Tracking Volunteer Time Off: A How-To Guide [& Template]

In today’s competitive landscape, nonprofits are constantly looking for new ways to attract and retain dedicated volunteers. Fortunately, one way to incentivize and enhance engagement in volunteer activities involves rallying volunteers to participate in their employers’ Volunteer Time Off programs. In order to do so effectively, your organization will first need to establish a system for tracking volunteer time off.

That’s where this guide comes in!

VTO offers volunteers flexibility from professional commitments by freeing up their time to support their favorite causes. By leveraging these programs in your engagement efforts, your organization can create a supportive environment that values and encourages volunteers’ time.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Read on to gain the tools and knowledge needed to seamlessly track VTO for your organization and its supporters. Discover practical tips designed to streamline the experience, ensuring your dedicated volunteers feel valued and empowered to continue their support.

What is Volunteer Time Off Tracking?

Businesses with generous employee volunteer incentives, such as paid VTO hours, often require an established process for staff to request and track their volunteer time off. While it can vary from one company to the next, the process of tracking volunteer time generally involves two key components:

  • A request for time off, completed and submitted by the employee to the company before the volunteer event
  • A detailed hour-tracking log, completed and submitted by the employee (and sometimes verified by the organization) to the company after the volunteer event

Depending on the company a volunteer works for, the specific steps they’ll take⁠ and the tools they’ll use to track their time can differ. This may range from a Google Form or paper sign-in sheet to a complete Human Resources Information System (HRIS) or corporate Volunteer Management Software (VMS).

Here’s what a few employers’ policies say about tracking volunteer time off:

Sample volunteer time off tracking policy“Employees must receive prior approval from their supervisor before using paid time off for external volunteer activities.  Requests for external volunteer paid time off should be made in writing and with reasonable advance notice.
ASU Enterprise Technology


Sample volunteer time off tracking policy“VTO must be requested 30 days in advance and approved by the immediate supervisor. The supervisor will review the request and confirm or deny approval. The department may require acceptable proof that VTO time taken is within the purpose of this policy.”
Baylor College of Medicine


Sample volunteer time off tracking policy“VTO leave is to be used exclusively for volunteer activities, and employees will be required to submit written confirmation from the non-profit organization of their volunteer time to their supervisor within one business day to be paid. The Workday system will be updated to allow management to properly classify this time as VTO.”
⁠— City of Akron


Sample volunteer time off tracking policy“Upon completion of volunteering, the employee must complete the online Volunteer Time Off Tracking Form within three business days of the time off (hourly employees will also use VOL when tracking their hours in Kronos).”

Benefits of Tracking Volunteer Time Off For Nonprofits

Tracking volunteer hours for corporate Volunteer Time Off programs offers numerous advantages for organizations. This is especially true as they aim to ramp up the impact of their volunteer programs by effectively utilizing VTO.

Here are some key benefits:

Benefits of tracking volunteer time off

Streamlining the VTO Request Process ⁠— When volunteer hours are tracked effectively and efficiently, it simplifies the process for volunteers to receive their paid-out time. The more positive their workplace giving experience is, the more inclined they’ll be to participate in other giving programs down the line!

Verifying Volunteers’ VTO Requests ⁠— Some companies will want your organization to confirm the accuracy of their employees’ volunteer hour requests. Effective time-tracking practices make it easy for your team to do so with verifiable documentation, thereby establishing a sense of transparency while reducing the administrative lift required.

Ensuring Accurate Reimbursement — Proper hour-tracking ensures that volunteers are reimbursed accurately for their time. When financial roadblocks are removed, your volunteers will be more likely to support your efforts again and again.

Identifying Volunteer Grant Opportunities ⁠— There’s often an overlap between companies offering VTO and companies offering volunteer grants (or Dollars for Doers). That means some of your volunteers’ companies might even be willing to contribute grant funding to your organization, depending on the number of hours their employees spend with your cause. With effective time-tracking practices in place for your volunteer base, you can uncover opportunities to further engage your supporters and receive additional revenue through the programs.

Volunteer Time Off Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Track

As you begin implementing your plan for tracking volunteer time off, it’s important to understand which metrics your organization should be focusing on. We recommend selecting a few KPIs (or key performance indicators) that can help your team narrow its efforts and measure its successes.

These could include…

  • Total number of volunteers receiving VTO. The total count of volunteers who have been granted and utilized VTO by their employers within a specific period.
    • Example: 15 Cat Rescue Club volunteers participated in their employers’ VTO programs in a single year.
  • VTO eligibility rate. The portion of volunteers who qualify for Volunteer Time Off programs through their employers. To calculate the percentage, simply divide the total number of volunteers by the number of VTO-eligible volunteers; then, multiply by 100.
    • Example: Out of 50 regular volunteers, 20 individuals were identified as working for companies with VTO programs. That puts the eligibility rate at 40%!
  • VTO hours by program or activity. The total number of Volunteer Time Off hours logged by volunteers for specific projects, activities, or initiatives.
    • Example: Of the 15 volunteers receiving paid time to volunteer through their employers, 10 individuals contributed 100 hours to pet care, while 5 contributed 30 hours to fundraising or marketing-related programming.
  • Average number of VTO hours per volunteer. The average number of VTO hours taken by each volunteer within a specific timeframe. To calculate this figure, divide the total number of VTO hours by the number of volunteers utilizing VTO.
    • Example: If 15 volunteers spent a total of 130 hours supporting your cause through their VTO programs, the average number of VTO hours spent per person comes to 8.6 hours.
  • The estimated value of VTO support. The total monetary value of volunteer hours contributed through VTO programs. To estimate the monetary value, multiply the total number of VTO hours by the standard hourly rate for volunteer time (~$33.49).
    • Example: At the standard hourly rate, 130 hours donated through VTO programs produces a value of approximately $500 for your organization.
  • VTO volunteer retention rate. The percentage of VTO-participating volunteers who continue to donate their time over multiple periods through a VTO program.
    • Example: If 5 of the 15 VTO-participating volunteers donate their time again the following year, the retention rate would be 33.3%.

Tracking Volunteer Time Off with a metrics dashboard

Types of Tools For Tracking Volunteer Time Off

Nonprofits have a few different options for tracking Volunteer Time Off, each with its own unique set of pros and cons. While the best kind of tool for your organization will depend on your team’s wants and needs, here’s a breakdown of the most common types:

  • Manual tracking systems, such as Google Forms, spreadsheets, or written logs. These tools are generally free to use, making them accessible for nonprofits with limited budgets. However, functionality is fairly limited, and organizations are required to devote more time to overhead as a result.

Tracking Volunteer Time Off with a request form

  • Volunteer management software, including solutions for automated tracking, reporting, and communication. Plus, it enhances the volunteer experience, making it easier than ever to sign up for shifts and track their time. You can even look for a VMS with corporate partnership functionality, too!

Tracking Volunteer Time Off with a VMS

  • Human Resources Information Systems, or HRIS, which often facilitate philanthropy through a company’s payroll or HR portals. This is generally where individuals would request other forms of paid time off, too, making it a conveniently located opportunity.

Tracking Volunteer Time Off with a HRIS

  • Corporate giving database tools, like Double the Donation! While not actively a volunteer management system, Double the Donation’s database makes it easy for organizations and their volunteers to access program guidelines and company-specific instructions for tracking time.

Tracking Volunteer Time Off is easier with detailed program records

Overall, choosing the right platform for tracking Volunteer Time Off depends on your nonprofit’s size, budget, and specific needs. Assess your organization’s resources and requirements to select the most suitable and effective solution for managing VTO and enhancing volunteer engagement.

Either way, it’s crucial that you ensure your team (and its volunteers) are equipped with the best tools to provide the best user experience. The easier it is for volunteer time to be tracked, the higher participation rates you can expect to see through the programs!

Bonus! Free Template For Tracking Volunteer Time Off

Ready to get started? Below is a template your team can use to document volunteers’ time as they engage with your organization.

We recommend exploring dedicated software to streamline and simplify the time-tracking process. However, the following log will provide a foundation for accurate record-keeping, growing engagement, and increased transparency in collaborations.

Basic Volunteer Time Off (VTO) Tracking Template

Organization Name: _______________________________________
Volunteer Role (position or activity): ____________________________

Volunteer Name: _________________________________________
Volunteer Email Address (work email): __________________________
Volunteer Phone Number: ___________________________________

VTO Pre-Approval Request Form

Date of Request: [MM/DD/YYYY]

Date(s) of VTO Activity: [MM/DD/YYYY]
Total VTO Hours Requested: __________

Description of activity/Reason for VTO: _______________________________________________

Volunteer Time-Tracking Log

Name Activity Date Check-In Check-Out Total # Hours

Hour Verification by Nonprofit: ☐
Volunteer Supervisor Signature: ______________________________________

💡 Get a free downloadable version of the VTO hour-tracking template here!

Wrapping Up & Next Steps

Whether you’re looking to identify existing volunteers or expand your network with new prospects, an efficient tracking mechanism is crucial. This makes it easy for individuals to participate in their employers’ programming, thus incentivizing ongoing involvement. Plus, it can also drastically reduce the overhead required of your team to manage the initiatives. In doing so, you foster a culture of community and support.

A well-structured VTO program can be a powerful tool for attracting new volunteers, retaining existing ones, and advancing your mission. Embrace the opportunity to support your devoted volunteers, and watch as your nonprofit continues to thrive.

Interested in learning more about tracking volunteer time off and other ways to maximize your corporate and individual engagement? Check out these recommended resources:

Use our software for identifying and tracking volunteer time off and other corporate giving opportunities.