MG Volunteer Hours Reporting

tommie_jo(z8b TX)January 31, 2009

Greetings Master Gardeners!

We're to report our MG volunteer and continuing education hours monthly to our MG association which reports the total to Extension. Now, our MG association wants only those hours when you didn't have a Project Leader report hours via sign in/out log. Once reported there is no easy way for you to know the number of hours that were actually recorded for you per month or end of year total. Usually such requests for verification go unanswered or one has to issue repeated requests to get an answer. For 2-3 years our MG association has been working on an "on-line" system but that too doesn't provide feedback reporting.

I created an Excel workbook file to record ALL my hours monthly by category and I email that monthly as my report. The categories reported by Project Leaders are highlighted and noted as such.

Question: How do you report your hours? Do you get feedback on the hours you report? Do you have an "on-line" reporting program? What problem do you have reporting your hours.


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Hi TJ -

I created a Word.doc with tables - so essentially do the same thing as you do in Excel - and email them. Our MG Timekeeper doesn't do Excel. Helps me keep better track of hours - my timesheet (due today) totals 60.75 hours, and STILL don't remember to record a lot of time. I do copy the 'hours' column into Excel to do the calculation, though - too much time and chance of error to punch all the buttons on a calculator.

We still report all hours - even to meetings/sessions etc., where a sign-in sheet is used. If I sign in at a meeting, but don't report the hours on my timesheet, I don't get credit anyway - so apparently our timekeeping system is not as efficient as yours.
Our MG organization is now developing a website for online timesheet submission. Hopefully up'n running this year.

We have difficulty getting feedback from our timekeeper as well, but I just keep track of my hours accumulated on my own timesheets by using the same form as a monthly record of total hours on successive lines.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 2:52PM
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tommie_jo(z8b TX)


I use a spiral bound purse sized (slightly larger than pocket sized) calendar to keep track of my hours on a daily basis. I have 8 years worth of backup to my volunteer/ceu hours. Without the pocket calendar I would be dropping hours all over the place!

Give it a try.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 4:37PM
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We have a form we can fill out and mail, email, fax, or deliver by hand. We can also call our secretary with the info. I've never had a problem getting an answer about how many hours I've reported. The office uses some program (I don't know which one but suspect its Excel) to keep track and then reports to the state from that.

One thing that may make a difference is the fact that we don't have a local association. In our county we are strictly under the state cooperative extension. There is a state association but not many local MGs belong. In the ten years I've been a Master Gardener, we've been very fortunate to have people in the extension office (administrative assistant and MG coordinator as well as the agents) that think the MGs walk on water! They treat us extremely well and really appreciate the time and expertise we give the community. I've never heard of a "reasonable" request from a MG not being answered.

I know the record keeping seems very tedious but so much of our funding depends on the results that it's very important. Especially now with everybody facing budget cuts, showing that the MGs are a valuable part of cooperative extension makes a difference. It might not prevent the cuts, but it may mean they are not as steep as in some other areas.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 4:56PM
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tommie_jo(z8b TX)

Gardener Sandy,

Only the total monthly hours are reported to the county Extension office - the Association Membership Director is the only one who can verify recorded hours from individual MGs and that depends on how familiar they are with extracting data from the program or they must perform a manual review to come up with the figure.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 5:54PM
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That sounds complicated, Tommie. Plus, I worry about too many "layers" of people (some of them not very computer savy) keeping these records. Not that we're paid for our time or anything like that but the personal satisfaction of knowing how many hours we've volunteered is important to a lot of the MGs. I don't keep very good records except long enough to report to our office. Maybe I should start! LOL


    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 11:15AM
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tommie_jo(z8b TX)


Right on...the point I keep pushing is MGs who report their hours want to be assured those total hours are credited to them and if they go above and beyond, there is some recognition and appreciation of their efforts.

I've been a certified MG for 9 years exceeding all the re-certification requirements each of those years but only I know that for certain and whomever I directly report my hours to. There never has been a letter sent to each of us who has put in the effort congratulating us on achieving re-certification.

How does your county agent handle re-certification and what happens to those who don't reach the goal?


    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 10:05AM
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Our MG coordinator keeps track of hours of continuing education and volunteering for each of us. When we reach certain milestones, such as 250 or 500 hours of volunteer time, we receive recognition at the annual graduation party for the new MGs as well as a certificate and a pin. For more significant milestones, a few have received a shirt or jacket.

Our state mandates at least 8 hours a year. If somebody does not reach their required hours for CE or for volunteering, they are no longer a Master Gardener. There is a provision for being placed on an inactive list for a year if there are extenuating circumstances, such as illness. During that year they may not volunteer or take advanced training. The coordinator said "there are liability reasons for the volunteer and education requirements and why not meeting those requirements would 'void' their MG status."

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:15AM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

We are required to volunteer at least 12 hours of service time, and achieve at least 6 hours of continuing education to be re-certified.

I worked to update our hours reporting form last year, to keep track of hours that are turned in on a monthly basis to a time keeper in our group. I do mine on the computer, and email it to her.

Time keeping is so important to the MG. We went from 743 hours ($13,381.43 value) total for our group 4 years ago to 2,581.75 last year, for a dollar value of $50,369.94! We are recognized at the Chamber of Commerce banquet once a year, and the County as a whole is aware of the program, and the good we do. They treat us very well.

We do try to work with those who don't get their hours. There are people who just have problems at certain times in their lives, and they do appreciate us working with them. We don't throw them away, but we don't hound them to stay if they are not interested either.

I keep a purse size calendar like Tommie Jo. We usually fill out our calendars together at the end of a workshop or workday . When I get home, I log it on my computer in a desktop log I created, and at the end of the month, I transfer it all to the hours report form and email it to Peggy. It seems like a lot, but doesn't take much time at all, and it is worth it. Last year, I logged 428.5 hours by myself.

My DH calls me a 'career MG'. LOL


    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 1:39PM
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My last post may have been misleading about the hour requirements for our MGs. We have to have 20 volunteer hours a year as well as the 8 hours of continuing education. There are plenty of opportunities for everybody to get all the hours they need and then some.

As with any group, some do the minimum, some do a lot more, and some do LOTS & LOTS more. We have about 20 MGs a year that drop out for a variety of reasons. But with a new class of around 20 each year, we maintain a group of around one hundred.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 7:24PM
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LSU's Extension Service requests that we report our hours online. They developed a program that not only keeps track of volunteer/education hours, but it also keeps track of how many contacts you made, extra money spent, and mileage. It is wonderful because you can search previous years to see how much has been accomplished. I use these reports for our annual awards ceremony.

Now for those members who choose not to report online, they send their info to a coordinator who in turn reports it online for them. This way, all hours are reported online.

Cheryl (La-Terre Master Gardener)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:00AM
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tommie_jo(z8b TX)


That's great! Sounds just like what we're looking you have a LSU Extension contact that we can get more information from?



    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:20AM
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napapen(ca 15)

In California we are reporting our hours on line. There are a few holdouts for whom the membership committee posts on line.
For each activity we also need to classify hours to certain categories. The new class is being instructed on how to post hours.

Since I am membership chair, I go through the hours periodically and correct classifications and occasionally correct the imput. At first it was a lot of confusion but
except for a few individuals who claim they can't do it or don't have a computer, we are up to speed.

The information is used by our advisor to determine where the hours went for various projects to find out if we are reaching the public.

Napa Valley

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 3:28PM
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jane_socal(Sunset 23/z10)

I'm in California too, like Penny, and our county was required to start using the new online system as of last month. (Before that, we would send them in on Excel spreadsheeets either over the internet or on paper, to the administrative assistant for the County office.) For each entry, there's a long pulldown menu from which we have to assign a named project.

We're only allowed to include driving or transportation time if it's in excess of 1/2 hour each way, and that's only for volunteer time.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 5:37AM
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napapen(ca 15)

Wow, we can't use drive time so some people who live 30 minutes or more away keep track to take off their taxes.

Yesterday, we (I watched) created an excell to record lifetime hours. It took 3 hours but makes a big difference in promoting interns, stars and gold badges.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 5:03PM
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