Service programs emerging from pandemic restrictions are looking beyond simply tracking service hours. So much is lost when service becomes about hours tracking on a spreadsheet. Today's service programs recognize connecting a volunteer to purpose happens well before spending time on a service site. Modern service programs are purpose built to consider a volunteer's connection to purpose, document their impact on site, record time spent and help the volunteer intentionally reflect on their experience. As service programs move past hours tracking on spreadsheets, we cover 3 stages of the volunteer experience that maximize service outcomes.
It is easy to get caught up in the simplicity of hours tracking on a spreadsheet. But so much is lost when volunteers just go through the motions filling out a form then handing it in at the front desk where it is entered onto a spreadsheet and logged for the sake of hours tracking. Today's service programs recognize building engaged global citizens starts with connecting volunteer passons with community needs, documenting impact and following up with intentional reflections. Let's dive into each stage:
1. Connecting Volunteer Passons to Community Needs
If you asked me to volunteer teaching guitar lessons, it would be a loss for everyone involved. But, if asked to voluntarily teach soccer lessons, the outcome would be very different. The unique passons of a volunteer are almost as endless as volunteer opportunities in the community. The bottleneck has historically been nonprofits not knowing where to go for volunteers and volunteers not knowing where they are needed. Modern service programs eliminate this bottleneck by connecting volunteers directly to approved nonprofits and national opportunities where volunteers find so many opportunities that they are able to follow their passions. MobileServe integrates directly with VolunteerMatch to provide service opportunities from over 130,000 nonprofits. It may surprise you to know the MobileServe community is actively helping fill 10.4 million open service opportunities!
2. Documenting Impact (Not Hours Tracking)
Connecting experiential learning to classroom learning through service reflections is so important. As Edutopia documents in their article Why Students Forget and What You Can Do About It, students lose 56% of details just one hour after an event unless it is tied to a learning concept. Quickly connecting service to classroom learning is so important that we devoted an entire section to timing in The Science of Exceptional Service Learning Reflection Questions.
3. Impact Reporting
Impact reporting tells the story of the service hours tracked. For some, impact reporting happens with individual parents seeing service hours completed by their student. For others, including impact reporting in e-newsletters helps their students see the larger movement while connecting the community to campus. At its core, impact reporting benefits from hours tracking but they are not one in the same. Hours on a spreadsheet are often just that, hours tracked on s a spreadsheet. True impact reporting comes when schools can quantify the good students are doing in the world reward and connect student service to the larger community.
We would love to hear how your program is evolving in the coming service year. Please leave a note in the comments below or contact a member of our team if we can be a resource!
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