State Office Resources

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ATTENTION: The State Office section of the VISTA Campus will be going away in late April, 2019. For information on State Office Resources please visit the OFL Resources page on SharePoint.

Campus  |  Program Application  |  Program Management  |  Recruitment  |  Reporting  |  VISTA Member Processing  |  Member Development  |  Summer Associates  |  Cost Share Resources  |  Professional Development  |  E-bulletin/Announcements

"CSO Resources" indicates templates and tools shared by your fellow state office staff. You need to be logged onto the network to access these resources.

If you would like to suggest other resources to add to this page, please email Andy King.


Instructions for Managing Your State Page - Download this document for information on how to add or remove members from your individual state office group, and edit your state page.


Program Application
Attract new sponsors and help them apply

eGrants - Information and tutorial for sponsors on using eGrants effectively.

Elements of Good Project Planning (link) - This tool describes the four major phases of VISTA project development.

VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) - Provide sponsors these tools to help them customize their VAD template to reflect the specific attributes of their organization and potential VISTAs.

Is AmeriCorps VISTA Right for Your Organization? (PDF) - Use the information in this resource to help organizations determine if VISTA is right for them.

Pre-Award Risk Tool (Word, PDF) - Assess an applicant’s readiness in the areas of governance, leadership/organizational structure, management, development, communications, and finances.

Program Guidance for Current and Potential Project Sponsors (PDF) - Help sponsors develop VISTA projects in alignment with CNCS programming priorities for the current fiscal year.

VISTA Project Application & Budget Instructions - Instructions for project applicants on creating a Concept Paper, Project Application, and Budget. (updated Dec. 2013)

VISTA 101: Understanding VISTA - Share this online orientation with potential sponsors to help them reach a well informed decision on whether to apply for a VISTA project.

VISTA 201: Becoming a VISTA Sponsor - Share this online orientation with potential sponsors who have decided to apply for a VISTA project. It provides a complete overview of the application process with an emphasis on successfully completing a Concept Paper and Project Application.

Understanding VISTA 201 (PPT) - This presentation was offered as a webinar to field offices to introduce them to VISTA 201 and discuss how it can be used to guide potential sponsors through the application process.

VISTA Fact Sheet (PDF) - Provide this 2-page fact sheet to potential sponsors, elected officials, journalists, and others interested in learning about VISTA.

VISTA External Collaborations (PDF) - Learn about the federal agencies and outside groups that VISTA collaborates with to extend VISTA programming.


Program Management
Manage your VISTA portfolio

Affordable Care Act Implementation - Resources on how the ACA relates to VISTA and Senior Corps: recorded webinar, PPT file, and schedule of webinars by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

eGrants FAQs for Supervisors: Hot Topics (link) - Frequently asked questions posed by current VISTA project sponsors on this Resource Center page.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) (link) - General and permanent rules published in the Federal Register. CNCS programs are covered under Title 45.

Compliance Monitoring - Overall compliance monitoring guide, tips for conducting site visits, and common findings.

EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and MLK Day of Service 2012 - Encourage VISTA projects to incorporate EITC strategies in their anti-poverty work, particularly around the MLK Day of Service.

Electronic MA Processing Guide for staff (PDF) - Learn how to process the Memorandum of Agreement in eGrants.

Grant Amendment Resources -Find instructions for processing amendments in eGrants, including new amendment types, grantee-initiated amendments, continuations, and more.

Member Handbook (link)

MLK Day of Service 2012 Guidance - Encourage VISTA projects to incorporate EITC strategies in their MLK Day of Service activities.

Performance Measures - Guide your projects in aligning with the VISTA Performance Measures.

Purpose Code Change Request Form (PDF) - The form is to be used when requesting retroactive purpose code changes from cost share to standard that go beyond the current pay period. Per the new policy, any change outside the current pay period must be approved by the cluster area manager and the VISTA Director.

Renewal Application Letter Template (link) - A sample to use when starting the VISTA continuation process with your projects.

Supervisors Manual (link)

VISTA Desk Reference (VDR) (link) - Includes need-to-know basics such as history and management of resources, programs, and VISTA members.

VISTA Intranet (link) - Links to CNCS policy, program guidance, handbooks, official forms, VMSU, and other frequently used resources.


Help sponsors find and assess VISTA candidates

VISTA Candidate Screening by CNCS State Staff (Word, PDF) - Guidance includes red flags to look for, how to conduct an NSOPR search, and the approval process for applicants who disclose criminal history.

VISTA Recruitment Process (Word, PDF) - Sample recruitment process spanning from posting service opportunities to activating members.

VISTA Serving Here Poster and Decal (link) - Order free posters and window decals to display in your office or at events to increase awareness of VISTA.


Ensure your VISTA projects meet their reporting requirements.

VISTA Project Progress Report (PPR) - Instructions and template for sponsors to complete the PPR in eGrants.

VISTA Progress Report Supplement (VPRS) - Instructions for state offices on sponsors on adding and completing a VPRS.

Completing Sponsor Verification Online - Information on the changes to the sponsor verification process, including instructions for sponsors. (updated Dec 2013)


VISTA Member Processing
Access resources for full time VISTA members

Living Allowance Resources - Resources to support you with the latest pay rate information.

Briefing on the PSO Blend for Field Offices - Learn about the plans for a new approach to training incoming VISTA members that blends distance learning and fieldwork, including the role of the VISTA supervisor.

Criminal History Checks - Fact sheets, FAQs, program requirements and other resources, both VISTA-specific and CNCS-wide.

Instructions for Processing VISTA Member Actions for CSOs (link) - VMSU guidance on member actions for full time members, training deferred, and summer associates.

Official Member Action Forms (link) - Pre-Service, In-Service and Close of Service forms required by the VMSU.

Relocation - Identify candidates who are relocating to serve and share these fact sheets with sponsors and candidates.


Member Development
Prepare VISTAs for their service and the impact they will have in the communities they serve

NCE for VISTAs - Help members and alums better understand NCE and how they use this special status to obtain federal employment.

Organize a face-to-face Meetup - Get to know your VISTAs face-to-face for training and networking opportunities.

PSO Resources - Find details about upcoming PSOs and what candidates need to do to prepare.

On-Site Orientation and Training (OSOT) - Support your sponsors in providing effective orientation and training to new members when they arrive on site, using these materials for supervisors and VISTAs.


Summer Associates
Find resources for your Summer Associates program

2017 Summer Associates Program Guidance (PDF) - Explains this year's focus areas for Summer Associates, as well as offering guidance on recruitment, timing, requirements (such as citizenship verification), and procedures. 

2016 Summer Associates Program Guidance (PDF) - Explains 2016's focus areas for Summer Associates, as well as offering guidance on recruitment, timing, requirements (such as citizenship verification), and procedures. 

Leave for Summer Associates - Explains allowable use of leave by Summer Associates.

Processing Summer Associates (PDF) - Follow these steps to create Summer Associate opportunities, process applications, place summer associates in the portal and collect necessary documentation.

Summer Associate Becoming a VISTA Member (PDF) - Share this online orientation with potential sponsors to help them reach a well informed decision on whether to apply for a VISTA project.

Sample Summer Associates Packet for Sponsors (Word, PDF) - Adapt this packet for project sponsors to provide deadlines, programming and reporting requirements, and tips on recruiting and selecting Summer Associates.

Summer Associates member forms (PDF) - Send this packet of forms to Summer Associate candidates to complete before beginning service.

Summer Associates Orientation Template (PowerPoint, PDF) - Template provides an overview of National Service programs and discusses Summer Associates conditions and benefits. Adapt this to use at your Summer Associate Orientation.

Timing of Summer Associate Placements (PDF) - Outlines the length and timing of the Summer Associates program.

2015 Summer Associates Program Guidance (PDF) - Explains this year's focus areas for Summer Associates, as well as offering guidance on recruitment, timing, requirements (such as citizenship verification), and procedures.

2015 Instructions for States with USDA-funded Summer Associates (PDF) - Use these instructions to amend sponsor applications in eGrants phase II so that they fit the requirements of the IAA with the USDA, and then use the Gift+Federal Partner fund purpose code to assign the Summer Associates in the portal.

2015 Instructions for Summer Food Service Program Summer Associates – not funded by USDA (PDF) - Use these instructions to ensure the VISTA performance measures and VISTA Assignment Description appropriately reflect the Summer Food Service Program.


Cost Share Resources
Find resources on managing your Cost Share sponsors

Cost Share Billing & Payment Sponsor Manual - The definitive resource on cost share billing and payments. It includes information on accessing and reading the account statement and individual invoices and making electronic cost share reimbursement payments using the Pay Now functionality in eGrants, as well as the VISTA Billing and Payment Action Schedule and a VISTA Cost Share Reimbursement Payments Overview.

Cost Share Paper Check Payment Policy - This document provides an overview of Cost Share’s new payment policy and a refresher on using the Pay Now functionality in eGrants to make an electronic reimbursement payment. (3/11/2015)

Announcing a New Partnership between VISTA Cost Share and the National Service Hotline - Effective February 10, 2015, the National Service Hotline will be handling all VISTA cost share-related questions. The cost share helpdesk is being deactivated and will no longer be monitored.

Pay Now Functionality: Sponsor Overview (video) - This webinar provides an overview of the cost share program, how to access account statements and invoices in eGrants, and reimbursement payment options

QUICK GLANCE: Using Pay Now to Make Cost Share Reimbursement Payments - A one-page description for sponsors on making a Pay Now payment in eGrants.

Original Cost Share FAQs - This document is under revision and is currently unavailable.

Accessing Invoices and Account Statements in eGrants - This one-pager describes how sponsors can access cost share invoices and account statements in eGrants.

ACH Form - This form is completed by sponsors after CNCS has approved a sponsor refund and before the direct deposit of the refund is transferred.

W-9: Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification - This is a Standard Form W-9 which is sometimes requested from CNCS by a sponsor.

Cost Share No Paper Check Policy Exception Request Form - This form is for Cost Share Sponsors that are unable to comply with CNCS’s No Paper Check Policy for cost share reimbursement payments. For more information about the policy, please see the Cost Share Billing & Payment Sponsor Manual or the policy overview.

CSO Cost Share Refund Validation Form - This is a new form (May 2015) that CSOs will be asked to complete after AFMS (Accounting and Financial Management Services) receives a refund request from a cost share sponsor. This is an internal CNCS form—please do not share it with sponsors. Use of the form will be initiated by AFMS. Please submit questions about the form through the National Service Hotline.

AFMS Cost Share Refund Review Form - This is the form that AFMS (Accounting and Financial Management Services) uses to process cost share refund requests. This is an internal CNCS form—please do not share it with sponsors. The form is initiated and completed by AFMS. It is being shared here for informational purposes only. The length of time it takes to complete a review depends on how long it takes to reconcile the bottom line Amount Paid on the account statement with the bottom line amount paid on the Cash Receipts Report. Please submit questions about the form through the National Service Hotline.


Professional Development
Build your own skills

The New AmeriCorps VISTA Impact App: A Briefing for State Offices (recorded webinar) - The AmeriCorps VISTA Impact App allows VISTAs to track their activities and report them to their supervisor. This On Demand webinar explores the VISTA Impact App, shows how members navigate its features, and discusses how members and supervisors can take advantage of this tool.

CNCS Learning Management System (LMS) Catalog (link) - Develop the skills you need through self-directed learning right at your desk. Choose from over 300 online courses.

State Office New Employee Orientation Sample Agenda (Word, PDF)

Top Five LMS Courses at CNCS (Word, PDF) - Find out what your colleagues are learning by checking this top-five list of LMS courses.

VISTA 101: Understanding VISTA - Share this online orientation with potential sponsors to help them reach a well informed decision on whether to apply for a VISTA project.

VISTA Sustainability Report (PDF) - This study looked at the sustainability of VISTA project anti-poverty efforts and revealed some characteristics of successful VISTA members, reasons why project efforts are not sustained, and factors that predict VISTA project success.

Cost Share Billing: Pay Now Functionality Overview (recorded webinar) - This webinar introduces the Pay Now system that cost share sponsors can use for paying invoices. Hosted by Kira Weiss. Original webcast July 30, 2014.


E-Bulletins / Announcements
Find the most recent e-bulletin

E-bulletin (link) - View the latest version of the E-bulletin.


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