Date of Service: year-month-day (2023-09-28) format. 
  • During Work Hours: indicate 1 for Yes and 0 for No. 
  • Decline Volunteer Rewards: use 1 if the user should not receive rewards, and 0 if they should. If left blank, the user will receive rewards. 
  • Comments or Brief Description of Service: internal comments only. 
  • Volunteer Experience Rating: give a rating between 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest).

Include volunteer time in the spreadsheet based on attendance; however, note there is a 250-row limit for the import. Make sure that you have a header row as you'll be asked to map the CSV later in the process. The first five columns are mandatory, including the Volunteer Opportunity ID. If the volunteers attended an event not listed as a volunteer opportunity in the platform, you can create a placeholder opportunity with a name like "External volunteer opportunities" and use the associated volunteer opportunity ID for all rows.

Importing Volunteer Time

To import the volunteer time CSV:

  1. Go to Manage > Volunteer > Import Volunteer Time.
  2. Select Choose File and locate the CSV file you have prepared. Select Next.
  3. Choose the appropriate CSV header for the associated Spark field and select Preview Import
  4. Choose one of the following import options:
    1. Import & Queue for Approval: this queues each entry for manual approval by volunteer rewards managers.
    2. Import & Approve Time: this immediately imports and approves all volunteer time entries.

Common Errors

Here are some common errors to watch out for during the import volunteer time process:

  1. Unable to Find Foundation: this could happen if the volunteer opportunity has no corresponding cause.
    1. Try adding or changing the cause on the volunteer opportunity.
    2. If that's not possible, contact the support team.
  2. Volunteer Opportunity has not been approved: make sure that the volunteer opportunity has been approved and published before importing the associated time.
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