Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

We know that volunteers can help us with the day-to-day operations, special library events and fundraising,  but how can we use volunteer statistics in our budgets and hiring processes? I track hours and projects and project based hours monthly. Tracking helps document trends and busy times. Summer Reading Programs bring in huge numbers of volunteer hours. By accurately tracking and documenting hours, Administration can use these statistics  to determine if an increase in staff hours is a possibility.

One department that we have is our History and Genealogy Room. We consistently have volunteers who work 20-30 hours per week. When those volunteers began to drop off with vacation, illness, or other activities, we noticed a dramatic decrease in productivity in moving obituary cards to an online data base. We  realized how much we depended on those volunteers to do that task. In turn, we began to look at possibly hiring an additional staff member. According to the Independent Sector ( which tracks the worth of a volunteer hour, the 2008 worth of a volunteer is $20.25.You can take the task that the volunteer is doing, and multiply by the hourly rate of the comparable staff member. Statistics can be used to show savings or show need.

Tracking hours can be something as simple as a sign in sheet, an excel spreadsheet, or you can get a little more advanced with a subscription to Volgistics ( The important thing is to track them and document them.

The other reason to document volunteer hours is to use it for Recognition and we’ll talk more about that later! HANG IN THERE WITH ME! There’s a lot to cover!


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