What are the best ways to encourage workplace volunteerism?
August 16, 2017 6:21 AM   Subscribe

My workplace wants to start a program to encourage employees to volunteer with local organizations. What are some of the best (or worst) practices you've seen to encourage staff to participate? What are the most effective ways to contribute time to charitable causes?

While we've done some volunteering of the "marketing team sorts cans at the food bank" variety, there's an effort afoot to have more structure and encouragement to everyone in the company to volunteer time. What are the best ways to incentivize staff to do this? What have you seen attempted that fell miserably flat? How can the company encourage volunteering while making sure that no one is using this program to, say, donate work time for Stormfront?

As a side question, what are the most effective ways to contribute to a charity? I have a theory that volunteering on a regular schedule (weekly or monthly) is more effective than irregularly, but have no evidence to support this.
posted by athenasbanquet to Work & Money (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Re effectiveness, one thing that could be good is to think about how your skills could be most useful. For example, I remember learning that employees from Toyota used their expertise with efficiency to redesign the systems at a food bank (rather than, say, spending time handing out food). Do your coworkers have particular skills that might be used at a higher level than typical volunteering?
posted by pinochiette at 6:28 AM on August 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

Pre-organise the volunteering and do it in work hours. My company partner with one charity for the year (staff nominate charities, company makes a shortlist, shortlisted charities come in and pitch to us, all staff vote on which charity it should be from the shortlist) and then arrange volunteering opportunities with them and we get an email that says something like 'we have ten spaces for people to wrap presents for kids on 14th December, 10am-4pm' and the first ten to reply get to do it. We also do some fundraising - bake sales, sponsored endurance events, etc. Seems to work well.
posted by corvine at 6:28 AM on August 16, 2017 [12 favorites]

The things I have seen work are: a specific bucket of paid time off for volunteer work (and managerial encouragement of taking it, starting with them doing it); organized activities or at least an organized and regularly updated "here's a list of groups with one-day volunteer opportunities (in general + an upcoming special event list that someone curates + regular group outings that someone organizes); in-office soliciting for things like back-to-school backpack drives or Christmas giving trees; company matching donations.

Things that don't work: "100% participation"- type drives where you're tracking who is giving or participating in any way; pressure to volunteer after hours or on the weekends
posted by brainmouse at 6:34 AM on August 16, 2017 [18 favorites]

Perhaps a monitoring of volunteer hours by various groups within the company to ensure that workers aren't being blocked by their managers.

I worked somewhere with great policies but had a manager who penalized us for participating.
posted by Ftsqg at 6:38 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Some of this depends on how large your workplace is and the cohesiveness of the staff (i.e. would they all agree on charities or would they be all over the map)

Having a few dedicated charities is one way. Having people in the office vote on, say, a charity to help maybe quarterly and getting one work day or half day (if possible) or some sort of PTO match to do work at one of the chosen charities would be the best way to encourage volunteerism.

So like make a list of 20 charities and have a quarrterly vote to see which one you'll do a work party at, or have some sort of EASY way to get people to get a little thing signed "Hey I did 4 hours of work here."

Questions you may need to think about

- are faith-based charities okay?
- political charities?
- can people object to a charity choice and have a backup option?
- does everyone have to work at the same one?
- can you actually support this with money (i.e. time off) as well as words?
- can people just count time they already contribute to a charity?
- how much do you want to engage with staff (i.e. get input, receive feedback, democratize decision-making) and how much do you need to just make ap lan and stick to it.

Things that I've seen working are a recognition wall for the service work people do. Blurbs in the local paper, mailing list or other community-based news stuff (facebook/twitter) that raise awareness of the charity as well as promote the good works your company is trying to do. Things that I've seen that don't work: obvious "We made a mistake and now this is our court-mandated "fix it" thing stuff (the polluters cleaning up a stream, frex), forcing or pressuring people into doing service work on their days off.

The big thing to think about is that for a lot of people, service work is already part of what they do, so doing more might be onerous. For some people it's not, so doing any might be good. You may also have workers who are recipients of charity and making them also work for the charity sends a suboptimal message. Making sure you're only asking for service from people who can afford to give it (somehow) is an important part of this. Having management lead this instead of grudgingly participate is important. "This is important" messages should come from the top down and be supported with time and money, not just words.
posted by jessamyn at 6:43 AM on August 16, 2017 [10 favorites]

I used to manage volunteers. One thing to keep in mind is how much work the non-profit has to do to manage your volunteers. One-off volunteering takes a huge amount of prep, organization, training and management. Try to figure out if what you are doing is a net positive for the community you want to assist.
posted by mcduff at 6:49 AM on August 16, 2017 [8 favorites]

My job used to have an in-service day. Employees could choose which one of six or seven different organizations to help. Hours were either something like 9 - 1 and 1 - 5 or entire days.

Key points is it was completely voluntary for employees. Secondly, managers had to let their employees who chose to participate participate. It counted as work hours.

One year I did it, we went to a place that helps women get back on their feet after leaving domestic violence, homelessness, etc. They had classes on computers, interviewing, etc. And they would provide professional clothes to their guests (they call the people using their services guests). They had a large storage compartment at a facility with bags and boxes of donated clothes and they really needed a set of hands to go through it and to determine what was worth keeping. If an item was ripped, stained, etc, we tossed it. If it was seriously dated, we tossed it. It was very much a one off project, but it would have been very difficult for them to have done it otherwise and since it was done, they could now wash and distribute the clothes.

So specifically looking for a specific task with an organization may help as well because it'll be one of those things they've been meaning to get done but just can't get to.
posted by zizzle at 6:54 AM on August 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

From the POV of creating employee buy-in, I think it'd likely help to roll this out with a clear, well-articulated rationale for why this program exists in the internal logic of the organization-- that is, how will it concretely contribute to the business? (The possible reasons are legion-- "We are doing this to improve our visibility in the community," or "This is designed to help build internal camaraderie," or whatever).

Otherwise, for me, this would run the risk of becoming just another one of those Ask A Manager horror stories of high-handed employers who thought this thing would be self-evidently Nice (company-wide daylong cycling trips, mandatory happy hours outside worktime, intrusive office weight loss challenges, policing lunchtime nutrition) and therefore felt the need to impose it on/ incentivize it for their workers, regardless of its irrelevance to their actual jobs. The higher-ups have every right to feel privately that volunteerism is good in itself, but unless there's a real reason why it's good for the company, the jump to "... therefore, I should divert company resources to encourage my employees to do this thing I personally value!" feels very much like a quasi-feudal abuse of the power dynamic.

Having a clear rationale in place would also help with decisionmaking around the inevitable tricky cases when people seek credit for types of volunteering you don't find to be Nice-- the Stormfront example is obvious, but would teaching Sunday School count, for instance?
posted by Bardolph at 6:58 AM on August 16, 2017 [14 favorites]

My SO once worked at a place that not only organized quarterly volunteer days for the entire staff (though her particular office was only ~20 people in a 15k+ organization) and accepted suggestions from staff as to where they ought to do their volunteer day. They sorted cans, rebuilt running tracks at schools, did Habitat for Humanity a couple of times, all kinds of stuff really.

There were two things that really sold it as a management priority. First, everyone participated in volunteer days, no matter what the workload was like at the time, including partners. Clients were advised well in advance and project due dates were adjusted accordingly.

Second, management was very responsive to employee requests for cash donations/fundraiser seat/table purchases/etc, unlike in a lot of companies where that budget goes to whatever upper management's pet cause happens to be. They'd even give people a budget for silent auction purchases sometimes.
posted by wierdo at 7:03 AM on August 16, 2017

We're allowed 40 hours a year as paid "civic" time for volunteering activities. This time is separate from our vacation time, and requires manager approval to use. It's fairly straightforward to request the time, but you do have to provide a brief description of the activity and what organization it's for.

There are very specific policies regarding what the civic time can be used for. You can't use it to benefit something a direct family member is in (I think the specific example is judging a science fair your child is in). You can't use it in conjunction with religious or political organizations. You can't get paid for the civic work. They also won't approve the time off for things like fun runs.

Beyond all of this being spelled out in the employee handbook, there's not much "incentivizing" or pushing for people to volunteer. We get a weekly "highlights" email Monday mornings, and occasionally volunteering opportunities will show up there but otherwise there's not much push to get people to volunteer.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:05 AM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Something I saw that really did NOT go well - a co-worker of Japanese origin and I set up a workplace volunteer group. The CEO got wind of this and decided that it meant we should use our personal time to volunteer for a Chinese community group initiative that a friend of hers was involved in. And yes she did indeed turn to my japanese-american colleague and say "...and that should be of particular interest to YOU!". The lesson (beyond the obvious "don't be racist") is to make sure it's employees not management who are choosing what to volunteer their time towards, and that it should be done during working hours or in exchange for time off
posted by hazyjane at 7:06 AM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh, and since I didn't preview, I didn't get to point out that if the volunteering is all done during office hours and people are expected to participate in keeping with whatever ability they have to participate, no more, no less, it works out reasonably well in terms of not making people spend more time at work or whatever.

When it involved after hours fundraiser attendance, that was almost always attended by people in management unless someone or someones lower on the totem pole volunteered to do it. People are often happy to spend a couple of hours at a dinner in exchange for being the one to give their pet charity a big check, after all.
posted by wierdo at 7:08 AM on August 16, 2017

Chiming back in to add that this policy might also play better if your employers already have a culture of generosity in place toward their workers (e.g. with respect to workplace budgeting, salaries, family and sick leave, etc.). Otherwise, it really is exasperating to get the message "Our company can afford to give you extra time off to work for these 10 pet charities, but not to pick up your mom at the hospital, go to your kid's kindergarten play, or nurse yourself through the flu; we have to keep bonuses low for budgetary reasons, but oh btw there is this extra cash around to promote the types of moral behavior the CEO approves of."
posted by Bardolph at 7:18 AM on August 16, 2017 [19 favorites]

I currently work for a major corporation that does a "June Volunteer Month". Some aspects of it work really well, and some don't.

Things that work really well: Time spent volunteering is not counted against vacation time, or personal time up to 3 days per year. Smaller events linked to specific causes (we did a bunch of LGBT+ linked ones this year that were very successful) are very successful. Events that are held in house (packing school bags kids in shelters, writing letters and cards to service members to be distributed with care packages, sorting donated clothing for a "get a head start" women's shelter program) and seminars about how to link your management/corporate expertise to specific charities (ie how to participate on a board, how to raise money effectively etc) are all effective.

Things that don't work well: it's forced volunteering and competitive in a bad way, you need to log your hours; you get put on a shit list if you don't volunteer, some of the larger volunteer events in parks are vaguely supervised so only a few people actually pick up trash etc. Some of the bigger events are kind of a waste of a day since so much time is spent getting to the location.

Basically think of what your company does well, and where people's strengths are and set them up to win. I used to work at a major bank where through the year, 75-100 middle school kids from a school that served a less privileged community came to our cafeteria every wed for 2 hrs after school, got some snacks and we worked through a prescribed set of math problems/workbook with them. There was a waitlist to volunteer, so every kid got 2 tutors to ensure they always got someone to work with.
posted by larthegreat at 7:27 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

When you're looking at options, please make sure you have a wide enough array of ways to participate that you are not shutting out people with various types of limitations - on their time, on their transit, on their funds, on their visible or invisible disabilities. Some examples I've seen - organizing charity runs/bike-rides, which does not work well for people with physical disabilities, which has resulted in people feeling like they had to disclose a disability in the workplace that they would otherwise have preferred to keep private. Organizing charitable events on evenings/weekends when people have family commitments, second jobs, their own volunteer commitments, etc. Organizing events offsite in a location that was not easily public-transit-accessible, without facilitating transport. Organizing a Salvation Army donation drive or a crisis pregnancy center donation drive, when both organizations are highly problematic. Organizing volunteers to do work at a charity that, it turned out, was providing services to some of their coworkers, resulting in awkwardness all around and disclosure of personal information that the coworkers might not have wanted disclosed.

Some of these things might be okay if they are one among an array of options that also includes things done during work hours, things that don't require physical mobility, things that do not cause panic attacks for people who have problems with loud public spaces, things that allow people to donate money or items rather than time, things that allow people recognition for charity work they're already doing, etc., but they shouldn't be your only options.
posted by Stacey at 7:28 AM on August 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

They go well when:

During work hours

HR fully coordinates the activity (transpo/supplies/lunch provided) and employees can choose to participate

Managers MUST let ALL staff participate. No "We need one person to sit miserably at the phone."

Designated days/number of hours allowed for individual volunteerism as well

HR polls employees to select from 4-5 causes and solicits suggestions for the next one
posted by kapers at 7:32 AM on August 16, 2017


Semi-related to the business can get lots of buy in; e.g., book publishing folks can pack and ship books for prison libraries or volunteer with low-literacy communities, restaurant industry can do something related to farming/enviro. Something where you can see how the work you do every day can be connected to bettering the community.
posted by kapers at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

What doesn't work: "We're all going to the Red Cross to give blood today."

Because some people aren't able to donate blood because of medical conditions or prescription medications, and they shouldn't be forced to disclose that to their boss/coworkers.
posted by Murderbot at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2017 [8 favorites]

Re: preventing Stormfront situations: you establish a policy that makes it clear that political organizations or candidates don't count toward your paid volunteer time and that all orgs must be approved. We have to submit to HR beforehand and they can reject anything they feel violates their policy.
posted by kapers at 7:54 AM on August 16, 2017

I think it's important to give any employees a choice of several charities to volunteer for. While the objection to Stormfront is obvious, some employees might have good reasons not to support organizations that will not be obvious or shared by anyone else. For instance, even though I'm a cancer patient, I would have objections to supporting the American Cancer Society for reasons that are well thought out and important to me.
posted by FencingGal at 8:12 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

What doesn't work: compulsory volunteering outside of work hours, that penalises

- people with childcare duties;
- people with eldercare duties;
- people with Disability care duties;
- people who have a chronic illness or Disability themselves;
- people who are doing further education/further study;
- people who are working a second paid job.
posted by Murderbot at 8:13 AM on August 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

I think my company does a pretty good job of encouraging volunteering in several ways. The biggest thing is that it has to come from the top and become part of the culture. Every department I've worked in at this large corporation has scheduled a couple days each year where we volunteer as a team, and the company provides a list of partner organizations for teams to pick from. It's not required, but most people choose to go and nobody is penalized if they don't want to. We even get t-shirts saying we're a volunteer from the company to wear when volunteering, and this time doesn't count against your paid time off.

In addition to that, we offer benefits for volunteering outside of work hours. We have a custom site set up with volunteermatch.org so people can find organizations that match their interests and can log their volunteer hours. If an employee volunteers with an approved non-profit for a certain number of hours, they can submit those hours to the company. The company confirms those hours with the non-profit organization, and then the employee gets some extra paid time off, and the company donates a small amount of money to the organization. We also get additional paid time off for donating blood.

Plus we give awards for volunteering a certain number of hours, and give a "Volunteer of the Year" award to one person each year. People can nominate their coworkers, and then we highlight the finalists and winners in the news on our company intranet.

And of course we encourage giving to the United Way and Feeding America through company-wide campaigns every year.
posted by thejanna at 8:19 AM on August 16, 2017

> The higher-ups have every right to feel privately that volunteerism is good in itself, but unless there's a real reason why it's good for the company, the jump to "... therefore, I should divert company resources to encourage my employees to do this thing I personally value!" feels very much like a quasi-feudal abuse of the power dynamic.

I just want to strongly second this. As an employee, I was always extremely sensitive to any hint of the bosses trying to control my time in ways they weren't entitled to (a day's work for a day's pay), and if I got the idea they were pressuring me to "volunteer" I'd be looking for the exit. Case in point:

> Things that don't work well: it's forced volunteering and competitive in a bad way, you need to log your hours; you get put on a shit list if you don't volunteer

I might be heading out the exit without even a place to go. Fuck that shit.
posted by languagehat at 8:20 AM on August 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

My office does this in a couple of ways. There are a couple of days a year when the whole office (or as many people as can, given individual workloads) goes off to do a project - paint a community center or assist a local school in moving furniture or whatever. There is also a policy that gives people time off (so, not counted against vacation or sick time) and contributes some expenses toward their volunteer gig, but the gig must meet the following:
To be eligible, projects and activities need to be affiliated with a 501(c)(3) non‐profit organization or public charity, broadly align with the Foundation’s mission and core values, and be done on an unpaid basis.

VTO may not be used for organizations that advocate, support or practice unlawful discrimination or serve religious, political, or fraternal purposes. In addition, activities that would pose a potential conflict of interest for the Foundation are not eligible.
To take advantage of VTO, we have a form to fill out and approval has to be given by one's manager (for the time off) and by someone in HR (to make sure the gig meets the requirements).

And we also of a culture here where people just don't...talk about stuff like this. There is no boasting or competing to see who the Greatest Volunteer Evar is; managers don't bring it up, and I've never been looked at sideways for skipping the annual group volunteer thing (my duties would often make it complicated to join in). For all I know, half my co-workers use VTO on a regular basis, but we don't have the kind of culture where that's general knowledge.

Any method that overtly or covertly, intentionally or not, punishes people for not volunteering is toxic and corrosive and should be avoided.
posted by rtha at 9:16 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

If your company ends up selecting certain organizations, definitely partner with those organizations to see what they actually want. I still have bitter memories of my inner city school hosting intrusive, non-helpful volunteers that just basically got in the way and interrupted the school day several times a year. They meant well but were the opposite of helpful.
posted by not that mimi at 9:53 AM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I worked for a company that had about 60 to 100 employees and handed out cash bonuses on a yearly basis to anyone who had been with the company for more than a year. The decision who got bonuses and how much did they get was put into the hands of our President of Operations after the Founder did a fade. She was also supposed to keep the company visible and ensure we got good publicity. So she came up with the idea that we would support a couple of her favourite charities.

She was a cancer survivor who had managed to go through her cancer treatment without ever taking a sick day. She felt that if she could go through cancer treatment without taking a sick day, none of the employees at the company she managed had any excuse to ever call in sick. Staffing was always a problem. So one way you could earn a bonus was if you never called in sick, nor worked a partial shift and clocked out early. (The result of this policy, of course was that we had a very high rate of sickness and absenteeism at the company because anyone who might have called in sick to avoid infecting their co-workers tried to tough it out to avoid the disapproval, and ended up getting sicker and making a dozen other people sick, who also came to work when they were feeling lousy and did the same thing...)

But the only other way you could earn bonuses was by your participation as a volunteer at certain company organized cancer charity events. I wasn't able to participate in these for a number of personal reasons, and I felt this was rather unfair. It didn't matter how well I did my job, or what I contributed to the company. I could only get a bonus if I used my personal time and money and had babysitters. However, I felt better about not getting any of the volunteering for the charity bonuses when I realised that my co-workers who were able to get the bonuses had to put in enough time to get them that they were in effect working an extra job at considerably less than minimum wage.

This is probably why I will go out of my way to avoid giving money to a registered charity to this day - that was the middle part of the process that left me with such a sour taste in my mouth towards corporatized charities that I will always give money to a person without a registered charity number over one with a number, every time.
posted by Jane the Brown at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Everybody highlighting that corporate volunteering should be on corporate time is right. As a second consideration - I am not spending the whole day picking up litter if my project deadline does not get pushed by a day as well...otherwise I spend a day picking up litter and a day at the weekend or a night finishing my work...which is the reason I abstain from all corporate volunteering. In theory my employer supports corporate volunteering but in practice it still means that I have to give up my free time and I do enough unpaid overtime as it is. In my limited personal time I'd rather support causes entirely of my choice, with people I haven't spent all week with.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:45 AM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I also got on the same President of Operations blacklist when I tried to tactfully point out that raffling off a growler of rum to a bunch of employees who included people who were using the EAP to get counseling for gambling addiction and alcoholism might not be the most ethical thing to do. (She already knew it was illegal.)
posted by Jane the Brown at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2017

I'd suggest you ask the employees for input, what cause they volunteer for, or would like to volunteer for and why. With luck they would start sighing, "I wish I had time and resources to volunteer for the local soup kitchen...." and then your company steps in to say, "Great! How about if we let you sign up to volunteer on company time?"

Basically, if your company acts as the coordinator for the volunteers and your staff as the actual volunteers Say, Jeff would like to volunteer to serve lunch at the soup kitchen, and Miles would like to do something but doesn't know what but he has a car, and Sarah says that she would like to donate $10 per month, Jeff can do the soup kitchen, Miles can drive him and Sarah can pay for the gas, and the company can coordinate the whole thing and allow them to do it on company time and make sure that they all get recurring positive feedback for being the team that makes this possible. It should not necessarily be public feedback. Check about that, as there are people who will NOT volunteer lest they end up having their picture on the Volunteer of the Week Page. They might prefer to be mentioned as "There is a team at our company who has committed to serving each Wednesday until Christmas at Romero House," with no names and pictures.
posted by Jane the Brown at 11:57 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

My company partners with a local school that has a high rate of students on free and reduced lunch. The partnership plays out in a variety of ways - right now we're running a school supply drive where a list was posted and people can drop off whatever they want. Around the holidays we do a gift tree and you can pick present types that are in your price range. We also do a couple of events a year where we volunteer at the school itself. A group will go spend a few hours reading to students, or help support their field day. I think it's a good mix of who can give money vs who can give time, and the events are always during work hours. You have to work it out with your manager whether you can go but most managers are on board with participating as long as you're not being crushed by deadlines or something. There's no pressure to participate either (and plenty of folks here volunteer at other places).
posted by brilliantine at 1:19 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Some things I have seen that seem to work well:

-- Company programs that set aside a certain amount of hours/projects/whatever to donating whatever it is that company does rather than charging market rate. For example, I work at a university and we have an awesome service learning office that helps professors incorporate various volunteer/service projects into their classes in ways that benefit both the students AND the organizations. I have also known friends who work a law firms that donate a percentage of their hours to pro-bono work, or architecture firms that have a certain number of projects involving affordable housing or other projects where they may charge something, but not their usual rate. So, the employees are basically doing their normal job tasks and being paid as usual, but there's a benefit to the community as well.
--Organized volunteering days -- for example, my campus has a day every year where student and employees can sign up to work on one of several different volunteer projects, and aren't charged PTO. A similar but more involved example would be a friend of mine who's a doctor -- her hospital organizes an international trip every year where volunteers will travel to a country with limited medical resources to assist a local clinic there. It's organized through work and she's not taking vacation time to do it.

The biggest pitfall I have seen is companies that put pressure on employees to volunteer outside of work hours, since this can put certain groups in a bad position -- for example, someone with a chronic health condition, care-taking responsibilities, etc.

I also personally feel like it's just bad for companies to try to police the outside-of-work behavior of their employees in this way. Of course volunteering is a social good, but it's not really my employer's business to judge whether a particular volunteering activity "counts" by their standards. For example: volunteering at the homeless shelter run out of my church (which probably wouldn't count because it is a religious organization), or showing up to an anti-racism rally after the events in Charlottesville (which probably wouldn't count because it's political), or driving an elderly neighbor to get groceries (which probably wouldn't count because it's not through an organization). There are TONS of ways to volunteer and support our communities that aren't going to count for corporate volunteering programs, and pressuring employees to contribute in corporate-sanctioned ways is just icky.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:27 PM on August 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding the commenters who suggest that you find charitable opportunities where staff can use their skills (and pay them their usual wage to do the work during usual working hours). I used to work for a major health-related charity and we would get corporate volunteers from major financial institutions. Often they had IT skills, or were lawyers, or had other skills that the organisation desperately needed. But because we only had them for a day or two, in unpredictable bursts, mostly they ended up in a back room stuffing envelopes. It was a tremendous waste of their skills and I imagine pretty frustrating for them, too. What we really needed was a skilled team of people, assigned to us for a brief period of pro bono work to help us solve specific problems we were facing.

An alternative model would be to let staff propose their own volunteering opportunities that are meaningful to them, and subject to certain criteria, that they be given paid leave to participate. Please don't ask anyone to do extra work for free - that would be super inequitable for people with families, disabilities, complicated lives, etc. Volunteering really isn't volunteering if your boss is making you do it.
posted by embrangled at 6:01 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know about Apple in the US, but Apple in Europe is ace at this. Staff can volunteer at any organisation they choose, on their own time, but Apple matches both funds raised and donates €25 per hour volunteered. They also have volunteer grants for employees. Some info; some more detailed info.

The organisation has to jump through some hoops to be eligible, but it is worth it. The other thing is does is resolve passionate disputes: I want us to volunteer at Planned Parenthood, but you have religious issues, and so to avoid a huge HR mess, we end up all going to Habitat for Humanity or an over-subscribed food bank. Again.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:36 AM on August 17, 2017

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