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Using Site-Based Teams and Project Coordinators

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Front Page / Bonner Program Resources Partnerships / Guides / Using Site-Based Teams and Project Coordinators


Guide to Using Site-Based Teams and Project Coordinators

Overview   | Guides  | Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download


Background and Purpose


The work of community organizations is significantly enhanced because the Bonner Program structure provides students with the financial support and training to engage for multiple years with the same agency, issue area and.or organization, enabling the students' to take on increasing responsibility and leadership in their service. In part because of this sustained involvement, agencies can count on having a volunteer with their program for more than one semester and even more than one year. In that time, a student volunteer can take on increasing responsibility, including recruiting, coordinating, and even managing other volunteers or taking on project management. 



The Bonner Foundation hence recommends that each campus develop a Project Coordinator (sometimes called Site Leader or Project Leader) position. We encourage Bonner Programs to explore adding this formal position at any community partner site where there are four or more student volunteers. In the community partner component of the developmental model, this placement is generally part of the third year.


Benchmarks or Guidelines


  • Have a project coordinator anytime there are four or more students working with a partner. Work with partners to chart a sense of how having a student take on such an enhanced leadership role could benefit their own site and delivery of services and programs. In particular, you may find the following handout, which is part of the community partnerships resource material online, to be helpful:

    • Defining the Level of Partnerships & Placements: a five-page, more comprehensive introduction of the level of placements (occasional, regular, project/site coordinator, and planning team/problem-solving) for Community Partners, along with suggested questions for developing placements at each level and solid job descriptions.


  • Provide intensive and relevant training to project coordinators, including in skills like:

    • Recruitment

    • Time management

    • Project management

    • Facilitation

    • Meeting planning

    • Peer management


  • Utilize the training modules that are part of the Civic Engagement Curriculum or campus examples (such as the Guilford College model found here) to support your training component. Because these skills are already part of the developmental model, and are generally addressed by or before the third year in the program (for BSPs), there is strong foundation for this position. The following trainings are particularly suited for training students for this position:

    • Action Planning: Developing a Plan 
    • Facilitation 201: An Intensive Introduction
    • Facilitation 202: More Techniques and Strategies
    • Planning Effective Meetings
    • Recruitment
    • Time Management: Managing by Calendar


  • Click on this printable handout for a summary of which trainings may be particularly helpful:

    • Trainings for Project Coordinators


Action Steps to Get This Started


  1. Identify at least a few partners with whom you are ready to engage in this way.

  2. Review the samples materials and modify to create your own.

  3. Formally provide materials and information in writing (e.g., you may choose to share this packet of information) and in person (such as reviewing this material with them).

  4. Make sure you are implementing your developmental model in a way that prepares at least a cohort of students to be Project Coordinators.

  5. Begin to identify some students who may want to take on this role and chart out a strategy.