Allocating staff hours for program planning, coordination and implementation is usually the largest expense a program has. The extent of this expenditure is largely unknown because very few programs are set up to specifically track program staff-hours. However, staff involved in these programs admit that it took a lot of hours to put on their program. In most cases, one person handled the brunt of the planning, coordination and implementation. A few programs hired interns or seasonal employees to assist with these tasks. In some cases, the programs were fortunate to get past program participants as their interns or seasonal employees. Having past participants – from the program's target group – was extremely helpful because these assistants brought “participant perspectives” into the planning process as well as provided additional help to get the nearly unending list of tasks completed.
Tracking staff time, on all levels, by task, including volunteer time from partners, will ultimately become an important piece of information to measure a program’s effectiveness and return-on-investment. This information will also allow program managers to assess where inefficiencies may be found, streamlining may occur, and which tasks may be outsourced to partners or other cooperators.
Obviously, staffing includes instructor and mentor time and effort as well.
Instructors and mentors play a critical role in the success of a program.