Volunteer Management System (VMS)
VMS Coding Guidelines
Our purpose as a Master Gardener is to provide home gardeners with unbiased, research-based gardening information that is locally relevant. We want them to be successful in their gardening endeavors so that can love their gardening experience as much as we love ours! But with being a Master Gardener also come some responsibilities. Responsibilities such as reporting our hours in a timely and accurate manner.
Reporting our volunteer hours is important as they are used for two purposes:
- Certification – In order to be certified as a MG in good standing for the next year a BCMG member must volunteer 30 hours (VH), receive 6 hours of continuing education (CEU), and attend two BCMG monthly meetings. By recording your hours, the Membership Director can generate a list of the MGs who have reached these milestones for David to certify for the next year.
- Funding – Our hours of service (VH) are reported to the state and all funding organizations as part of the AgriLife Extension Service reports on services and activities provided within our county. The accuracy of these hours is extremely important when providing these funding organizations with our outputs. Our hours are often converted to FTEs (Full Time Employees) to show the work we do in terms of what a paid employee would accomplish.
The following guidelines should be used when logging Volunteer Hours (VHs) and Continuing Education hours (CEs) into VMS:
- You cannot log both VHs and CEs to the same Project.
- Classes vs Training
- “Classes” are typically presented as an AgriLife function, are usually open to the public, and are often hosted by David, Molly, or by a certified AgriLife instructor. Classes should always be logged as CEs to Project 001.
- “Training” is a session where a specific skillset is being presented to MGs (not to the public) such as a Rodeo cashier, Hotline or Ask-a-Master Gardener training. Training time should be reported as Volunteer Hours (not CEs) to either Project 0400 (Teams & Committees) or to that event, such as Rodeo (Project 0400), Hotline (Project 0300) or Ask-A-MG (Project 0100).
- The Monthly Meeting should be logged to Project 002 and is 1.00 CE regardless of the duration of the meeting.
- Volunteer Hours are logged to Projects 0100 – 1200.
- VHs and CEs should be recorded to the nearest half hour, rounding up or down as appropriate.
- The Description of your entry should be meaningful; ‘Monthly Meeting’ or ‘Class’ will not be meaningful to you next year. Please include the class title and instructor. For class details you can always consult the BCMG Calendar. The Description for your Volunteer Hours should be descriptive of that session.
- Potential confusion:
- If you attend a Cultivate! class, it would be logged to Project 001 (BCMG Presentation); if you assist with a Cultivate! class (such as projection or presentation), then you would log your VHs to Project 0200 (Cultivate!).
- If you attend the Monthly Meeting, it would be logged to Project 002 (Monthly Meetings) for 1.00 CE; if you assist with the Monthly Meeting (such as setup/teardown or production), then you would log those VHs to Project 0700 (BCMG Teams & Committees).
- Many MGs work as a Culinary Docent or at the Children’s Vegetable Garden and often receive half an hour of training before a session. All time, both training and volunteering, should be logged as Volunteer Hours to either Project 0150 (Culinary) or to Project 1200 (Youth).
In order for all BCMGs to report their hours in a manner that is appropriate for the AgriLife Extension reports, the BCMG Board has approved the following clarification points to use when reporting hours:
- Report hours as soon as possible! Hours that are not reported until the end of the year are often forgotten. In addition, those hours were not available for the AgriLife Extension reports that go out earlier in the year and therefore provided no supporting documentation for the work that we do.
- Travel time should not be reported as volunteer time. While it is understood that the time you spend traveling to and from events is very real time (and it is greatly appreciated!) it is not considered appropriate volunteer time in the reports that are generated showing our equivalent full-time employees. A FTE’s travel time is not included and therefore it should not be included in ours.
- No double dipping. If you are volunteering at a presentation that qualifies for CEs you may count the time as either VHs or CEs but not both. For example, if you spend 30 minutes helping to set-up, handle sign-in sheets, and take-down for a 60-minute presentation, you may count it as 0.5 VHs plus 1 CE (two separate entrees in VMS) or you may count it is 1.5 VHs.
- Use accurate hours. While VH and CE times may be posted for an event, this is just to give you an idea of the time that is anticipated. Often times, an event takes more or less time than this estimate. Please report the actual time you volunteered or that the CE presentation took.
Please use these guidelines moving forward. Thank you for the service you provide Bexar County home gardeners! And thank you for your support of the Master Gardener Program and AgriLife Extension through the accurate reporting of your hours!
VMS Coding Guidelines revised 4/20/2022
VMS Project Codes
CONTINUING EDUCATION (CE) CODES
001: AgriLife Extension/BCMG Presentations
These are programs that are hosted by or presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service staff, Texas A&M System staff, retired AgriLife staff, or certified Texas Master Gardeners.
- Horticulture-related programs given by AgriLife Extension Service staff
- Horticulture-related programs given by Texas A&M System staff (ex. Texas A&M Forestry Service)
- Horticulture programs given by certified Texas Master Gardeners.
- Programs at the Texas Master Gardener State Conference and the Regional/International Master Gardeners Conference
002: BCMG Monthly Meeting Seminars
Monthly Meetings are only 1 CEU regardless of meeting duration.
003: Advanced Training
This Project is reserved for MGs taking advanced classes such as Composting, Greenhouse Management, Irrigation Efficiency, Rainwater Harvesting, Texas Superstars, etc. These courses require the MG to make presentations and conduct classes to earn their certificate; those Volunteer Hours should be logged to Project 0100 – Community Outreach.
VOLUNTEER HOUR (VH) CODES
100: Community Outreach Events
The BCMG Board of Directors and the AgriLife Horticulture Agent must approve Community Outreach Events each year. The following events have been approved:
- Monarch Butterfly Festival (Zoo)
- Monarch Festival (Confluence Park)
- Texas Folklife Festival
- Top Tomato Contest (Fanick’s)
- TMGA Advanced Training
- Ask-A-Master Gardener
150: SABOT Culinary Garden Docents, including CHEF Program (Note: Greenhouse, SABOT plant sales, etc. are not approved for VHs)
- MGs are limited to 6 shifts (12 VHs) per year as a Culinary Garden Docent.
- CHEF Program is no longer a MG approved program for volunteer hours.
- Spring & Fall CULTIVATE!
- Cultivate Academy
300: Master Gardener Hotline
400: SA Rodeo
- Rodeo construction, tear-down and hospitality
- Rodeo activities and support
500: Speakers Bureau
- Assisting a BCMG speaker
- Preparing presentations
- Scheduling speakers
- Speaking at:
- Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Series
- EarthKind Gardening Series
- MGs at the SABOT Series
- All presentation scheduled through the Speakers Bureau
600: Water Conservation Activities
These are SAWS sponsored events or they have requested our participation:
- Cultivating communities
- Earth Day events
- Festival of Flowers
- Habitat for Humanity landscaping classes
- Spring Bloom (SAWS)
VOLUNTEER SUPPORT CODES
700: BCMG Teams & Committees
All team and committee work, including, but not limited to:
- Team training and instruction
- BCMG Monthly Meeting set-up, tear-down and production
- Facebook team
- Leaflet team
- Scion: Editing and writing articles
- Website: Content and calendar work
- VMS: Coordinator and calendar coordinators
- Publicity for BCMG events
- Champions fore Charity
- Merchandise sales
- Membership Meeting plant sales
- Poinsettia sale
- Not included are the plant sales that are part of a Community Outreach event such as SA Rodeo, Spring Bloom, etc.
- Grant writing
- Holiday party
- Hospitality for meetings and events
- Scholarship Committee
- San Antonio Garden Center:
- Assisting with hospitality for our assigned meeting
- Assisting with BCMG’s assigned responsibility at the SAGC Plant Sale
- Assisting with BCMG’s assigned responsibility at the SAGC Floral Competition
- Distribution events: BCMG pins, merchandise, drawing winners, etc.
- Awards: Helping write the applications for the TMGA Awards
800: Board of Directors
- Attending the BoD Monthly Meeting (as an officer/director/mentor of the Board)
- All work associated with BoD activities (Finance, Membership, etc.)
- Texas Master Gardener Association BoD’s Quarterly Meetings
- Providing monthly and annual reports in support of the Board
900: MG Training Class Support
- Prepare and present classroom training for BCMG Interns
- Provide mentorship and on-the-job training for BCMG Interns
1000: Special Projects – AgriLife/BCMG Approved (Note: Special Projects requires permission before it may be used)
1100: Texas A&M Extension Support – Adult
- Assisting horticulture and entomology Extension staff with presentations/events
- Assisting David with his presentations
- Backyard Basics
- Texas Nursery & Landscape Association booth
- Texas County Agricultural Agents Association booth
- Entomology summer camps
- 4-H photography contest judging
- Greenies Urban Farm
- Assisting with plant trials, seed extraction, etc.
- Pollinator Citizen science project
1200: Texas A&M Extension Support – Youth
- Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (SABOT & PHP)
- Approved Classroom Garden Program – School Garden support (Note: The school must be registered with AgriLife’s Youth Gardening Program)
- Approved youth activities and presentations
- Youth activity supply preparation
- Learn Grow Eat & Go! program support
- Youth Garden Educator and JMG Training support
- Prepare and present training for both youth and adults
Project Codes revised 9/9/2021
How Many Hours Do I Have?
To determine your current logged Volunteer and Continuing Education hours:
- Log into VMS, click on YOUR INFORMATION (upper left), then click VIEW YOUR HOURS;
- Click the green “Search” button at the top of the screen;
- Change “Date” to “Greater than” and enter 12-01-2022 as the starting date, then click “Search” at the top of the current page;
- Change “View” from “10” to “100” or “All”;
- Scroll down to the bottom of the last page and you will find your total Miles (if entered), CE Hours, VOL Hours and Total Contacts (if entered).
Remember that to certify for 2024, you need at least 30 Volunteer Hours and six CEs including at least two are Monthly Meetings since December 1, 2022.