Volunteering at work

Today, I took my employer's Global Volunteering Survey. According to my employer's Community Engagement Team, volunteering is defined as the following:

  1. Benefits the public good—The activity must serve a charitable cause for the public at large. If conducted through a faith-based organization, the service needs to benefit the public at large and not only members of the faith.
  2. Is conducted through an event organized by my employer, or through a non-profit organization—Non-profits can include charities, sports leagues, clubs, libraries, schools and universities, etc. Please note: Helping individual family members, neighbors, or friends does not qualify.
  3. Is unpaid—Employees should not receive compensation from the benefiting organization for their service.

Volunteer Time Off

My current employer allows for declaring up to 4 hours Volunteer Time Off (VTO) within each month. This is paid according to the employee's base pay, and they even allow interns and hourly employees the same privilege. At a basic level, employees still require management approval and cannot be done such that it forces overtime. Any risks assumed during volunteering are at the employee's expense.

Eligibility of Volunteer organizations

To qualify as a VTO option, a volunteer organization must meet the following criteria.

  • Primary mission is non-religious, non-sectarian, non-political, and non-discriminatory.
  • Consistent with non-discrimination policies and practices. Employees may not use company time to volunteer at organizations that discriminate on the basis of:
    • gender
    • color
    • race
    • religion
    • national origin
    • age
    • marital status
    • sexual orientation
    • gender identity and expression
    • disability
    • covered veteran status
    • protected genetic information
  • Organization must be one of the following:
    • U.S. tax-exempt organization currently determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as U.S. 501(c)(3)
    • Non-U.S. organization with charitable criteria equivalent to U.S. 501(c)(3) in the country of incorporation
    • An educational institution
      • Primary or secondary schools
      • Degree-granting, nationally-recognized accredited universities or colleges

Properties of volunteering opportunities

Some ways to volunteer, generically speaking without specifics.

  1. Skills-based (Pro Bono Service), Learned-basis, or Extra-hands
  2. Company-sponsored or Employee-initiated
  3. Team, Family, Couple, or Individual
  4. Education, Entrepreneurship, Environment, or Health
  5. At Workplaces, Schools, Homes, or Playgrounds
  6. Indoors or Outdoors
  7. One-time or On-going
  8. On Weekends or Weekdays
  9. In Mornings, Afternoons, Evenings, or Overnight.