Doing It by the Book: Keeping Track of Member Hours in 2020

photo-freshly harvested red onions

Hansberry Garden depends on the love and attention of volunteer workers, especially its members. There’s plenty of work to do, and it yields great rewards, including the knowledge that we’ve contributed to beautifying our neighborhood, nurturing pollinators that are necessary to the survival of plant life, and providing education and entertainment to people in Northwest Philadelphia and beyond.

Hansberry Garden membership comes with a few work requirements. Our system for keeping track of the hours members spend on volunteer activities for the garden centers on a loose-leaf binder, kept in the toolshed, with a page for each member household. Prepared by Membership Chair Janet Peterman, the notebook is kept on the shelf to the left of the door as you enter. Its cover features a photo of freshly harvested red onions like the one above.

Inside, you’ll find a sheet for each member household, with spaces to record hours you’ve contributed. The pages are ordered by bed number; a chart and an index of bed numbers are provided at the beginning of the book.

At the back of the book, you will find a list of maintenance tasks, updated monthly by our Landscape and Maintenance Chairs, Kirk Raper and Linda Thomae. This list includes some tasks that can be performed any time by anybody — picking up litter in and around the garden could be done nearly every day, for example — and some that require a bit more expertise or supervision. An asterisk beside a task indicates that instructional videos can be found online on the “Resources for Members” page of our website (see the “Hints and Instructions” tab).

The book also includes a volunteer sign-up sheets for group events. If you organize an event or committee meeting, please collect participants’ signatures on one of these. If you attend an event and don’t see a sign-up sheet, please remind the organizer to provide one. This system is still fairly new to us, and sometimes we forget. Event organizers, if you’re away from the garden, you can download a sign-in sheet here (or, if you can’t do that, collect the relevant info on a sheet of paper).

If we do forget, or if you forget to log hours before you leave the garden, or the volunteer work you are doing is off-site, you can use this online form to record your hours. This form, too, is linked from the “Resources for Members” page, under the tab marked “Volunteer Hours.”

Some members regularly exceed the required number of hours. That’s great! We’d love it if you continued to record hours even after you’ve met the requirements. There are additional lines on the back of your garden bed’s front page. If you fill up that page, there are additional blank pages at the back of the notebook. Bring one forward right behind your bed’s sheet, put your name and bed number on it, and keep recording your hours. We want to keep track of all the hours our members donate to the garden because showing potential donors that we have a strong, committed membership can help establish that giving to Hansberry Garden is worthwhile.