The Office of Personnel Management issued guidance for implementation of an Obama-era executive order expanding participation in the federal government’s annual charity giving drive to include volunteerism.
In a memo to agencies, OPM Director Jeff Pon formalized new rules that volunteer hours given by federal employees should be monetized and “put on equal footing” with traditional financial pledges during the annual Combined Federal Campaign. He also offered guidance for how officials can organize and encourage participation in agency-wide volunteer efforts. The memo also stressed that volunteer hours contributed to charities through the CFC must be on worker’s own, unpaid time.
Pon encouraged agencies to develop volunteer activities to help improve workforce morale. “Research shows that volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than other agency-sponsored team building activities,” he wrote. “Therefore, when appropriate, OPM invites federal agencies to explore opportunities to assist organizations and teams with coordinating volunteer team-building activities with CFC-participating charities.”
Volunteer hours contributed to charities through the fundraising effort will count toward agencies’ campaign results, although they will be reported separately from traditional financial contributions.
OPM officials said in a document that agency participation in volunteer work can have several benefits, such as an enhanced reputation with the public, improved recruiting, and opportunities for training in leadership and communication skills. They also offered agency leaders a variety of tips for choosing a group volunteer activity and said officials must use “a fair and open selection process when coordinating volunteer activities.”
Officials wanting to set up group volunteer activities must engage with workers and work together to choose the charity that will benefit. OPM offered a few sample questions to guide that process, including the number of people interested, how far employees would be willing to travel, and cause for which the team in the “the most passionate”.