Service Project Timeline

The following are tips and to-do’s for a one-day project. This timeline can be easily adapted to fit most volunteer opportunities.

Welcome (15-30 minutes)

  • Ask volunteers to sign in, fill out any necessary forms, and take a name tag.
  • Gather volunteers together and thank them for participating in the project; introduce yourself and your project partners. Welcome and introduce volunteers.
  • Give a brief orientation, including an overview of the project, its importance, and how it will affect the community, agency, and/or the clients you are serving. Ask your project site contact to talk briefly about the mission and history of the organization.
  • Review the schedule for the day. Inform volunteers about the lunch / snack plan and restroom locations. Review safety procedures. Set a goal for the first half of the project

Assign Tasks (5-10 minutes)

  • Describe the project tasks to be completed.
  • Introduce the task leaders, or assign task leaders if they have not already been identified.
  • Assign volunteers to the different work areas. Make sure that each task has the right number of volunteers and that each volunteer feels comfortable and prepared to complete the task at hand.

Distribute Supplies (5-10 minutes)

  • Supervise supply distribution.
  • Remind volunteers to follow the safety procedures that were discussed.

Note: You may choose to distribute the supplies to the work locations prior to the volunteers' arrival at the project site. This can save time and confusion once your volunteers are ready to get started.

Project Task Implementation (1-4 hours)

  • Monitor volunteers and maintain communication with task leaders to ensure the project is running smoothly.
  • Watch for conflicts, supply shortages, injuries, or other issues of concern.
  • Keep an eye on the progress being made and be prepared to make adjustments as needed. Share the progress and encouraging stories with volunteers to keep them motivated.

Lunch or Snack Break (10-20 minutes, optional)

  • Encourage everyone to eat together and meet new people.
  • Evaluate your progress so far and discuss how the rest of the day will go.

Close the Project and Clean Up (30 minutes - 2 hours)

  • Finish all projects at least 30 minutes before the designated end time to allow time for clean up and reflection.
  • Supervise clean up, making sure all trash is disposed of and all supplies/materials are stored.

Reflection and Wrap-up (15 minutes)

  • Thank everyone and talk about the impact of the work accomplished.
  • Discuss the highlights and the challenges of the day.
  • Engage volunteers in the reflection or wrap-up activity you planned for the project.
  • Discuss next steps: Does the project need to be finished at a later time? Are participants interested in volunteering again?
  • Conduct an evaluation with volunteers, staff, beneficiaries, or others from the community.