1. What is Give Back Iowa?
Give Back Iowa is an eight-week challenge running from April 1 through May 31 each year to engage Iowans in employer-supported volunteering, both during and outside of the workday. There is no cost to register or participate.
2. How does it work?
Employers (including nonprofits) register in advance to participate in the Give Back Iowa Challenge. As part of registration, employers identify whether they wish to be included in pre-challenge media releases and whether one point of contact will log hours for the organization overall, or if employees will individually log their own hours. Volunteer hours completed during the Challenge (April 1-May 31) are reported through a simple online report form.
3. Who can participate?
It doesn’t matter how many employees you have – ANY employer in Iowa can participate (for profit, nonprofit, and government organizations). You can participate as an entire organization or by location if you have multiple sites (e.g. 123 Construction or ABC Insurance-Anamosa).
Nonprofits are welcome to participate in the Challenge as employers and are encouraged to share information about the Challenge with corporate volunteers, encouraging them to register. Lastly, nonprofits can continue to provide quality volunteer opportunities in your community for employees participating in the Challenge.
4. My company doesn’t have a formal volunteer program. Can we still participate?
Yes! This is a great chance for your company to get started with volunteering to see how it can positively affect your employees and company.
5. What are the benefits of participating?
There is a lot of research showing the connection between employer-supported volunteering and improved employee engagement, employee wellness, organizational commitment, job satisfaction and retention. There is also research connecting employee engagement with increased profitability and productivity. In addition, there are benefits to the community through the organization fulfilling its corporate social responsibility goals.
6. How are the winners determined?
The online registration form asks for the number of company employees, which is then used to determine the average number of volunteer hours completed per employee. Categories based on company size will be created, and winners will be selected in each category.
After the conclusion of the Challenge, employers with the highest average number of volunteer hours per employee will be recognized with a visit to their workplace by the Governor and/or Lt. Governor.
7. Where can I find group volunteer opportunities for my employees?
If you operate in a community with a Volunteer Center, you are encouraged to contact the Volunteer Center for information on group volunteer opportunities. Volunteer Centers are listed on our website https://www.volunteeriowa.org/volunteercentersiowa.
8. Where can my employees find individual volunteer opportunities?
Volunteer Iowa hosts an online volunteer connecting website at www.volunteeriowa.org that can be searched for local volunteer opportunities. Employees can click “Find a Volunteer Opportunity” and search for something they would enjoy.
9. What additional resources are available for employer volunteer programs?
Volunteer Iowa provides resources to employers interested in engaging their employees in volunteering. Find information and resources, including recorded webinars at volunteeriowa.org/employer-resources.
10. How do I register my company/organization?
Simply complete the online registration form.
11. My company has multiple locations, do we register as one, or separately?
Companies with multiple locations can register as one company by including locations only in Iowa or have each location, branch, or site register and participate individually. If registering as one company, please be sure the number of employees reflects all the employees that are located in Iowa. If registering by individual location/branch/site, the number of employees should reflect only the employees at that particular location/branch/site.
12. Who should serve as my company’s point of contact?
The company’s point of contact should be authorized by the company to register for the Challenge, track and submit employee hours (if necessary) and have the ability to share information about the Challenge within the company.
13. Who should submit the volunteer hours?
Employers may elect to submit total hours volunteered on behalf of all employees in the company or may ask each employee to individually submit hours. This selection should be indicated during registration. Companies who already have a system to collect employee volunteer hours may prefer to use that system. Otherwise, they may develop simple internal systems, forms, or spreadsheets to collect the information, or can ask individual employees to track and submit their own hours.
14. How do I submit volunteer hours?
No login required! Both individuals and company points of contact simply fill out and submit the online Report Volunteer Time form that's available during each annual Challenge period. Submitting hours weekly is recommended to help make sure the Leaderboard accurately reflects who's doing the most volunteering.
All hours must be submitted by June 3 to be included in calculating the winners.
15. What counts as volunteering?
Any activities performed willingly and without compensation. Volunteering may be through or for an organization (association, school, nonprofit, or governmental entity). Using official Volunteer Time Off (VTO) or volunteering on personal time outside of work may all be included. Examples of volunteer activities include, but are not limited to:
- Coach, referee, or supervise sports teams
- Tutor or teach
- Mentor youth
- Be an usher, greeter, or minister
- Collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food
- Collect, make, or distribute clothing, crafts, or other goods
- Fundraise or sell items to raise money for charity
- Provide counseling, medical care, fire/EMS or protective services
- Provide general office services
- Provide professional or management assistance
- Serve on a nonprofit board or committee
- Engage in music or other artistic performances
- Engage in general labor
- Provide transportation for people (to medical appointments, grocery store, etc.)
16. How do I determine the reporting period?
Each employer/employee may determine the ideal reporting periods for themselves. For example, a company may request that employees track and submit hours each week, or just once or twice during the Challenge. We recommend that employees submit hours weekly to ensure no hours are forgotten; it is important to avoid overlapping reporting periods or double counting a volunteer activity.
17. Can I see how many hours I have submitted?
An e-mail confirmation is sent each time a submission is made on the website. At this time, the site does not have the capability to log in and view total hours submitted by individuals, so you may wish to keep the confirmation messages to document the hours reported.
As the Challenge gets underway, the total hours submitted per company will be visible on the website.
If you have questions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.