8. Tracking Volunteer Hours

Many of us volunteer a few hours each month for various emergency response agencies.  But how many of us are careful to document those volunteer hours?  It’s always appropriate to do so, and in some cases it may someday be vital.

For example, if the agency receives money through United Way, volunteer hours are ammunition to partially justify continued funding each year.  It probably won’t decide if an agency receives funds, but it may affect the level of that funding.

Each county ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC), Emergency Manager, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) coordinator, etc. has a procedure for logging volunteer hours.  After you report your hours to your county EC, he or she is responsible for reporting total hours to a District Emergency Coordinator (DEC), who in turn reports his or hers to a Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) who reports section totals to ARRL headquarters.

The American Red Cross now has a nationwide system for tracking volunteer hours.  All hours should be entered into Volunteer Connection https://volunteerconnection.redcross.org/ .  I learned last week that Red Cross national and regional leadership is beginning to pay attention to these numbers as part of their corporate metrics.  In other words, they are comparing the number of volunteer hours entered for each chapter.  If you are a Red Cross volunteer who is not reporting hours on Volunteer Connection, your chapter may already be suffering in comparison to others with higher reporting rates.