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Frequently Asked Questions for AmeriCorps Host Sites

If you are interested in hosting a national service member at your organization, please review our Frequently Asked Questions below. Please note that AmeriCorps and VISTA programs vary widely based on the sponsoring organization and grant guidelines. These questions relate directly to our programs provided through United Way of Greenville County.

 

How do I apply to host an AmeriCorps/VISTA member?

We release our application for host sites in the late winter or early spring of each year, depending on the federal grant cycle. Please complete our interest form to be added to the contact list and receive updates about the application.

To see an informational overview from our most recent application cycle, please view this video.

 

What could an AmeriCorps member do at our site?

Our AmeriCorps members are Resource Navigators; they spend their time focused on helping individuals and families connect to community resources. Team members can provide basic case management services and are trained through SC Thrive to assist people in applying for benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid, Welvista, SSI, Family Independence, and more.

Our team also receives training on teaching and coaching on basic financial literacy topics. We use the materials provided through the National Endowment for Financial Education. Another part of our structure is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program; team members are trained in basic tax preparation and certified by IRS guidelines. During late January–mid-April, team members are mobilized to support local free tax clinics around the community. 

To see sample position descriptions from our team, click here (AmeriCorps) or here (VISTA).

AmeriCorps members are not interns, employees, volunteers, or janitors. During their term, they are to focus on the activities outlined in the grant. AmeriCorps members are prohibited from fundraising, lobbying, proselytizing. See here for a complete list of prohibited activities from the Code of Federal Regulations.

 

What could a VISTA member do at our site?

VISTA members help organizations build capacity through activities such as fundraising, networking, grant writing, database management, volunteer recruitment and training. To see sample VISTA Assignment descriptions, click here:

VISTAs are not intended to sustain ongoing operations; their assignments should be expanding the current operations, researching new best practices, document current operations for sustainability, or creating new events/relationships/projects. Unlike AmeriCorps members, VISTA members are allowed to fundraise, but there are other prohibitions regarding involvement in politics and religion are the same. See here for the detailed regulations.

In addition to regular VISTA duties, United Way of Greenville County looks for alignment with our grant as it relates to the overarching grant goals and objectives. Our current project is based on collective impact and encourages the collaboration of financial stability organizations. This project requires host sites to sign data sharing and confidentiality agreements.

 

What does it take to be a host site?

Please see these links to view examples of a partner agreement (MOU) and Request for Proposal.

The role of a host site includes the follow:

       Complete start-up requirements from UWGC

      Host site application

      Memorandum of understanding (MOU)

      Pay cost share per member

      Attend supervisor training (usually last week in July)

       Participate in recruitment for team members

      Both for your site and referring candidates for the overall applicant pool

      Interview candidates to determine site match

       3-way match rule (staff, host site, and member agree)

       Onboarding team member

      Having a physical and digital workspace prepared: computer, internet and email access, phone, office supplies, logins to appropriate systems, etc.

      Meet and set clear expectations with team member

      Train on your organizational policies and procedures

       Ongoing Member Development and Support

      Connecting to opportunities for networking and training

      Providing feedback to promote personal and professional growth

      Coaching and mentoring; giving correction and guidance

      Complete mid- and end-of-year evaluations

       Adhere to compliance guidelines

      Have a process in place to ascertain that the clientele receiving services meet the grant guidelines

      Train your staff on prohibited vs. allowable activities and prevent mission creep

      Use appropriate branding, including required window cling at your location and correct language on websites

      Monitor member activities to ensure alignment with position

      Provide roughly 36 hours per week of service opportunities

      Review and sign member’s online timesheet every week

      Uphold data collection and storage expectations

 

What does the application process look like?

Our application for host sites is completed through a system called Apricot. You can view sample application instructions here:

After applications are received, program staff work with community volunteers and a cross-departmental team at United Way to review sites. All applications are graded based on a rubric to determine the best fit for our programs.

After individual reviews are completed via rubric, the review team meets to discuss the findings and make final decision. Sites are then notified of the results via email or phone call.

The timeline for this process varies based on the federal and state funding schedules for the year. These processes affect our re-application process as the grant holder.

 

What happens if we are selected?

Upon selection, an on-site supervisor will need to be identified. During the summer, AmeriCorps staff hosts a training for all supervisors. This training includes more in-depth information on member recruitment, management, and retention. We also cover grant compliance in greater detail as well.

Your organization will receive a partner agreement and be asked to review and sign and to remit payment to United Way for the determined cost share amount.

 

Who are your current partner sites / host agencies?

We collaborate with other local United Ways and partner agencies to host AmeriCorps members so they can connect with the community. Sites re-apply each year, so this list varies. Below is a list of our current partners for the current (2019-2020) service year:

AmeriCorps Upstate:

United Way of Greenville County (grant holder)
United Way of Laurens County

United Way of Anderson County
United Way of Pickens
Dream Center of Pickens
Goodwill (Easley, Berea, and Simpsonville)
Greenville Technical College
Greer Relief
Mill Village Farms
Rebuild Upstate
SC Empowerment Centre
Self Help Credit Union
United Ministries
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program

 

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