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4 min read

The “Why” Behind Employee Volunteer Time Off

November 26, 2013


Updated June 29, 2016

It’s more than just another acronym for you to remember. Volunteer Time Off (VTO) policies are a quickly growing trend among businesses committed to authentic corporate social responsibility.

These companies provide a certain number of hours per year for employees to volunteer in the community – independent from the company-sponsored volunteer days and weeks of service. And just as these group programs show direct benefits for the employee, the company, and the community, businesses who institute VTO policies are finding they make a difference in a number of important ways.

Solutions by VolunteerMatch makes running an employee volunteer program easy. Learn more.

The Benefits of VTO

These days, companies often fight tooth and nail to attract the best talent. Generous volunteering programs can distinguish your company from others, and help you recruit engaged, ambitious and committed people. The flexibility of VTO policies is also a good way to attract Millennials.

Once you’ve got the best employees, a VTO policy is one way to help you keep them. Reports are showing that giving your employees opportunities as part of their jobs to volunteer builds loyalty to your company, making them proud to work for a place with such a strong community mindset. These are a few reason why offering a VTO policy can take your company closer to the triple bottom line.

Finally, giving your employees time to help in the community will create much-needed social impact during a time when many places desperately need the boost. Due to the sluggish economy, your company might not have the capacity to give large sums of money to help out, but enabling your employees to volunteer is another important way your company can give back.

What the Data Says About VTO

Don’t take our word for it, though – recent research backs up the growing trend towards generous VTO policies. According to the 2016 Employee Benefits report by Society for Human Resource Management, 21% of companies offer volunteer time off to their employees. This is a pretty big increase from 15% in 2009.

And it seems that bigger companies are even more on top on top of their VTO game: According to a 2014 CECP report of 261 of the world’s largest companies, 60% offer VTO as a benefit to their employees. Wow!

Also, according to our own reach, a majority of our Solutions by VolunteerMatch corporate clients (which admittedly is a self-selecting group) have a formal or informal VTO policy. For those that do have a formal policy, 8 hours is the average amount of paid time off granted per year.

Here at VolunteerMatch, we like to practice what we preach. As a company of over-achievers, though, we expanded the typical 8 hours per year to 8 hours per month. That’s one full day off per month to volunteer!

Does your company have a Volunteer Time Off (VTO) Policy? Share it with us in the comments below, and check out how VolunteerMatch can help your company develop a strong employee volunteer program.

Shari Tishman

Written by Shari Tishman

Shari led Online Marketing and Communications at VolunteerMatch from 2010-2015. After working with nonprofits for 9 years, she moved over to the corporate sector and is now leading Inbound Marketing for a tech company in San Francisco.


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