How to Implement Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

It is becoming more common for companies to offer their employees volunteer days, so called Volunteer Time Off (VTO). An increasing number of companies are supporting their employees to commit during business hours. Volunteer with a non-profit organisation (NPO) for a few hours to a few days a year. How to get started and what should you consider as a company?

Why companies adopt VTO

Companies usually organise community or social team events, only for one day. These do not always give employees a fulfilling or profound personal experience. That’s why numerous companies are introducing Volunteer Time Off (VTO). In the process, they contribute just that extra bit to CSR and the SDGs in a structural way. In doing so, they achieve the stipulated SROI, improve their corporate image and retain both customers and employees. VTO can support their employees to achieve their personal and social goals and build sustainable relationships. Sharing memorable experiences will create mutual connections. Resulting in more engagement with each other at the workplace and hence more motivation. And that is what companies are essentially about, an investment in their greatest asset: The employees.

Commence with policy

Companies looking to have their employees volunteer during working hours sometimes do not know how to conduct it. It starts first by identifying the policy involved in this. The policy is part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Social Return on Investment (SROI). VTO is considered a type of leave entitlement with its associated rules. The time typically offered by a company for this purpose varies from 8 to 40 hours per year, in accordance with employment contract hours and in addition to regular holidays and medical leave. You should also consider the following aspects:

  • The number of VTO hours per year
  • NPO’s must comply with the company’s vision
  • Who and which departments are eligible
  • Deploying individually or jointly with multiple colleagues
  • Type of volunteering; manual labor or sharing knowledge
  • To what purpose, e.g., personal development and/or intercultural experience
  • Only domestic or also abroad
  • Possible travel compensation

Offer your employee a choice as well

With that in mind, also be aware that the type of volunteering matters. Broadening your vision and making a choice outside your comfort zone is obviously very educational. However, not everyone is cut out for a particular type of work or target group. Volunteering with children, the demented or disabled, for example, is something that must appeal to you personally to be able to commit to it. The work must be something that relates to you, that you enjoy and get fulfilment from. It should give you a sense of accomplishment and feel good about it. Also, people like to offer something back in a foreign country where they are for work or on vacation. It would be great if their employer offered them a choice in this, of course within your company policy.

Implementation in practice

The introduction of VTO will only be a success if there is support from across the organisation. The policy should be clear and communicated to employees. A clear communication plan will facilitate this. It is also desirable for a company to know who, when, where and at which NPO the VTO days were deployed, in the manner of reports. Obviously, anything can go wrong in the initial phase.  But once VTO is operating successfully within a company, all parties will be beneficiaries.

Do you have questions about what FairestBnb can do for your organisation? Perhaps you have experiences implementing VTO? Feel free to drop us a note and contact us at