Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who needs to record hours?
    All Master Gardeners, regardless of when they were trained and certified are to record volunteer and continuing education hours in the Volunteer Reporting System. Those without computers can use a public computer to access the system or someone with Association Administration rights can enter hours on behalf of another person.
  • How do I use the Volunteer Reporting System?
    Instructions are available here: User reporting system instructions.
  • My account in the reporting system is locked and I did submit my background check. What do I do?
    • If you submitted your background check electronically, navigate to https://consumercare.truescreen.com/. Enter the Case Reference Number (available in your original email from Truescreen) or alternatively, click on “Don’t have your Case Report Number?”
      • Enter the required identifying information.
      • View background report and share it with your local Master Gardener Coordinator who will enter the status and date into system and re-activate your account. If you do not have a local Master Gardener Coordinator, share this with the State Coordinator.
    • If you completed the paper form in lieu of the electronic form, your local Master Gardener Coordinator to contact Clemson HR to verify the date and status of your check. He/she can then enter that into the Volunteer Reporting System and reactivate your account. If you do not have a local Master Gardener Coordinator, contact the State Coordinator.
  • I can’t get into the reporting system to enter hours, and I did not submit my background check.
    If you were able to enter hours previously but haven’t submitted and passed your background check, you are blocked from documenting your hours and cannot volunteer as a South Carolina Clemson Master Gardener. If you have not yet completed a background check and wish to continue volunteering, please contact your local Master Gardener Coordinator. All Master Gardeners must have a background check in order to volunteer per Clemson University Policy. The background check is only a criminal background check and NOT a financial check. Failure to pass a background check results in revocation of the title of SC Master Gardener.
  • Does everyone need a background check?
    Yes! In order to volunteer and to enter your hours into the Volunteer Reporting System, every Master Gardener needs to complete a background check. This has been required since 2001, but without a centralized tracking system for volunteers, the policy was not universally implemented. Background checks are required by Master Gardener programs in our neighboring states: Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia.
  • How do I change my email address for the Clemson Volunteer Reporting System?
    Log on to the reporting system and click on ‘My Profile’. Delete the old email address, add the new email address (making sure it’s spelled correctly), and scroll down to click on ‘Update Profile’.
  • Can I change my password?

    Yes, you can.

    • Go to the Volunteer Reporting System login page and click on Click here to reset password.
    • In the next screen, enter your username or email address. Click on Get new password.
    • Check your email for an email from WordPress [SC Master Gardener] Password Reset.
    • Click on the URL in the email to reset your password.
    • The system will provide you with a new password.
    • If you prefer to use another password, delete the one given and type in the one you prefer.
    • Click on Reset Password.
  • I have forgotten my password. How do I get a new one?
    • Go to the Volunteer Reporting System login page and click on Click here to reset password.
    • In the next screen, enter your username or email address. Click on Get new password.
    • Check your email for an email from WordPress [SC Master Gardener] Password Reset.
    • Click on the URL in the email to reset your password.
    • The system will provide you with a new password.
    • If you prefer to use another password, delete the one given and type in the one you prefer.
    • Click on Reset Password.
  • What are the initial certification requirements to become a Master Gardener?
    • Pass a background check
    • Complete the volunteer agreement form
    • Complete the MGTC and pass the final exam with a minimum score of 70%
    • Complete 40 hours of educational service
  • What qualifies as educational service for MGTC students and interns?
    Educational service directly reflects the mission of the South Carolina Master Gardener Program. These are volunteer hours that are dedicated to teaching others research-based information about gardening and other horticultural topics. When in doubt, ask your local Master Gardener Coordinator.
  • What are the Status categories?

    Status categories, found on the ‘My Profile’ page of the reporting system, are determined by the Volunteer Reporting System based on the number of educational service and continuing education hours that are entered for the previous fiscal year July 1 – June 30. This program will be run every year in July. Status can be changed by the state or local MG Coordinator.

    • Certified: Meets or exceeds the minimum annual requirements of 20 hours of educational service and 10 hours of continuing education.
    • Active: Some activities are documented but not the minimum annual requirements.
    • Inactive: There is no documentation of educational service and continuing education.
    • Intern: This is a student in the Master Gardener Training Course or a student who has successfully completed the course but not yet performed all 40 hours of educational service.
    • Emeritus: This title is used to designate active Master Gardeners who are no longer able to fully meet the volunteer service requirement for annual recertification. Emeritus status can only be granted with concurrence of the local Master Gardener Coordinator and the State Coordinator. There is an application form available from the State Master Gardener Coordinator.
  • I have been inactive and would like to become active again.
    1. If you have been inactive for less than 5 years:
      • Contact the local Master Gardener Coordinator to indicate the desire to become active
      • Complete a new volunteer agreement form
      • Complete a background check
      • Additional steps such as auditing Master Gardener Training Classes or participating in local volunteer training may be required and are at the discretion of the local Master Gardener Coordinator.
    2. If you have been inactive for 5 years or more:
      • Contact the local Master Gardener Coordinator to indicate the desire to become active
      • Complete the volunteer agreement form
      • Complete a new background check
      • Audit the entire Master Gardener Training Course and pass the final exam with a score of 70% or higher. (There will be no charge for the course, but the individual will be responsible for purchasing a new Master Gardener Manual if there has been a revision since he or she took the course and any materials required by the local MG Coordinator.)
  • Can I ‘bundle’ volunteer activities to save time?
    It is preferable to make a separate entry for each activity. If you choose to bundle hours, please be sure to explain that in the description. It looks like an error when someone reports 20 hours for a single day.
  • What do the hours at the bottom of the screen mean?

    You may notice there is a small table at the bottom of the My Activities page of the reporting system. Here is an example.

    Hours (Queried + Historic = Total)

    Total Miles

    Total Adult Contacts

    Total Youth Contacts

    495.25 + 2477.27 = 2972.27

    129

    209

    12

     

    This is an account of what you have entered in the Volunteer Reporting System for the previous year from the day’s date.  If today is May 28, 2020, you will see what has been entered in the system for the period May 28, 2019 - May 28, 2020.

    Hours – In this example, the person has entered 495.25 hours for the period May 28, 2019 – May 28, 2020.  The 2477.27 represents the hours in the old reporting system prior to July 1, 2019. Please note you can change the date range to obtain information about other periods of time.

    Total Miles – The miles entered in the reporting system for the period May 28, 2019 – May 28, 2020.

    Total Adult Contacts – The number of adult contacts reported for the period May 28, 2019 – May 28, 2020.

    Total Youth Contacts – The number of youth contacts reported for the period May 28, 2019 – May 28, 2020.

  • When I volunteer or attend a continuing education program outside of my home county, do I need to change the county where I report that activity?
    Yes, the county should always reflect where the activity took place. It is more important for volunteer service but does apply to both service and continuing education. Let’s say you live in Richland County but deliver an educational program in Lexington County. You should choose Lexington County when reporting that activity.
  • I forgot to enter an activity. Can I enter it now even though it happened 3 months ago?
    The system will allow you to use any date so it is possible to enter something from the past. Please note that the reporting year is July 1 – June 30. We ask that all hours be entered by July 14 as the system is programmed to examine annual requirements and change each user’s status accordingly on or around July 15.
  • Can I log Travel Time?

    Travel time, not to exceed 1 hour per volunteer activity, may be included for volunteer activities. *Note that neither travel time nor mileage may be reported for continuing education. The fields are grayed-out to prevent accidental entry.

    .25 = 15minutes

    .50 = 30minutes

    .75 = 45minutes