VISTA Sponsor Orientation

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The success of the AmeriCorps VISTA program depends on the sponsoring organizations where VISTA members serve. So, it is essential for VISTA sponsors to be knowledgeable, skilled, and ready to create compelling VISTA roles, recruit passionate, talented applicants, provide effective supervision, and report accurate, meaningful results. This virtual orientation will help equip you to succeed.

The VISTA Sponsor Orientation introduces you to VISTA – its mission, history, and policies – and to your roles and responsibilities as a VISTA sponsor and supervisor. This orientation is one of several valuable resources offered to assist you in your duties and will help ensure that you have a positive experience.

VISTA brings perhaps the most important resource to organizations and communities: motivated, capable people. VISTAs are agents of change in low-income communities. They generate the commitment of private sector resources, encourage volunteer service, and strengthen local agencies and organizations.

I am constantly inspired by the fresh spirit of service and idealism common to those who join VISTA and to the organizations that sponsor programs. I want to thank you for the valuable contributions you make and will make to the renewal of America.

Best wishes for a successful project.

AmeriCorps VISTA


VISTA Sponsor Orientation is an introduction to the information and resources needed to carry out the role as VISTA Project Director.

VISTA Sponsor Orientation (VSO) is a learning path consisting of several self-directed tutorials, videos, readings, and learning checks. Learners must complete all the modules and pass the learning checks before they can begin to recruit VISTA members. 

Purpose: Gain a solid understanding of AmeriCorps VISTA programming and philosophy by exploring the resources and training that highlight the core concepts, competencies, activities, and responsibilities of VISTA Sponsors.

Audience: This orientation is geared for the VISTA Project Director, meaning the staff member of the sponsoring organization who has overall responsibility for managing the VISTA project. Others involved in managing a VISTA project have also found this useful.

Orientation Syllabus

Please download this checklist to track completion of the key orientation steps.

1. Preparing for Orientation
  • Review VISTA 101– for key information about the VISTA program that organizations use when deciding whether to pursue a VISTA project.
  • Review VISTA 201– if you have questions about the sponsor application process, the Concept Paper, or Project Application.
  • Create an eGrants account, if you haven’t already.
  • Create a supervisor account on the VISTA Campus, if you haven’t already.
2. Online Coursework
  • The VISTA Sponsor Orientation learning path contains two courses and will take approximately two hours to complete. Courses include videos with downloadable versions of the content that is presented, along with other resources.
  • Courses in the learning path:

The VISTA Program Design
     Program Overview
     Program Structure

The VISTA Network
     The Role of CNCS Headquarters
     The Role of CNCS Field Staff

  • Click here for instructions on how to access the learning path.
3. Follow-up
  • Contact your CNCS Field Office and submit your certificate of completion to confirm that you completed the six modules and to discuss next steps.
  • Review the VISTA Sponsor Handbook. This comprehensive guide provides valuable information on VISTA policies, sponsor roles, VISTA project management, member supervision, and more.
  • Explore the Supervisor section of the VISTA Campus for resources on topics like recruitment, training, and reporting.

If you have questions about your role in your VISTA project, please contact your CNCS Field Office.