Employer-sponsored volunteering has become an increasingly popular trend among small and large companies in recent years.  The reason is simple: employee volunteering can be extremely beneficial for all involved.  This includes the people for whom volunteer services are performed (i.e., the community), employees, and employers.  Companies benefit because volunteering can improve their image, create brand recognition, and improve cohesion among employees.  Similarly, employees benefit because volunteering can improve interpersonal skills, reduce isolation, provide fulfillment, and improve community services people use. 

Employer-sponsored volunteering is a beneficial endeavor and employers who have not already done so should consider developing their own volunteer programs.  Managing a volunteer program does require commitment from employers.  Employers will need to set volunteer guidelines for employees to follow and may need to assist employees in finding volunteer activities in which to participate.  Before beginning a volunteer program, employers should carefully consider what type of volunteer program would function best in their company, and learn about the various resources that exist to assist them in developing and maintaining a volunteer program.

Types of Volunteer Programs

There are several types of volunteer programs, and often the program employers select depends on the size of their company and community.  Examples of employer-sponsored volunteer programs include the following:

  • No –charge services:  Employers allow employees to offer professional services, such as those they provide as part of their employment, to non-profit organizations at no charge.
  • Dollars for Doers Programs:  Employers allow employees to volunteer for their favorite cause while their employer matches their volunteer hours with financial donations to the non-profit.
  • Company Project:  Employers organize a volunteer project that employees can participate in on a given date and time.
  • Flex Time:  Employers allow employees time off to volunteer.
  • volunteer resources

    Volunteer resources that employers can take advantage of include the following:

  • Volunteer Match:  This website matches volunteers with volunteer opportunities of interest in their location.
  • Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship:  This resource provides tools and information to assist business leaders in aligning citizenship and volunteerism objectives with their business goals.
  • Volunteer Spot:  This website offers a variety of free tools to assist employers in planning, scheduling, and organizing volunteer activities.

  • It is important for employers to plan ahead when developing an employee volunteer program.  Not all programs work for all companies.  As discussed above, the size of a company and of the community in which the company is located can both have an impact on the type of program that will work well for a company.  Careful planning can help employers maintain the program long-term.
  • Employers need to be aware of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) laws that apply to employee volunteers.  Pursuant to the FLSA, employers must compensate employees for volunteer work completed by the employee when
  • the employer directs the employee to volunteer,
  • the volunteer work is done at the employer’s request or under their direction, or
  • the work is completed while the employee is on the employer’s premises. 
  • Please contact a Gjording Fouser lawyer at 208.336.9777 if you would like any additional information about this topic or any other employment issues facing your company.