Trellis

Engaging Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers in meaningful discussion about volunteering, outreach and community.

Making the Most of MGLOG: Hours, Contacts, and Events

photoMGEV projects and events are in full swing all across Georgia. Volunteer service hours are piling up! How are you tracking them? Some MGEVs write the hours on a pocket calendar or record them in their smart phones as they accrue. Did you know that you can record them directly in MGLOG?

  • To enter hours, click on “Report My Hours.” 
  • Choose a Project, enter the date of service, hours volunteered, and complete the remaining fields. (Don’t forget to tab between fields or click in other boxes so that the system calculates.)
  • Click “Insert Record” at the top of the screen.
  • Now, you’ll see the same information on the screen, but the options at the top of the screen have changed. You can now “Add New,” “Update Record,” “Copy Record,” or “Delete.”
  • If you have more entries that are very similar to the one you just entered (i.e., multiple entries for the same project), click on “Copy Record.” The same information is copied into a new record and your options at the top of the page change again. You should now see “Insert Record.” Before you click insert, be sure to modify the entry, like changing the date or number of hours volunteered, etc.
  • NOTE: If you hit “Copy Record” and your last record isn’t the one that shows up, the last entry didn’t “insert” correctly. 
  • You can repeat this process over and over to enter many similar volunteer hours.

Contacts. Extension’s state and federal stakeholders want to know that we are extending our events and activities to everyone. To show them the extent of participation in our events and activities, we track contacts. You may have seen this feature on the hours entry page. We also include all of these numbers on the annual MGEV program reports, both at the county and state level. These are the types of contacts that we track:

  • Phone — If you assist people over the phone, providing horticulture or other Extension information, you count them as a contact. Record those numbers here. Your Extension office may also use a logbook to record contacts received through Help Desks or Ask-a-Master-Gardener hours at the office.
  • Personal (or face-to-face) — These are people with whom you speak directly and in person, providing horticulture or other Extension information, when you are volunteering as a MGEV. For example, you may be working at a demonstration garden site when someone approaches you and engages in a discussion over summer perennials. This would be a personal contact. However, contacts and other details from volunteering in support of an educational event for the public, such as a workshop, demonstration, or JMG session,  should be entered on an Educational Activity Report (more in a future blog post).
  • Written — These are people to whom you email, fax, or send postal mail to. Some MGEVs prepare or distribute newsletters or columns for newspapers. This type of contact is not considered individual written contacts, but instead they are considered media contacts. Be sure your agent knows about this so that he/she can assist you with a media form.

Recording the number of contacts that you have while volunteering as a MGEV is very important. When entered into MGLOG, an Agent can pull a monthly report from the system and enter the numbers into GACounts, UGA’s system for contact management. In fact, agents submit a report by the 10th of each month that summarizes the activities and contacts for the previous month.

Events. As you complete an event with a public audience or fter a piece of a larger project with a public audience is completed, it is important to record the details within MGLOG by using an Educational Activity Report (EAR). Agents pull information from these reports to include in their monthly reports that they are required to submit. MGEVs who are designated as project coordinators and Agents/Program Coordinators can enter EARs. We’ll talk more about EARs and how to complete them in an upcoming blog post.

Things that we track about an event include:

  • Information about participants — number of people attending, demographic information
  • Information about the event — length of the event, time spent teaching, number of volunteers assisting
  • Value of contributions and support for the event

When MGEVs enter the information into MGLOG immediately following an event, it makes it very easy for the Agent to capture the information and share it in their reports. Together, records of volunteer service hours, contacts, and educational activity reports help Agents as well as the State Program Office capture the magnitude of MGEV assistance with Extension programming. These reports help show how MGEVs expand Extension’s outreach into communities. They also are an indicator of how well we are using the resources provided to us. Thank you for taking the time to familiarize yourself with these details and making every effort to capture them in your volunteer service!

 

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sdorn

About sdorn

Sheri is the State Coordinator for the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program and Extension Specialist for Consumer Ornamentals. When she is not traveling about the state of Georgia admiring the work of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, she spends time in her own (real and virtual) gardens.