Being aware of the time your volunteers spend on your nonprofit's mission can impact lots of parts of your organization, like volunteer retention, reporting, donations, and fundraising.

When nonprofits don't have an efficient system for volunteer hour tracking, they lose a golden opportunity to highlight the strength and impact of their organization to their volunteers, prospective volunteers, board members, and current and future donors. This holds particularly true when each volunteer hour is valued at $29.95 nationally. This value can be a key component of your messaging around the impact of your nonprofit and volunteer program.

It's well-known that volunteer hours keep nonprofits running. But some nonprofits overlook the fact that they could double their volunteer program’s value just by ensuring volunteer hours are accurately tracked and reported.

By consistently and accurately tracking volunteer hours, you can enhance your nonprofit organization's quality and impact of your volunteer management program.

Why should nonprofits track volunteer hours?

If a volunteer forgets to record their hours post an event it can have a huge impact on your nonprofit.

A few forgotten hours due to inaccurate tracking, or several volunteers leaving off fifteen or twenty minutes could rob your nonprofit of financial support opportunities.

Here’s why your nonprofit needs to prioritize volunteer hour tracking:

  • Securing volunteer grants. Keeping track of your volunteer hours will help you remain eligible for and receive more funds from volunteer grants. Some corporations donate money to nonprofits based on the total number of hours an employee spends volunteering with the organization. A few missed hours due to poor volunteer tracking can translate into missing out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
  • Calculating volunteer lifetime value. Keeping track of volunteer hours is essential for calculating your volunteer lifetime value. This metric can boost your volunteer recruitment and showcase your volunteers' impact to potential donors.
  • Attracting new volunteers. Prospective volunteers are more likely to join your organization when they see your total number of volunteer hours. They can see the difference your current volunteers are making in the community. This not only boosts your volunteer force but also saves time and money on volunteer recruitment efforts.
  • Increasing donations. Donors prefer to give money to nonprofits that are making a difference. Highlighting your volunteer hours and impact can demonstrate that people are passionate enough about your cause to devote their time and energy, encouraging more donations.

Nonprofits cannot function without money. Tracking volunteer hours helps nonprofits receive more money from grants and donors while saving money on volunteer recruitment and retention. This enables them to make a bigger impact in their community.

What is the best way to keep track of volunteer hours?

The best way to track volunteer hours is by using digital tools, specifically a mobile app. Tools like geofencing and automatic check-in can help ensure all volunteer hours are tracked and stored accurately, even if a volunteer forgets to log them manually.

Improving volunteer hour tracking

While volunteer hour tracking is important, tracking these hours effectively can be challenging.

Many volunteers aren't aware of the importance of tracking hours, and hence, they don't prioritize reporting their hours post volunteering.

Also, many nonprofits don't have effective systems for logging volunteer hours.

Even when volunteers remember to track their hours, they may only have rough estimates if there isn’t a streamlined check-in and check-out process for their volunteer shift. Other volunteers may give up on tracking hours if they don’t understand how to log volunteer hours using the existing tracking system.

Your nonprofit can improve volunteer hour tracking in three ways:

1. Encourage volunteers to track hours

Make time to show volunteers the importance of accurate volunteer tracking to your nonprofit.

Explain the benefits of volunteer hour tracking and consider offering incentives to make hour tracking more enticing.

When you encourage volunteers to track their hours and highlight the significance of doing so, you're more likely to get better results.

2. Explain volunteer hour tracking in your onboarding process

From their first interaction with your nonprofit, volunteers should understand the importance of tracking their hours and how to do it on your volunteer management platform.

Eliminate confusion by providing clear instructions for hour tracking and make sure all your volunteers understand that tracking their hours is an expectation. They will start with good tracking practices from the beginning of their journey with your nonprofit.

3. Use a digital tool to track volunteer hours

Many software solutions can help your nonprofit effectively track volunteer hours. There are platforms with automatic hour tracking, and ones that send alerts reminding volunteers to log their hours post an event.

Ensure accurate reporting of all your volunteers' hours by using digital solutions aimed at streamlining volunteer management.

Here are a few key things your nonprofit should look for in digital tools that track volunteer hours:


Considering that approximately 83% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, using mobile apps for volunteer check-in makes sense. Mobile apps provide accurate timestamps for service, allowing volunteers to report their hours more accurately.


Geofencing and automated check-in can be very useful tools for volunteer hour tracking. These are included in the volunteer management software we provide.

When location services are activated on our mobile app, it automatically logs volunteers in and out at their volunteer locations. This helps to make volunteer hour tracking easier, especially during events.

This automated check-in system takes the worry out of hour tracking. So even if a volunteer forgets to track their hours, the system still keeps an accurate record so that their hours are properly counted.


If you don’t use a platform that provides automated check-in, you’ll want to ensure it allows volunteers to report any hours they may have forgotten or missed at an earlier time.


Kiosk mode allows volunteers to check themselves in and out of their assigned shifts. Mobile admins can close kiosk mode post an activity and automatically record volunteer information and hours in the app’s activity log.


Volunteer coordinators have enough to manage without having to keep track of volunteer hours on individual sheets of paper or flip through multiple Google form responses.

A software solution that stores hours on a digital dashboard can simplify volunteer hour tracking. This will enable you to view reported hours instantly and store this information in one place.

For instance, our Civics Champs software includes a digital dashboard that allows volunteer program managers to view their total number of volunteers, volunteer hours, donations, and estimated volunteer impact in one convenient location.

While there are several excellent nonprofit volunteer management software solutions, Civic Champs offers a comprehensive solution with all the features above and additional tools to simplify volunteer scheduling and optimize volunteer communication.

Find out how Civic Champs can boost your nonprofit's volunteer hour tracking and volunteer management program by visiting our website.

About the Author:
Geng Wang

As CEO of Civic Champs, I lead our team of passionate change leaders to create technology solutions to create a seamless and rewarding volunteering experience for both volunteers and service organizations.