Automatically track volunteer time

It's a lot of work when you’re running campaigns and growing your program to have to also remind your employees to track their volunteer time. With automated time tracking, you can accurately track your employees’ volunteer hours without any manual work. When the feature is turned on, all of the volunteer shifts for an opportunity will be automatically tracked.

In this article:

Enable the feature in your program

Starting June 14, program administrators can enable the feature by following the steps below:

  1. Select Manage from the top-right corner of your program site.
  2. Go to Site Settings > Volunteering Settings. 
  3. Under the Automated time tracking section, select the "Enable feature" toggle.

Now when someone goes to create a volunteer opportunity, they'll see a toggle in the form asking if they want to automatically track volunteer time. 

Enable for a new volunteer opportunity

Anyone who can create an opportunity can enable automated time tracking. Follow the steps below to turn it on for a new volunteer opportunity:

  1. On the menu bar, go to Volunteer > Create a Volunteer Opportunity.
  2. Begin filling out the form.
  3. When you get to the Shifts tab, select the "Automatically track volunteer time” toggle.
  4. Make sure that all your shifts have start and end dates/times and volunteering time. Without these details, the automation will not work.

Now, when the shifts end, volunteers will get an email letting them know that their time will be automatically tracked in 7 days. During this window, they can still cancel their sign up or track a different number of hours.

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Enable for an existing volunteer opportunity

Anyone who can create an opportunity can enable automated time tracking. Follow the steps below to turn it on for an existing volunteer opportunity.

  1. On the menu bar, go to Volunteer > Browse Opportunities.
  2. Find the volunteer opportunity.
  3. Select Edit Opportunity.
  4. Go to the Shifts tab.
  5. Select the "Automatically track volunteer time” toggle.
  6. Make sure that all your shifts have start and end dates/times and volunteering time. Without these details, the automation will not work.

Now, when the shifts end, volunteers will get an email letting them know that their time will be automatically tracked in 7 days. During this window, they can still cancel their sign up or track a different number of hours.

Frequently asked questions

General questions

Who can enabled automated time tracking for a volunteer opportunity?  

Anyone who can create a volunteer opportunity.

If someone signs up for a shift, but doesn't end up going, will their time still be tracked?

This is why there is a grace period. Volunteers have seven days after the shift ends to cancel their shift. If they do not cancel their shift, their time will be tracked automatically.

To cancel a shift: open the volunteer opportunity and select Manage My Shift. Or go to your dashboard and select View Profile > Volunteering > Commitments.

How does it work for ongoing or virtual volunteering where there is no date or time?

If there is no date or time, you cannot automatically track time. 

What if I have a volunteering opportunity for multiple shifts with different end dates? How does automated time tracking work?

As long as each shift has start and end dates/times, any volunteer that has signed up for those shifts will have their time automatically tracked.

If a volunteer submits their hours manually, even though automated time tracking was enabled, will their hours be duplicated?

It will not be duplicated if a volunteer manually tracks time from their profile's Volunteering > Commitments page.

It will be duplicated if a volunteer manually tracks time from either the external track time form or the track time button on the volunteer opportunity page. Note, there are alerts built in so to let users know that they've already tracked hours.

Notifications

Will volunteers receive email notifications that their time is going to be automatically tracked? 

Yes. Volunteers receive two email reminders: one after they sign up for a shift, and one after their shift ends.

Will volunteers get an email notifying them that their time was successfully tracked?

We don't currently have an email for that. At this time, it's not included as part of the initial roll out.

Seven day grace period

Can I adjust the 7-day grace period?

At this time, no. We are looking into providing more flexibility and control as we build more functionality in the future.  

Will it track time after 7 regular days or 7 business days?

Seven regular days.

Program-specific settings

How does automated time tracking work with volunteer rewards? 

After the 7-day grace period, all volunteers for that opportunity will receive their rewards. One reason why the time is not immediately approved is in case a volunteer is not able to make their shift. Then they can cancel their shift and you can make sure that the rewards are not given out to people who didn't volunteer. 

Will automated time tracking work if I have the "Time Tracking Allowed Dates" setting enabled?
Yes. Automated time tracking will bypass this setting.

Will automated time tracking work for bulk volunteer imports with a CSV?

No.

Existing opportunities

If I enable automated time tracking for an existing opportunity, will the shifts be automatically tracked?

If the end date of the shift has not passed, and you enable the feature, time will be automatically tracked after the shift end date has passed. No changes.

If the end date of the shift has passed, and you enable the feature, as long as you are still within the 7-day grace period, all shifts will still have their time automatically tracked. We recommend communicating this change to your employees as they may have already received track time reminder emails. 

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