Volunteering and community work have always been an important part of our society and a crucial indicator of its development. It is not only about gaining new knowledge and competencies but helping others, and that is why volunteering has such an increased social value. The government encourages it and supports people involved in socially beneficial community work. For instance, volunteers may be eligible for receiving tax benefits and exemptions, and various discounts.
However, the biggest issue when doing any community work is proving that you promote social progress and not the organization you work for. Local departments of human resources have developed special legal forms for volunteers to fill out so that they could get extra credit for the work they do. Plus, school and college graduates can use such a personal credit to get a job or a scholarship.
Below, we will tell you about the legal peculiarities of applying for volunteer and community work and about the operational requirements one has to meet to qualify.
Not any work can count as volunteering or community work. While it is more or less clear with volunteering, which is considered an unpaid activity of dedicating one’s time for a non-profit organization or individuals in need, it is a bit more complicated with community work. Although everybody understands what we mean when we say “community work,” there is no internationally accepted definition for it.
So, in the plainest words, we can identify such work as a thoroughly planned community mobilization process to address their problems and achieve objectives by using their own resources. The main goal of such activity is to foster empowerment and emancipation to force social changes via joint action. It may include working for human rights or minority rights protection, for example. Plus, the community itself may be understood in broader ways than just a geographical one.
Thus, you are doing volunteer/community work if that specific activity:
The primary criteria of volunteer/community services, as you may have noticed, are the non-payment and high social value. However, you may also be paid for your work and still qualify for volunteering if your case meets some other critical criteria and requirements.
It is worth mentioning that there are no universal laws applied in the US that would regulate community work or volunteer activity. Each state and even county can pass their own norms and regulations depending on the local needs and social life peculiarities. Typically, the state statutes contain some basic requirements for the volunteer organizations. Plus, the local administrations can create and sponsor special volunteer programs in socio-economic spheres they consider most sensitive.
Depending on the activity type, volunteers and social workers should prepare different documents and fill out various legal forms. Here are the most common types of Social Service Verification Forms used in the country:
This form is the most commonly used compared to others. You should fill it out if you have been or are currently doing volunteer work for a non-profit organization (like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Meal-on-Wheels). By using this form, a responsible officer can compare the data a volunteer had indicated when applying for the job and after completing it in order to verify the merits.
The agency verification form is very similar to the previous one, except that an agency usually provides customer-oriented services instead of just uniting like-minded people with similar objectives and beliefs.
Some employers and business entities actually hire people to do specific volunteer or community work for the company’s benefit. In this case, volunteers get monetary compensation for managing the company-led activities. Even existing employees can get engaged in such volunteer work if they have some spare time and the will to do so.
It is a very common practice to hire volunteers to work during big political or social events. Festival and forums are great examples of such kind of activity. Volunteers can work with navigation, providing information, managing delegations, and even interpretation during such events. Such verification forms usually include a schedule attachment to track the days and hours the volunteer had spent working.
Just like business entities and non-commercial companies, schools and universities attract their students to doing volunteer and community work. Moreover, educational institutions may have for the students to develop social responsibility. Thus, the students can earn extra points on their portfolio or resume. The verification form will help gain an advantage when applying for a college or a job position. Note that the applicant needs an official consent form from a parent or a legal guardian.
As we have mentioned above, different states and counties use different form templates for social services verification. Plus, the form’s contents may differ greatly depending on the organization type and your status (student or employed, adult or underage, and so on). To save you time searching the web for the necessary form template, we suggest you use our form-building software to create and customize the legal form you need. We also advise you to prepare the form in advance to have it at hand once you finish your project.
Below, you will find an illustrated step-by-step guide through the verification process.
Identify the Volunteer
Provide the full legal name of the volunteer. If it is a student, indicate the grade or course year that the student is currently studying in. Indicate the educational institution (school or university), if applicable.
Enter the Project Specifications
In the next section, you should insert the project’s title and effective dates for providing volunteer or community work. You will also need to define the organization that sponsors the event or project you are working on. This information will help qualify the work done depending on the organization’s activity objectives and legal status.
Provide the Supervisor’s Contact Data
Enter the full name and daytime telephone number of your supervisor. If the future employer or the scholarship committee wants to check your credits, they might call the responsible person and ask them about your achievements and personal qualities to make sure you are a good fit for the position. Do not take it as a simple formality cause this is a very common practice in the US and worldwide.
Enter the Social Issue Address
Enter the physical address of the location where the social issue is supposed to take place. Usually, this information is given in the schedule or the contract.
Describe the Community/Volunteer Work
Now, you will need to describe the project’s objectives and your part in it specifically. Do not miss any relevant detail and ensure that your working responsibilities comply with the volunteer/community activity requirements described above. Otherwise, the responsible authorities may not count your credit when reviewing your application for a tax reduction or other social benefits assigned for volunteers and community activists.
Provide the Necessary Signatures
The verification form must be signed, of course. If you are underage, make sure your parent or legal guardian signs the paper as the sign of their consent for your participation in the project. Then, the volunteer and their supervisor should put their signatures in the respective lines. Finally, the project coordinator shall approve the work assignment by placing a signature as well.
Choose the activity purpose at the bottom of the first page (as shown in the picture below).
Fill in the Logbook and Schedule
Every day when the subject volunteer is doing some work or performing activities within the project’s framework, they should fill in the logbook according to the given example: date, service performed, start and end time, total hours spent. Please note that the supervisor should authorize each line by putting their initials.
Provide the Work Evaluation
Once the job is done, ask your supervisor to provide you the work evaluation. It will be a useful asset when applying for your next job or college. The supervisor must also indicate the total amount of hours you have worked on the project to give you your score.
Ensure the Signatures Once Again
The respective signatories mentioned above should provide their signatures on the second page, too.
Put the Calendar Date
Insert the current calendar date of when you are compiling the form at the bottom of each page.