Volunteer Management System (VMS)

VMS Coding Guidelines

Our purpose as a Master Gardener is to provide home gardeners with unbiased, research-based gardening information that is locally relevant. We want them to be successful in their gardening endeavors so that can love their gardening experience as much as we love ours! But with being a Master Gardener also come some responsibilities. Responsibilities such as reporting our hours in a timely and accurate manner.

Reporting our volunteer hours is important as they are used for two purposes:

  • Certification – In order to be certified as a MG in good standing for the next year a BCMG member must volunteer 30 hours (VH), receive 6 hours of continuing education (CEU), and attend two BCMG monthly meetings. By recording your hours, the Membership Director can generate a list of the MGs who have reached these milestones for David to certify for the next year.
  • Funding – Our hours of service (VH) are reported to the state and all funding organizations as part of the AgriLife Extension Service reports on services and activities provided within our county. The accuracy of these hours is extremely important when providing these funding organizations with our outputs. Our hours are often converted to FTEs (Full Time Employees) to show the work we do in terms of what a paid employee would accomplish.

The following guidelines should be used when logging Volunteer Hours (VHs) and Continuing Education hours (CEs) into VMS:

  1. You cannot log both VHs and CEs to the same Project.
  2. All AgriLife certified classes, regardless of who or where they were presented, should always be logged to Project 001.
  3. The Monthly Meeting should be logged to Project 002 and is 1.00 CE regardless of the duration of the meeting.
  4. Volunteer Hours are logged to Projects 0100 – 1200.
  5. VHs and CEs should be recorded to the nearest half hour, rounding up or down as appropriate.
  6. The Description of your entry should be meaningful; ‘Monthly Meeting’ or ‘Class’ will not be meaningful to you next year.  Please include the class title and instructor. For class details you can always consult the BCMG Calendar. The Description for your Volunteer Hours should be descriptive of that session.
  7. Potential confusion:
    • If you attend a Cultivate! class, it would be logged to Project 001 (BCMG Presentation); if you assist with a Cultivate! class (such as projection or presentation), then you would log your VHs to Project 0200 (Cultivate!).
    • If you attend the Monthly Meeting, it would be logged to Project 002 (Monthly Meetings) for 1.00 CE; if you assist with the Monthly Meeting (such as setup/teardown or production), then you would log those VHs to Project 0700 (BCMG Committees).
    • Splitting your CE and VH time: Many MGs work as a Culinary Docent or as a volunteer at the Children’s Vegetable Garden and often receive half an hour of training before each session.  To properly log your time in VMS, you should record 0.50 CE using Project 001 (your training time) and record your VHs to Project 0150 (Culinary) or Project 1200 (CVG).  Both the CE and VH entries would use the same date but may have different Descriptions.

In order for all BCMGs to report their hours in a manner that is appropriate for the AgriLife Extension reports, the BCMG Board has approved the following clarification points to use when reporting hours:

  • Report hours as soon as possible! Hours that are not reported until the end of the year are often forgotten. In addition, those hours were not available for the AgriLife Extension reports that go out earlier in the year and therefore provided no supporting documentation for the work that we do.
  • Travel time should not be reported as volunteer time. While it is understood that the time you spend traveling to and from events is very real time (and it is greatly appreciated!) it is not considered appropriate volunteer time in the reports that are generated showing our equivalent full-time employees. A FTE’s travel time is not included and therefore it should not be included in ours.
  • No double dipping. If you are volunteering at a presentation that qualifies for CEs you may count the time as either VHs or CEs but not both. For example, if you spend 30 minutes helping to set-up, handle sign-in sheets, and take-down for a 60-minute presentation, you may count it as 0.5 VHs plus 1 CE (two separate entrees in VMS) or you may count it is 1.5 VHs.
  • Use accurate hours. While VH and CE times may be posted for an event, this is just to give you an idea of the time that is anticipated. Often times, an event takes more or less time than this estimate. Please report the actual time you volunteered or that the CE presentation took.

Please use these guidelines moving forward. Thank you for the service you provide Bexar County home gardeners! And thank you for your support of the Master Gardener Program and AgriLife Extension through the accurate reporting of your hours!

VMS Coding Guidelines revised 4/20/2022

VMS Project Codes


001: AgriLife Extension/BCMG Presentations

These are programs that are hosted by or presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service staff, Texas A&M System staff, retired AgriLife staff, or certified Texas Master Gardeners.

  • Horticulture-related programs given by AgriLife Extension Service staff
  • Horticulture-related programs given by Texas A&M System staff (ex. Texas A&M Forestry Service)
  • Horticulture programs given by certified Texas Master Gardeners.
  • Programs at the Texas Master Gardener State Conference and the Regional/International Master Gardeners Conference

002: BCMG Monthly Meeting Seminars                  

Monthly Meetings are only 1 CEU regardless of meeting duration.


100: Community Outreach Events

The BCMG BoD and the AgriLife Horticulture Agent must approve Community Outreach Events each year. The following events have been approved for 2021:

  • BasilFest
  • Monarch Butterfly Festival (Zoo)
  • Monarch Festival (Confluence Park)
  • Texas Folklife Festival
  • Top Tomato Contest (Fanick’s)

150: SABOT Culinary Garden Docents, including CHEF Program (Note: Greenhouse, SABOT plant sales, etc. are not approved for VHs)

  • MGs are limited to 6 shifts (12 VHs) per year as a Culinary Garden Docent.
  • CHEF Program is no longer a MG approved program for volunteer hours.


  • Spring & Fall CULTIVATE!
  • Cultivate Academy

300: Master Gardener Hotline

400: SA Rodeo  

  • Rodeo construction, tear-down and hospitality
  • Rodeo support

500: Speakers Bureau

  • Assisting a BCMG speaker
  • Preparing presentations
  • Scheduling speakers
  • Speaking at:
    • Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Series
    • EarthKind Gardening Series
    • MGs at the SABOT Series
    • All presentation scheduled through the Speakers Bureau

600: Water Conservation Activities

These are SAWS sponsored events or they have requested our participation:

  • Cultivating communities
  • Earth Day events
  • Festival of Flowers
  • Habitat for Humanity landscaping classes
  • Spring Bloom (SAWS)


700: BCMG Committees

All committee work, including, but not limited to:

  • Awards: Helping write the applications for the TMGA Awards
  • BCMG Monthly Meeting set-up & tear-down
  • Communications
    • Facebook team
    • Leaflet team
    • Scion: Editing and writing articles
    • Website: Content and calendar work
    • VMS: Coordinator and calendar coordinators
    • Publicity for BCMG events
  • Distribution events: Pins, merchandise, drawing winners, etc.
  • Fundraising:
    • Champions fore Charity
    • Merchandise sales
    • Membership Meeting plant sales
    • Poinsettia sale
    • Not included are the plant sales that are part of a Community Outreach event such as SA Rodeo, Spring Bloom, etc.
  • Grant writing
  • Holiday party
  • Hospitality for meetings and events
  • Scholarship Committee
  • San Antonio Garden Center:
    • Assisting with hospitality for our assigned meeting
    • Assisting with BCMG’s assigned responsibility at the SAGC Plant Sale
    • Assisting with BCMG’s assigned responsibility at the SAGC Floral Competition

800: Board of Directors 

  • Attending the BoD Monthly Meeting (as an officer/director/mentor of the Board)
  • All work associated with BoD activities (Finance, Membership, etc.)
  • Texas Master Gardener Association BoD’s Quarterly Meetings

900: MG Training Class Support

1000: Special Projects – AgriLife/BCMG Approved (Note: Special Projects requires permission before it may be used) 

1100: Texas A&M Extension Support – Adult 

  • Assisting horticulture and entomology Extension staff with presentations/events
    • Assisting David with his presentations
    • Backyard Basics
    • Texas Nursery & Landscape Association booth
    • Texas County Agricultural Agents Association booth
    • Entomology summer camps
    • 4-H photography contest judging
  • Greenies Urban Farm
  • Assisting with plant trials, seed extraction, etc.
  • Pollinator Citizen science project

1200: Texas A&M Extension Support – Youth

  • Children’s Vegetable Garden Program (SABOT & PHP)
  • Approved Classroom Garden Program – School Garden support (Note: The school must be registered with AgriLife’s Youth Gardening Program)
  • Approved youth activities and presentations
  • Youth activity supply preparation
  • Learn Grow Eat & Go! program support
  • Youth Garden Educator and JMG Training support
  • Prepare and present training for both youth and adults

Project Codes revised 9/9/2021