Managing Your VISTA Project

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Managing Your VISTA Project. Roles, Responsibilities, and Support. Session Objectives. By the end of this session, you will be able to: Describe in broad terms how your VISTA project fits into the context of the National Service Network - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Managing Your VISTA ProjectRoles, Responsibilities, and Support

  • Session ObjectivesBy the end of this session, you will be able to:Describe in broad terms how your VISTA project fits into the context of the National Service NetworkFollow and support communication protocol with Corporation State OfficeRecognize VISTA project responsibilitiesIdentify opportunities for member supportKnow where to go, when, and for what!


  • Review of How You Became a VISTA Sponsor or VISTA Site

    Concept Paper Submitted in eGrants which identified the unmet needs in a low-income community and described how the VISTA resources would be used to address those needs.

    VISTA requires that the concept and the application be developed in collaboration with a community advisory group.

  • Review contd Project Plan includes: VISTA Application Submitted in eGrants which included: Executive Summary, Needs and Activities, Recruitment and Member Development, Program ManagementDescription of the community need that your project will address Goal statement that describes the impact your project will have in addressing the community need. The goal statement should cover a three year period Performance milestones - the result the agency hopes the VISTA will achieve over the course of one year

  • Review contd

    Memorandum of Agreement/Notice of Grant AwardThe MA is a legal agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of CNCS and the sponsoring agencyMay start before members are placed or may coincide with the placement of your first VISTA

  • What is the Corporation State Office?Corporation State Office staff develop, manage and oversee VISTA programs both in their state and often in other states or on a national basis

    Staff are also responsible for understanding all of the Corporations programs, not just VISTA. We are a diversified agencyour job is to help you determine which program or resource is most appropriate to meet your needs

  • Support from Corporation State OfficeProject application process

    Conference calls, webinars and technical assistance

    Support the supervision of VISTAs

  • Recruiting and Welcoming VISTA Members to Your OrganizationThe VISTA Assignment Description (VAD)Submit to state office for aprovalUse as a recruitment toolAccompanies VISTAs to the PSO

    On-Site Orientation and Training (OSOT)Submit OSOT plan 30 days prior to the VISTAs arrivalRequired when the VISTA arrives on-site

  • RelationshipsMember support, within chain of command:VISTA member should go to immediate supervisor firstThen parent organization (if applicable)Then CNCS State OfficeThen CNCS Headquarters (if not resolved)

  • Handling VISTA Member Issues

    Prohibited Actions (Policies related to employment, political activity, criminal history or activity)Early terminations Removal from projectOther

  • Service Restrictions:Nepotism

    A person cannot hold the position of VISTA member if a member of his/her family exercises supervisory authority over the personA person cannot hold the position of VISTA supervisor if he/she is related to the CNCS program official responsible for the VISTA project

  • VMSU and SponsorsA sponsor may intervene on behalf of a member and contact the VISTA Member Support Unit (VMSU) if there are support issues related to the members benefits of service. 866-473-5733If a sponsor contacts the VMSU for any other reason, the VMSU will refer the sponsor to their State Office.

  • VMSU Support AreasEnd of Service Benefits- Education Award- Interest Accrual- Forbearance Requests- StipendTravelReimbursementsEmergency

    Service Letters- Currently Serving - Verification of Service- Income DisregardBenefits- Child Care- Health Benefits PlanForms -W-4, W-5, Direct Deposit, Life Insurance

  • Living AllowanceStandard VISTAs (not operational grant VISTAs) are paid directly by VISTA through direct depositDirect deposit and all related forms are available via https://my.americorps.govContact the VMSU about:- W-2 and 1099 forms- Deductions

  • Online Member SupportVISTA Campusvistacampus.orgMember page Starting VISTA?TCBCivil RightsPSO infoResource BoardEssentials pageIntro to mission of VISTA and capacity building

  • VISTA Resource BoardOn the Essentials page of the Campus

  • Helping your VISTA memberWhat can you do as a VISTA sponsor to support your VISTA member?HousingFood/giftsClothing (agency logo apparel)Promotional items

  • VISTA Leaders VISTA Leaders have already served one year: Leaders help recruit, mentor and coordinate teams of VISTA members serving with larger projects or within a given region. A project needs at least 6 VISTAs to qualify for a leader

    VISTA Leaders can help to coordinate report writing: They can interpret data from VISTAS and guide them in their data collection

  • Sponsor Verification

    Bi-weekly fax (retrieved from Portal) confirming the VISTAs service

  • REPORTINGProject Progress Report: The PPR reportsthe accomplishments of the overall project, not the individual VISTAsSubmitted via eGrantsSupervisors NarrativeMember(s) NarrativesSampling of press coverage, newsletters, curriculum to state office via hardcopy or email Links, attachments, and images are not allowed thru eGrants

  • VISTA Progress Report Supplement (VPRS)

  • Reporting PeriodsFirst year projects report quarterlySecond and third year projects report semi-annually, at the discretion of the state office

    Project Period Covered: Date Report is Due:July 1 - Sept. 30October 30Oct. 1 - Dec. 31January 30Jan. 1 - March 31April 30April 1 - June 30July 30

  • VISTA Progress Report Supplement (VPRS)The VPRS, submitted through eGrants, is an annual supplement to the PPR

    The data is aggregated and reported externally- It is not used to assess individual progress performance

    The VPRS asks for performance information that CNCS tracks from all Corporation programs.

  • VISTA Progress ReportSupplement (VPRS) cont.The data is based on VISTA service in the following areas:Mobilizing Community Volunteers, including Boomers and studentsResource DevelopmentDisadvantaged YouthIndependent Living Services

  • VISTA Progress ReportSupplement (VPRS) cont.Annual report, due October 31 for the previous fiscal year (Oct. 1 Sep. 30)

    Talk with your state office to determine what data you need to report

    Establish tracking tools to collect the data

  • VISTA Recovery Progress Report Supplement In addition to PPR and VPRSProjects receiving Recovery Act VISTAs will be required to report on a specific set of activities central to economic recovery Reporting will be done in eGrants in a modified version of the VPRS called VISTA Recovery Progress Report Supplement (VRPRS)Reports will be submitted quarterly

  • What goes in the VRPRS?Measures that pertain to a narrow set of program activities central to economic recovery that include:Volunteer Generation and ManagementNon-profit Capacity BuildingEmployment and Skills Training ProgramsHome Foreclosures and Housing AssistanceFinancial PlanningYou are only responsible for reporting on those measures that are relevant to your projects activities.

  • Reporting Schedule for VRPRSProject Period Covered:Date Report Due:

    Oct. 1, 2009 Dec. 31, 2009Jan. 7, 2010Jan. 1, 2010 Mar. 30, 2010Apr. 7, 2010Apr. 1, 2010 Jun. 30, 2010Jul. 7, 2010Jul. 1, 2010 Sep. 30, 2010Oct. 7, 2010

  • ReportingPPR: Quarterly/semi annually-reports on the accomplishments of the overall project

    VPRS: Annually-reports on CNCS metrics

    VRPRS: Quarterly report on program activities related to recovery

  • Informal CommunicationsIn addition to quarterly reports, we encourage you to communicate with your state office:

    Email (snippets of accomplishments, member activities are helpful)


  • Monitoring and Compliance Visits Site visitsConducted by state office staff and occasionally by Headquarters staffMay be informational, to provide technical assistance, or specifically for monitoring Compliance Monitoring visitsInvolve interviews with project staff, the VISTAs, advisory council members, and the local communityAre scheduled in advance; typically twice in first 3-year cycleAfter the visit, a letter outlining the results is sent to both the project director and sponsoring agency executive

    Corporation State Office Visits

  • Contacts & ResourcesProject Support/Policy & ProcedureYour State Office (listed in Resources section of your binder)VISTA Member Handbook vistacampus.orgSupervisor Terms, Conditions, and Benefits (TCB) Tutorial vistacampus.orgSupervisor Handbook

    Member SupportMy AmeriCorps recruitment, in-processing documents, National Service Trust, allowance statements 1-800-942-2677VISTA Member Support Unit (VMSU) 866-473-5733, travel, living allowances, benefits, emergencies

    Training & DevelopmentVISTA Campus -learning center tailored to VISTA members, supervisors, and state offices with interactive tutorials and activities, forums, and rich materials to connect the VISTA community.

  • More ContactsTraining & Development (continued)The Resource wide range of materials

    BenefitsSeven Corners & Member Health Care Guide (866-699-4186) NACCRRA: 800-570-4543 /

    General InformationNational Service Partners, www.nationalservice.govCNCS, www.cns.govHelp Desk 888-677-7849Resource Board,

    *Hello and welcome! Ask supervisors to use the session handouts for their notes and to jot down questions. If someone needs you to stop and explain something, ask them to please raise their hand. 1 minute


    This session is meant to focus on key pieces that will give them the information they need to ensure success as a VISTA supervisor. We will cover:The VISTA project in the context of the National Service networkHow to communicate with the State Office via formal (reporting) and informal (email, phone calls) methodsOpportunities for them and their State Office to support the VISTA member

    1 minute*CNCS is host to a number of other programs and potential partners for VISTA projects:(briefly review map)Explain that in each state, there is a state commission; NOT to be confused with the State Office. State Commissions administer AmeriCorps state and national grants whereas State Offices administer VISTA and Senior Corps only.Emphasize that these are great programs that offer many opportunities to partner with in order to achieve their programs mission and support the VISTA projectQuickly name each major program and inform them that if they want to know more about the programs and partnering opportunities, there is a detailed description of each in the Supervisors Resources section pages 1-3 in their binder. Why Partner: Common issue areas 2. Expanded capacity/net working 3.Shared research/evaluation 4. Expanded marketing/resource development 5. Shared training/technical assistance 6. Experience with CNCS 6. It just makes sense. 2 minutes*Concept Paper is submitted in eGrants. Once the concept paper is approved, the applicant submits an application in eGrants. 1 minute

    2 minutes

    *Supervisors should be familiar wit the legal document that provides the authority for their organization to operate a VISTA program. There are two documents that serve this purpose depending upon the program. The Memorandum of Agreement, or MA, covers those projects that have members placed with them. The Notice of Grant Award serves the same function for those programs receiving grant funds. 1 minute **2 minutes* The State Office can schedule a conference call or webinar to bring members from multiple sites together for meetings The State Office can also offer VISTA members conference call abilities to talk about issues without supervisors present2 minutesYou will be working on the VISTA Assignment Descriptions this afternoon.

    Guidance on how to develop an OSOT will be provided on day four of this orientation.1 minute

    *1 minute

    **TCB NOT FOLLOWEDAs you know from earlier review, the Terms, Conditions and Benefits outline the details of whats provided and allowed to members during VISTA service. If a member violates one of the terms or conditions, the supervisor needs to contact their State Office staff. Different violations have different repercussions, and for the protection of the project and any other members on board, its critical to act promptly. 3-5 minutes usually many questions here

    Check the groups understanding of the situation, by asking the following questions (all answers are NO):Can VISTAs work part time? Can VISTAs sell Avon or Amway? Can VISTAs register voters as part of their assignment? (They can if it is not part of VISTA service, though.)

    EARLY TERMINATIONS/RESIGNATIONS OF MEMBERSSponsor must notify CNCS staffVISTA member & Supervisor must complete Future Plans form and CNCS Exit FormAuthorization to replace VISTA is not automatic

    Sponsor-requested removal of a member from projectCan request removal of member from a project, NOT removal from VISTA programMust be in writing to the State Office; include description of corrective actions/meetings taken to this point Living allowance payments cannot be withheld from the VISTARead Handbook for specific stepsThere are times when, for a variety of reasons, the match between the member and project doesnt work out. This way the member can remain a VISTA, and serve in a new project.

    Sponsor-requested Removal CALL STATE OFFICE BEFORE TAKING ACTIONWhen they anticipate problems or are taking significant performance-based actions, contact the State Office firstSponsor does not have the authority to remove a member from a project only the State Office can do soLegal process must be followed (outlined in handbook); appeals process available to memberDocumentationManagement practices use them!Feedback to memberAsk for help before it gets to this point

    First rule is always call the State Office staff when they anticipate a problem, or know a member will terminate early.This happens for a variety of reasons: family, health, satisfaction, other opportunitiesFollowing process is critical because it affects payroll, their future ability to serve and receive ed award or other benefits, and the determination of current benefits (e.g. Partial ed award)

    1 minute*1 minute

    **If your participants have questions about any of the following issue areas, offer these explanations:

    CHILDCARE ISSUESMost issues are that the VISTA members application is denied or that they dont have proper documentation. VMSU staff will work with NACCRRA (National Assoc. of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies), the childcare provider for VISTA, to get issues resolved.

    2 minutes

    LIVING ALLOWANCE NOT RECEIVED Contact the VMSU with specific info about the member and the pay period of the missing checkThis situation can be avoided with direct deposit

    INCOME DISREGARDVISTA living allowances cannot be used in calculating benefits for public assistance programs if th...