State Hunter Education Programs are funded primarily with Federal dollars funded by Sections 4(c) and 10 Hunter Education Programs of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). To receive Federal funding, States must provide at least 25 percent of the project costs from a non-Federal source. The non-Federal share or "match" can be derived from license fees paid by hunters or by the value of third party in-kind contributions. Many States use the value of donated volunteer instructor hours to provide the match for their hunter education grant, which greatly benefits the state. The backbone of State Hunter Education Programs is the cadre of more than 50,000 active volunteer instructors in the U.S. Each volunteer has his/her own personal reasons for devoting more than 5.3 million hours of unpaid work. Collectively, volunteers have contributed approximately $38 million worth of volunteer services since the early 1970s.
The general rule is that the value donated represents what a State would pay if these services were purchased in the open market. In order to use volunteer hours as match, Federal regulations (specifically 43 CFR 12.64) require States to document third party in-kind contributions. States must follow a comparable process to that used by state employees for documenting volunteer hours. Volunteers are required to submit timesheets (or similar documentation) to the State fish and wildlife agency, which at a minimum should address the following elements:
- Name of volunteer;
- Date(s) of donated services;
- Hours of donated services;
- Signature of the volunteer; and
- Signature from the lead instructor or Conservation Office to verify volunteer hours worked.
Click HERE for a sample/example of a Volunteer Time/Mileage Report Form used by Massachusetts.
The Federal responsibility is to assure the State’s procedures for documenting volunteer instructor hours is complete and in compliance with Federal regulations. By providing this information, it not only meets States needs for providing the State match, but it also meets Federal requirements.