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Member Management

Page history last edited by kwillard@... 10 years, 3 months ago

Return to the AmeriCorps Administrator Manual 

 

 


 

 

Introduction to Member Management


 

 

Direct Service Placements


The majority of the expectations of students in an AmeriCorps term are no different than for those in a traditional Bonner position. There are, however, some additional limitations on the types of service eligible for AmeriCorps, which are outlined in the “Prohibited Activities” section below.

 

For the purposes of the Bonner Program, “community service” is defined as service provided to individuals or communities to meet social, educational, or environmental needs. This service may be provided directly or indirectly through a student-initiated project or a project sponsored by a nonprofit agency.

 

The maximum number of hours per day that may be counted toward an AmeriCorps term is 12 hours per day. However, with prior approval from the Foundation, a student may be able to demonstrate a maximum of up to 16 hours when applicable to the service assignment.

 

Mention here the Bonner AmeriCorps service focus for the new grant cycle? 

 

There are different types of service that your Members can perform: 

 

  • Primary Placement/CLA Service [Link to section below on CLAs]

Members are expected to serve the majority of their service hours at a single community partner. Once Members identify their service partner, they are required to complete a Community Learning Agreement in BWBRS, and link all their hours in their primary placement to the appropriate Community Learning Agreement, or CLA. 

 

  • One-Time Service Opportunities

One-time events should be recorded in BWBRS as “Other Position/Non-CLA”  opportunities, and may be counted toward an AmeriCorps term as long as the service is not a prohibited activity (link/“see below”).  Every Service Opportunity requires that a service partner and position is created in BWBRS. Throughout the year, Bonner AmeriCorps members should have opportunities to come together for special events related to their service. Events might include: Martin Luther King Day of Service, National Volunteer Week, and National Youth Service Day. These one-time service opportunities must be approved by the campus director, as with all other hours, but no CLA is required.

 

  • Service Trips

Break trips must be within the United States in order to count toward completion of an AmeriCorps term. Similar to one-time service opportunities, Members need not create a CLA for a Service Trip unless their primary placement is coordination of the trip. 

 

[Other types of placements???]

 

Now that you’ve had an overview, let’s get to the particulars, starting with what a traditional Bonner Scholar service position and an AmeriCorps position have in common:

 

  • The Death of “Volunteer”: The first indicator of a solid service position is the title. We’re looking for titles that are descriptive and specific to a particular placement. 

 

  • Thorough Position Descriptions: These should start with a broad overview of the community need, should identify what the role of the community organization is in meeting that need, and then should outline the specific responsibilities of the student serving at that particular placement.    

 

So, if so much between is the same between a traditional Bonner position and a Bonner AmeriCorps position, what’s different? Not much! Positions that are considered weak Bonner positions also translate to weak - and often ineligible - AmeriCorps positions. See Prohibited Activities below for a full listing of activities that are prohibited for AmeriCorps members.

 

Training and Enrichment 


The Bonner Foundation requires institutions and organizations to provide Bonner AmeriCorps Members with on-going training to prepare and strengthen their skills and knowledge for their service work.  This training should be appropriate to each stage of the students’ personal development and service responsibilities. All Bonner AmeriCorps Members should participate in some form of reflection process related to their service experience. Coordinators are encouraged to meet one-on-one with Bonner Leaders at least once each semester and more often for those students who are having academic or personal difficulties.

 

The Foundation has developed a number of resources that provide campuses concrete strategies and tools to realize student development goals in the context of the specific programs: specifically, implementation guides for co-curricular, curricular, advising, vocation, an extensive set of training modules. These resources can be found online at http://www.bonner.org/resources/resources.htm

 

Orientation

Bonner AmeriCorps training must specifically address the orientation requirements mandated by the Corporation for National and Community Service.  According to the Corporation, "This orientation should be designed to enhance member security and sensitivity to the community. Orientation should cover member rights and responsibilities, including the Program's code of conduct, prohibited activities (including those specified in the regulations), requirements under the Drug-Free Workplace Act..., suspension and termination from service, grievance procedures, sexual harassment, other non-discrimination issues, and other topics as necessary."

 

All members should be trained on all AmeriCorps reporting requirements, particularly those performed through the Bonner Web-based Reporting System (BWBRS).  [[Link to below, BWBRS 101 -- can we do a screencast of the entire BWBRS training we might offer over the phone, break it into sections, and post it on the wiki, citing it here?]]  All members are required to utilize this system to perform their reporting requirements. This training takes approximately one hour to one and a half hours. Best practices have shown that this training is best done together as a group in a computer lab. 

 

Some basic facts about Training and Enrichment, or "T&E"

 

  • The Campus Administrator should enter all T&E opportunities in BWBRS so that the member can log their hours against an approved training. [Link to a screencast of how to add T&E events in BWBRS?]

 

  • The ideal T&E entry will include a descriptive title of the event that includes the date on which the event took place, and the number of hours. A brief, one sentence description elaborates on the activity. 

 

  • There's a limit! No more than 20% of a member’s total AmeriCorps term of service may be counted as Training & Enrichment. Members with 300-hour term may log up to 60 Training and Enrichment hour; 450-hour members can log up to 90; and 900-hour members may log as many as 180 hours of Training and Enrichment.

 

  • You can check the overall T&E hours in the Member Profile:

 

  • Just because it looks like a T&E event, doesn't mean it is! If your AmeriCorps members are meeting in site-based teams to plan for service initiatives at their site, this should be logged as direct service; members should log all hours spent planning service projects as direct service. 

 

Prohibited Activities


Despite all the similarities between a traditional "Bonner" position and a "Bonner AmeriCorps" position, there are some key differences that affect where your AmeriCorps members are eligible to serve, so it’s important to be aware of AmeriCorp guidelines. Below is a list of prohibited AmeriCorps activities that your students should be aware of as they enroll in AmeriCorps and plan their service placements for the semester, all of which appear on pages 8 and 16 of the AmeriCorps Member Contract. The list of prohibited activities includes:

 

  • Participating in efforts to influence legislation, including lobbying for your program;
  • Organizing a letter-writing campaign to Congress;
  • Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office;
  • Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials;
  • Printing politically charged articles in a Corporation-funded newsletter or discussion list;
  • Taking part in political demonstrations or rallies;
  • Engaging in any efforts to influence legislation, including state or local ballot initiatives;
  • Voter registration drives;
  • Organizing or participating in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes;
  • Assisting or deterring union organizing;
  • Impairing existing contracts or collective bargaining agreements;
  • Religious activities, including engaging in religious instruction; conducting worship services; providing instruction as part of a Program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship; constructing, operating, or maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship; serving at faith-based camps; or engaging in any form of religious proselytization;
  • Activities that pose a significant safety risk to participants;
  • Assignments that displace employees;
  • Placement of members into internships with for-profit businesses as part of the education and training component of the program;
  • Providing assistance to a business organized for profit;
  • Raising funds for an AmeriCorps stipend;
  • Raising funds for an organization’s operating expenses or endowment;
  • Writing grant applications for AmeriCorps funding or for any other funding provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service;
  • Writing grant applications for funding provided by any other federal agencies;
  • Administrative work, unless it benefits the members approved direct service activities; and
  • Activities providing abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.

 

There are also several types of activities that may not be assigned to you as a Bonner AmeriCorps Member, such as:

 

  • Activities that pose a significant risk to AmeriCorps Members or others;
  • Internships with a for-profit business as a part of the education and training component of the program; and
  • Assignments that displace employees;
  • Medical research;
  • Direct service that is paid through an hourly wage other than Federal Work-Study;
  • Activities (service or trainings) performed internationally
  • Activities performed that serve or educate about individuals residing outside the US and US territories;  or
  • Any of the prohibited activities mentioned above.

 

However, AmeriCorps members, like private citizens, may participate in lobbying, political, or advocacy activities on their own time, at their own expense, and at their own initiative. Members may not wear AmeriCorps logo items in such instances.

 

Note: The Prohibited Activities are also outlined in the Bonner AmeriCorps Enrollment Workbook, on our website www.bonner.org, and in the AmeriCorps member’s contract.

 

As an AmeriCorps Administrator, it's important that you're familiar with this entire list, but there are some common mistakes that Administrators make: 

 

Service at for profit community partners.

Before beginning with a new community partner, verify its nonprofit status. See below

 

Service that is primarily clerical in nature.

Avoid any position where a primary responsibility is administrative in nature (i.e., filing, answering phones). If members are required to perform these duties as a small component of their service at a community partner, focus the service description on the direct service and avoid language like "filing," "answering phones," and "general administrative tasks," as these are not eligible for AmeriCorps.

 

Service that is international.

The Foundation recognizes that AmeriCorps members may want to participate in service trips abroad during their term of service. While they are not prohibited from doing so, they cannot count international service hours (whether through direct service or in a planning capacity) toward their AmeriCorps term. Likewise, fundraising to benefit an international organization, and Training and Enrichment events that focus on international issues, are prohibited and cannot count toward a member's term of service. All service should directly benefit people living within the United States.

 

Service at faith-based camps.

The Corporation for National and Community Service prohibits any service at faith-based summer camps. Encourage your AmeriCorps Members who want to do service at summer camps to research camps that are geared toward low-income or at-risk youth. Finding opportunities at a local YMCA is often a good place to start.

 

Fundraising


 

Identify what must be logged as fundraising

Recommendation to create 2 CLAs for positions involving fundraising

Screencast for how to tag hours as fundraising

 

 

Verifying Nonprofit Status


Members may only perform service at nonprofit community partners. See the video below for some resources, like Guidestar.org and IRS.gov, that can make this process easier: 

 

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Logging and Submitting AmeriCorps Hours 


Bonner AmeriCorps Members use the Bonner Web-based Reporting System (BWBRS) for logging their service and training & enrichment hours.  Hard-copy monthly hour log forms should be printed from BWBRS, signed by the Member, Site Supervisor (where appropriate) and Campus Director, and then mailed to the Bonner Foundation on a monthly basis. AmeriCorps Hours will not be approved by foundation until corresponding CLAs have been nationally reviewed in BWBRS.

 

Students should understand that hours not approved by Bonner AmeriCorps Staff and/or Campus staff in BWBRS will not count toward completion of their AmeriCorps commitment.  It is the member’s responsibility to communicate with their campus administrator about the eligibility of their service activities.

 

Hours served prior to the official start date as entered in BWBRS will not count toward completion of the AmeriCorps commitment. It is ultimately member's responsibility to manage their hours to work towards the successful completion of the award, but the Campus Administrator is responsible for quickly identifying members who lag behind in their hours and may not intend to complete their term, notifying the Foundation immediately. If Campus Administrators find members struggling with managing their hours, they can always take advantage of Bonner trainings modules like time management in order to help members stay on track to obtain their award.

 

Recommended Hour Log Process: [[Could we include a screenshot of a calendar, with notes for the events we’re suggesting???]]

 

Weekly

-Members log hours on a weekly basis

 

End of the month

-Members print out Hour Logs

 

First week of next month

-Members retrieve site supervisor signature

-Members submit previous month's hour log with site supervisor signature to AmeriCorps Administrator

-AmeriCorps Administrator reviews hour logs, approves them, and submits them to the Foundation no later than the 15th of the month.

 

 

When reviewing the Member's hour logs, AmeriCorps Administrators should look for the following: 

 

  • All fundraising hours are coded appropriately; [[Screenshot of how to code hours as fundraising?/BWBRS 101]]
  •  All signatures are obtained after the last day of service on the time sheet;
  • There are no double entries on time sheets (if member served at a location twice in one day, he/she should total hours in one log entry);
  • Entries do not exceed maximum amount allowed per day (12 hour maximum, 16 in cases of prior approval from the Bonner Foundation);
  • There are no whiteout marks, scribble, or mistakes on time sheet without the member’s, site supervisor’s, AND Campus Administrator or Director’s initials next to the correction;
  • All signatures are in pen (NOT pencil);
  • Signature date is AFTER the date on which the log was printed;

 

Bonner AmeriCorps Administrators are encouraged to make copies of all time sheets and place them in each member's file.

 

Who can sign?

  • Time logs must be printed from BWBRS with signature lines, signed by the member, the campus director/coordinator, and the site supervisor.
  • If a given time log notes hours served at multiple placements with a CLA, a signature line will show up for each site.
  • The Foundation can only accept original signatures, no photocopies or faxes will be accepted.
  • NOTE: An AmeriCorps member cannot sign as the campus staff or site supervisor.

 

 

What will count?

In order to be counted toward an AmeriCorps term, hours must be:

  • Served at an approved service site with an accepted CLA, and/or;
  • Campus staff approved Training and Enrichment events, and/or;
  • Campus staff approved service opportunities, such as one-time events or break trips, and;
  • Served within the AmeriCorps commitment dates.

Hours will not count if:

  • There is no approved CLA, or it is a prohibited activity;
  • The service is international in focus;
  • The time log is missing any of the required signatures;
  • The time log is not the BWBRS format.

 

**Tips: Make site supervisor signature collection easier by having members give all time sheets to student site leader who then retrieves site supervisor signatures and hands all site based team time sheets to Bonner AmeriCorps Administrator.  Keep track of who’s turned in time sheets with an excel document, google document, or office white board.

 

Community Learning Agreements


 

All students in the Bonner Program should complete a Community Learning Agreement (CLA) for each semester. The CLA is designed to be a collaborative effort between student, campus administrator and community partner. They should work together to articulate expectations, the service description, service outcomes and learning goals. Clear communication of goals and expectations can set the tone for the entire placement and it is imperative if the student is to gain a level of competency in a distinct skill/knowledge area through the active participation in specific direct service and learning experiences. One to four years worth of CLAs can also provide an powerful insight to what the student has accomplished through their service, charting both service outcomes and personal student development.

 

Some additional notes about using Community Learning Agreements:

  • Students participating in Bonner AmeriCorps are required to fill out a Community Learning Agreement in BWBRS for each service site at which they regularly serve (this excludes one-time service opportunities and most break trips).
  • The CLA must be entered in BWBRS at the beginning of each semester. We cannot approve any hours for any member without a CLA.
  • Each college must assure that all service sites and/or service opportunities are not in conflict with any of the prohibited activities listed in the Member's Enrollment Workbook.
  • Bonner AmeriCorps Members should complete a “review” of their CLA at the end of each semester and summer to measure the quality and impact of their service experience. In this way, the Service Accomplishments work in conjunction with the CLA.
  • CLAs should be developmental. The service, and service objectives and learning objectives should all increase developmentally as the student gains more experience and skills. Therefore, a first year's title, service description, and service and learning objectives should look very different from a senior's service and learning objectives.

 

Please go to the resource CLAs: Making Them Great for detailed information about Community Learning Agreements. 

 

 

**Reminder: At the end of each semester, please remember to change your students' CLA status to "Complete":

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Electronic Signatures


 

 

Case Managment


 

 

 

Monitoring Member Progress


 

Helpful reports like Hour Log Activity by Semester, Case Overview Report, Bonner AC Hours Remaining, etc.

This should link to the exit section!

 

Early Termination


 

Keeping track of your AmeriCorps members' progress will allow you to identify individuals who may need to be terminated from AmeriCorps prior to the end of their term. In any situation that requires an early termination, it is best to be in contact with the Bonner AmeriCorps program staff at the Foundation. 

 

Information on how to Exit AmeriCorps members can be found in the Exiting from AmeriCorps portion of this Manual.

 

 

Suspension & Reinstatement


Suspension

At any time during a Bonner AmeriCorps Member’s term of service they may be eligible for suspension if they can demonstrate that there are “Personal and Compelling” circumstances. Suspension will “freeze” their term for a given period of time and allow them to come back and finish out the remainder of their term. 

 

The Corporation for National & Community Service has defined “Personal and Compelling” as circumstances that are beyond the participant’s control or that the Corporation has, for public policy reasons, determined as such. These would include personal or family illness, transferring for family member's job, military service, academic programs abroad, or leave of absence from school. It does not include reasons such as travel for non-academic purposes, or leaving to take a paid position.

 

The campus director and the Bonner AmeriCorps Program Staff must approve of the suspension.

 

Notification of all suspension requests must be submitted using the Request for Suspension Form [Link to FORMS page]

  • The Foundation must receive this form no later than 25 days after the date of the requested suspension. Before requesting a suspension, be sure that the reason for suspension is congruent with the definition of Personal & Compelling circumstances.
  • All time logs must be up to date and completed prior to the suspension or those hours may not be counted toward the member’s term of service.
  • Students cannot log any hours during the period that their suspension is in effect.

 

Reinstatement

In order to be reinstated, the student must complete the Request for Reinstatement Form approved by the campus director and forwarded to the Bonner AmeriCorps program staff within 25 of the anticipated reinstatement date.

 

A suspension from the Bonner AmeriCorps program cannot last more than 2 years from the date of suspension. Once the student has been reinstated, the length of their suspension is added to the term of service. For example, if you are suspended for exactly 5 months, the required completion date is moved back exactly 5 months. The period of suspension cannot last longer than the amount of time that the student has left in their term of service.

 

 

Service Accomplishments


Members should enter Service Accomplishments in BWBRS at the end of every semester/summer during which they perform AmeriCorps service.  This is an opportunity for the student to reflect on their experience and gauge the scope of the impact their service has had.  Service Accomplishments are also vital to the work of the Bonner Foundation, since the information members provide in their Service Accomplishments are a factor in CNCS awarding AmeriCorps slots to the Foundation.  Therefore, member cooperation in entering Service Accomplishments benefits future Bonner AmeriCorps members.

 

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What to track:

 

  • Detail is important in tracking Service Accomplishments.  The number of students tutored or meals served or houses built – anything that can be numerically calculated should be recorded.  If the member recruits any volunteers, they should report the number of hours the volunteers served.  Members should be as specific as possible about what they accomplished, i.e. the student they tutored raised his math grade from C to A, or 30 miles of highway were cleaned up.
  • For one-time events and break trips, one member who was a leader in planning or executing the event should submit Service Accomplishments for the event.  They should include details about how many members participated, the combined total of hours served, and the total impact of the event.  For example, if 30 students spend a week doing hurricane relief, they might serve a total of 150 hours and repair roofs on 4 houses.

 

While data provided through the service accomplishments are essential and important to the Bonner AmeriCorps Program, lack of service accomplishments will not delay or affect the exiting process.

 

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