If you have questions that are not answered in this manual, this section can point you in the right direction of who to contact or where to look for additional information.
Each state has a designated CNCS State Office to help develop, manage, and monitor VISTA programs in their state and sometimes in other states (for national projects). The role of a CNCS State Office is outreach, project development, technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation, and VISTA member support. Each CNCS State Office is led by a State Program Director (SPD) and may also include one or more Program Officers (PO). Major duties of CNCS State Office staff are:
- Manages a portfolio of AmeriCorps VISTA and Senior Corps projects
- Provides technical assistance to project sponsors and monitors project/grants data indicators to affirm compliance with performance measurement requirements
- Assists current and potential sponsors in planning, designing, and submitting grant applications consistent with CNCS guidance
- Assures portfolio records are well organized and comply with office requirements
- Continually reviews and evaluates project operations through on-site compliance monitoring and electronic progress report review and feedback
- Responds to technical assistance requests from potential sponsoring organizations that wish to develop proposals for VISTA projects
- Assists potential sponsors in refining project goals and objectives, in determining if the project is in accordance with the VISTA mission, and in ensuring that self-sustaining activity will be achieved within the low-income community
- Approves or disapproves an organization’s concept paper and application
- Arranges for sponsor training opportunities
- Approves or disapproves a sponsor’s selection of a VISTA applicant
- Arranges for VISTA candidates to enroll in Virtual Member Orientation (VMO)
- Supports VISTAs and sponsors during project implementation with in-service training and technical assistance
- Monitors project activities
- Reviews progress reports
- Closes out VISTA projects
- Works with elected officials
- Conducts community outreach
The National Service Hotline is a service that provides general CNCS and VISTA program information as well as eGrants and myAmeriCorps portal technical help. Support can be requested by web form, via live chat, or by phone at 1-800-942-2677.
The VISTA Member Support Unit (VMSU), contacted through the National Service Hotline, manages VISTA members’ service benefits and monitors form completion. A sponsor may contact the VMSU in support of a VISTA, but mainly, VISTA members should contact the VMSU directly if they need support with member benefits.
This is the official website for CNCS, where you can find information for every stream of service, CNCS focus areas, special initiatives, legislation, press releases, blog posts, and more. Be sure to visit the VISTA Sponsor section of nationalservice.gov for additional sponsor resources including application guidance, marketing materials and more.
The Knowledge Network is a section on the National Service website that provides on-demand training on a multitude of topics including, but not limited to capacity building, disability inclusion, VISTA member and volunteer development, performance measurement, and recruitment. These trainings include online courses, webinar series, and readings.
One of the easiest ways to stay connected with everything National Service-related is to follow its many social media presences on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. All of these accounts can be accessed through the Social Media Hub. For additional information, see the section on Marketing, Outreach, and Recruitment.
Branding your VISTA members with both National Service and your organization’s gear is a great way to raise awareness for what your VISTA members are doing in your community. VISTA members are provided an AmeriCorps VISTA logo polo when they start service, but you can also buy additional items on the National Service Gear webstore. Available items include apparel, backpacks, banners, pins, and desk accessories. For additional information, see the section on Marketing, Outreach, and Recruitment.
Acronyms may be used when discussing the VISTA program, so it is important to have a working knowledge of what these acronyms mean.
Code of Federal Regulations
Corporation for National and Community Service
Close of Service
CNCS State Office
Domestic Volunteer Service Act
End of Service
Field Financial Management Center
Federal Financial Report
Future Plans Form
Health and Human Services/Payment Management System
Home of Record
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Memorandum of Agreement
Marketing, Outreach, and Recruitment
Memorandum of Understanding
National and Community Service Act
Notice of Grant Award
Notice of Funding Availability
Notice of Funding Opportunity
National Service Hotline
Office of General Counsel
Office of Inspector General
On-Site Orientation and Training
Payment Management System
Project Progress Report
VISTA Progress Report Supplement
Request for Concept Papers
Request for Proposals
Service Opportunity Listing
State Program Director
Training and Technical Assistance
Terms, Conditions, and Benefits
VISTA Assignment Description
VISTA Leader Assignment Description
Virtual Member Orientation
VISTA Member Support Unit
VISTA Training Unit