Project Management Responsibilities

As the project supervisor designated by your organization, you are responsible for managing VISTA resources and providing the support necessary to achieve project goals. You also play an important role in the success of the project and in linking your sponsoring organization with CNCS and VISTA.

Back to top

Progress Monitoring & Reporting

Intermediary supervisors and single-site supervisors should be engaged in continuous monitoring of progress. Monitoring and oversight include assessing how well the project is being implemented and whether or not the project is on track to achieve its goals.

VISTA Project Progress Report (PPRs)

VISTA Project Sponsors are required to submit a Progress Report to the CNCS State Office quarterly for first-year and semiannually thereafter, unless otherwise specified by the CNCS State Office.

The purpose of the report is to track the project's progress against the goals outlined in the VISTA Project Plan, and to update the CNCS State Office on the project's challenges and successes. The Progress Report also helps CNCS and the sponsor to be accountable to stakeholders, identify technical assistance needs, reassess the project and make any necessary adjustments, and build a cumulative project record for future reference.

The progress report is filled out and submitted in eGrants. A printable pdf version is available on the CNCS Website or from your CNCS State Office.

The “Narrative” section provides you the opportunity to describe your challenges, training needs, and other accomplishments not covered under the previous sections. This section also asks you to describe your partnerships and collaborations, as well as the efforts you have made to move your project toward sustainability.

Once the CNCS State Program Officer reviews the submitted report, they will provide feedback via eGrants. The feedback will include any guidance on administrative procedures, or revisions to project plans, necessary corrections or issues that need to be addressed, along with a timeframe for completion of outstanding items.

For more information on this topic, visit the following Campus resource:

Federal Financial Report (FFR)

CNCS requires a federal financial report to be submitted annually for projects that receive a federal grant. Reporting takes place in eGrants.

For more information on this topic, visit the following Campus resources:

VISTA Progress Report Supplement (VPRS)

VISTA sponsors are required to submit the VPRS in eGrants on an annual basis. Reports are due on October 31st for the previous fiscal year (Oct 1 – Sept 30).

Each VISTA sponsor is expected to report only on the items that are applicable to their project. For those items that do not apply, enter a zero:

  • Number of community volunteers recruited and/or managed
  • Number of organizations implementing three or more effective volunteer management practices
  • Number of staff and community volunteers who received training
  • Number of organizations that completed community assessment
  • Number of service hours contributed by community volunteers
  • Number of organizations more effective, additional activities, new systems or processes
  • Dollar value of cash/in-kind resources leveraged

For more information on this topic, visit the following Campus resources:

Informal Communication About Accomplishments and Activities

Your CNCS State Office wants to hear regularly about the accomplishments of your VISTAs and your project’s work in the community. The CNCS State Office is required to submit a monthly report to CNCS/VISTA Headquarters and will include accomplishment information you provide in these reports. VISTA may then use this information for congressional office updates and press releases to national media outlets.

Back to top

Site Visits

Site visits, conducted by the CNCS State Office staff to monitor and support the sponsoring organization, are designed to meet specific needs, enhance project effectiveness, deliver technical assistance, and support and recognize project successes. Site visits are a method of exchanging information; ensuring compliance with general administrative, financial, and program requirements; providing technical assistance and guidance as needed; and assisting with project promotion.

The CNCS State Office makes site visits to projects in accordance with annual program guidance and state plans. During the site visit, the CNCS State Office reviews the project for administrative effectiveness, compliance, and quality. CNCS headquarters staff may also make project site visits. Staff members monitor projects according to three categories:

  • Sponsors and supervisors and their roles
    • VISTA recruitment
    • VISTA assignment
    • On-site orientation
    • In-service training
    • Career development assistance for VISTAs
    • Administration, including provision of supervision, transportation, and other support
    • Assessment of need for CNCS support and training
  • Compliance
    • Programmatic
    • Fiscal
    • Legal and regulatory
  • Community impact and self-sufficiency
    • Accomplishments
    • Troubleshooting and mechanisms for overcoming challenges
    • Resources generated
    • Sustainability: how the community is going to take over when the VISTA is gone

CNCS may also conduct a fiscal review or audit if a project received a grant.

Back to top

Project Continuation

VISTA projects are generally eligible to apply for up to two continuation periods. Each continuation period is for one year. The process for a VISTA project to attain continuation begins four months (120 days) prior to the end of the current project year. At this time the sponsoring organization completes a continuation application in eGrants and must submit it no later than 90 days before the current project year ends.

The continuation process begins with a thorough review of the project's accomplishments to date, and concludes with a decision by the CNCS State Office to continue or close the project at the end of the current project year. If the project has been successful in meeting its goals and building sustainability, continuation is highly probable; however, a continuation is not guaranteed. The CNCS State Office reviews the application within 15 business days of receipt or at least 75 days prior to the end of the Memorandum of Agreement.

The process for reviewing a continuation proposal is similar to the review process for an initial project application, but with several important differences. The CNCS State Office reviews the application for adherence to VISTA project guidelines and the state's annual plan for project development.

In addition, the CNCS State Office reviews the following aspects of the project:

  • Previous year's accomplishments, which must be included in the continuation proposal.
  • Long-range plans, especially regarding project sustainability, which must be discussed in the continuation proposal
  • Project progress reports, monitoring reports, biweekly Sponsor Verification Forms, and feedback from VISTAs to ensure the project is making substantial progress in meeting goals and objectives.
  • Level of recruitment and retention of VISTAs.

The CNCS State Office bases the decision to continue a project on the following conditions:

  • VISTA resources are available.
  • The project’s progress toward achieving capacity-building and self-sufficiency goals.
  • The project’s performance  in meeting its goals and objectives.
  • The project’s compliance with provisions contained in the Memorandum of Agreement and other applicable guidelines and regulations.

Once the continuation application is approved, the sponsoring organization and the CNCS State Office sign a new Memorandum of Agreement for the new project period.

Criteria for Approval

The following criteria, as applicable, are considered in determining whether to continue VISTA projects after the third year, subject to the availability of funds:

  • The intermediary sponsor agrees to cost-share a significant portion of the VISTAs.
  • The sponsor acts as an intermediary organization and changes the sub-site organizations according to the three-year period.
  • The sponsor demonstrates an extenuating community need, such as being the only sponsor available in a high-poverty area for the VISTA project, and more time is needed to expand anti-poverty capacity.
  • The extension would not create or increase a dependancy on VISTA resources.

Back to top

eGrants Account Management

Sponsoring organizations are required to use the eGrants system from application to closeout. The following activities take place in eGrants:

  • Submitting and tracking grant concept papers and applications
  • Negotiating and awarding Memoranda of Agreement and grants Managing Memoranda of Agreement and grants including processing amendments and continuations
  • Creating, submitting and editing your recruitment listings
  • Selecting applicants and searching for applicants
  • Approve assignment-related transportation forms if your member is driving for service-related purposes and is involved in an accident (V-81)
  • Financial Status and Progress Reporting

There are many resources available to help you use the eGrants System, including an eGrants help desk through the National Service Hotline.

For more information on this topic, visiting the following campus resources:

Change of Project Address Notification

Sponsors/supervisors must immediately notify the CNCS State Office in eGrants of a change in the project address to ensure timely delivery of correspondence.

Back to top

CNCS and VISTA Sponsor Media

Intermediary sponsor responsibilities also include acknowledging VISTAs and CNCS. Legislators and community members want to know about the impact of their federal dollars.  We encourage you to recognize the good work of the VISTAs, and CNCS as a funder, on your website, in newspaper articles, during radio and television presentations and at events. In addition to acknowledging your relationship with VISTA and CNCS in writing, you can also include the AmeriCorps VISTA logo on your website.

For more information on this topic, visit the following Campus resources:

Back to top

Managing and Training Sub-site Supervisors

Managing Sub-site Supervisors

If you are an intermediary sponsor that has sub-sites housed in different organizations, you are responsible for informing them of their responsibilities to both CNCS and your organization. The Memorandum of Agreement between the primary sponsor and CNCS requires the primary sponsor and all sub-recipients to enter into a sub-recipient agreement often called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This sub-recipient agreement is often modeled after your organization’s Memorandum of Agreement with CNCS.

For more information on this topic, visit the following Campus resources:

Training Sub-sites and Intermediary Supervisors

Intermediary and sub-site supervisors should attend a VISTA Supervisor Orientation. Until sub-site supervisors attend a VISTA Supervisor Orientation, intermediary sponsors are responsible for making sure their sub-site supervisors are oriented to their VISTA project, roles, and responsibilities. Topics should include: the mission and purpose of VISTA; the terms, conditions & benefits of VISTA service; strategies for recruiting, orienting, coaching and supervising members; and guiding end of service transitions.

For more information on this topic, visit the following Campus resources:

Back to top