Overview of the VISTA Sponsor Handbook


The VISTA Sponsor Handbook (Handbook) addresses roles, responsibilities, and expectations related to VISTA project management for all project staff including project directors, supervisors (member or site), authorized representatives, fiscal staff, and more. Throughout this resource, links to more information or best practices are provided when available for each topic. This document is a companion resource to the VISTA Member Handbook, which speaks to VISTA member policies, as well as to the VISTA Sponsor training resources available via the VISTA Campus.

When a question or issue arises, VISTA project staff should first refer to this Handbook for information on how to proceed and consult with their CNCS State Office (CSO). While this Handbook covers many topics, CNCS State Offices know your project and can offer support and guide you to additional resources.

How to Use the VISTA Sponsor Handbook

The Handbook is designed to be a comprehensive, straightforward resource manual with easy-to-locate information that spans the entire lifecycle of a VISTA project. The Handbook contains content and guidance on all aspects of VISTA project management, including but not limited to VISTA member support, reporting requirements, preparing for new members, core responsibilities, and terms and conditions.

If there is a conflict between a provision contained in this Handbook and applicable federal regulations or Terms and Conditions of the Notice of Grant Award (NGA), the applicable regulations and/or the applicable Terms and Conditions of the NGA are the controlling authorities.

Handbook Design

The Handbook is organized into chapters that contain important guidance about specific requirements and responsibilities as well as success tips, templates, and best practices throughout the life cycle of a VISTA project. VISTA project directors, supervisors, authorized representatives, and others involved with the VISTA project will benefit from reviewing some or all of this information.

This electronic resource is easily searchable and contains links to additional resources and information. Also, this resource will be updated routinely with the most relevant information. As a result, we recommend that you do not print this resource but rather make an electronic bookmark for the Handbook and take advantage of the digital features. Not printing saves paper and ensures you always have the most current version of the Handbook at your fingertips.

Related Resources

Some sections conclude with a list of related resources and recommended links that point readers to additional information on selected topics.

The VISTA Sponsor Resource Guide is an at-a-glance snapshot of resources to assist sponsors with successfully managing VISTA projects. 

Handbook Review and Management

The Handbook will be updated periodically but reviewed at least annually to ensure alignment among all VISTA resources and guidance. A change log will be maintained and included as part of this document to promote transparency and provide historical reference.


When Handbook information is added or modified, VISTA Sponsors will be notified in a variety of ways including but not limited to email notification from VISTA headquarters and follow-up communications from CNCS State Offices.

Guidance Document Identifying Information

Title: VISTA Sponsor Handbook
Date issued: November 2018
Date posted: February 28, 2020
Unique identifier: VISTA 001
Topic: How to manage VISTA projects
Summary: This is a training tool designed to help VISTA sponsors manage their projects.

The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Version Control and Change Log

Below is an overview of revisions to the current version of the Handbook.


Date Issued

Change Log


2018.1 (currently effective)

November, 2018


First version VISTA Sponsor Handbook (née VISTA Supervisor Manual)