November 29, 2022
A week in the life of a volunteer coordinator | Part 2: Data entry and Salesforce
Originally posted on Tami’s LinkedIn
Hello everyone, and welcome back to my series on the week in the life of a senior volunteer coordinator. If you saw my first post on LinkedIn, you know that one of my main roles as a volunteer coordinator is to facilitate Tutor Orientation trainings at least once a week in order to bring new tutors into the reading centers. You may be wondering what happens after all of that is said and done. How do those new tutors continue becoming tutors? Where did they come from? Why did they come to us? All of these questions and more will be answered every two weeks on this blog.
This week, we are talking about the nitty gritty parts of being a volunteer coordinator, and that is managing a wide range of data through email, spreadsheets, and Salesforce. One of our values here at Reading Partners is “Data Drive Decisions,” and part of our job as AmeriCorps members with Reading Partners is to track the data collected throughout our service year. Two main data points that we track are the rate of student learning (how fast students are catching up) as well as grade level equivalency (whether students have reached grade level by the end of the school year). Cumulative student success is recorded in end-of-year impact reports. In this way, we know how effective our program has been for students throughout the years and this has allowed us to proudly define our program as evidence-based.
Other points of data, such as the ones organized by volunteer coordinators (VCs), include demographic information for tutors, which orientation they went to when we received their background check, and dates of outreach for different steps of a volunteer’s onboarding. These are all crucial bits of information that help Reading Partners as a whole communicate information where it is needed. For example, if a VC is unsure whether a tutor has already received a handoff, they can check a tutor’s yearly record (otherwise known as their ATD) and check the dates on which they received correspondence from Reading Partners. Emails logged in Salesforce also help us with this effort and give us the ability to send emails directly from the Salesforce interface.
To someone unfamiliar with data entry and analysis, this may sound like a lot of dense and intimidating language. I assure you there is nothing to worry about, and that this was a learning curve for me as well. It’s not as bad as it may sound!
Salesforce is the software Reading Partners uses as its main database for a wide variety of information, and AmeriCorps members are trained extensively in its use to keep track of student and tutor data throughout the year. In addition, Google Workspace is an excellent tool we use during service for communication and data entry. For example, for Tutor Orientations, we use Google Sheets to organize our attendance sheets and ask tutors for their preferred availability, which we then bring back into Salesforce.
Part of our promise as Reading Partners AmeriCorps members is that even though we work with a lot of data, we make sure to keep it as safe and secure as possible through authorized access only and working to make sure our tutor and student information is strictly confidential. Tutors can feel assured that we have policies that will protect them in place; even if a laptop is compromised, we work quickly to make sure the information on the device is locked to unauthorized individuals.
As an AmeriCorps member, if you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the data and information, don’t hesitate to reach out to your peers and management team with any questions that come up. We want to set you up to have a confident, successful service year.
I’ll see you next time when I discuss another important part of the volunteer coordinator role: tabling events!