The referenced media source is missing and needs to be re-embedded.

1. What is Give Back Iowa?

Give Back Iowa is an eight week challenge running from April 1- May 31, 2016 to engage Iowans in employer supported volunteering, both during and outside of the workday.

2. How does it work?

Employers (including nonprofits) are encouraged to register for the Give Back Iowa Challenge by March 31st to be included in pre-challenge media releases. As a part of registration, employers will identify whether one point of contact will log hours for the organization or if employees will individually log their hours through the tracking website (available on April 1st). Once the Challenge starts, your organization is encouraged to log volunteer hours completed by your employees that occur from April 1 - May 31.

If you select a point of contact that will log hours, that person needs to collect hours from all participating employees to submit bulk hour tracking forms (the employer point of contact is encouraged to send updated hours weekly throughout the challenge).

If you choose to have employees log their own hours, you need to share the tracking website with employees and encouraging them to log their hours weekly from April 1- May 31.

3. Who can participate?

Any employer in Iowa can participate (for profit, nonprofit, and government organizations. You can participate based on location (e.g.: Example Company, Cedar Rapids) or as an entire organization.

Nonprofits are welcome to participate in the Challenge themselves as employers and/or can share information about the Challenge with your corporate volunteers, encouraging their employer to register their company. Lastly, you 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?

Employers with the highest average of hours per employee will be recognized with a visit to your workplace by Governor Terry E. Branstad or Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds in the coming year.

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 the benefits to the community through the organization’s corporate social responsibility.

6. How will the winner(s) be determined?

As part of registration, we will ask questions about your number of employees to determine the average of volunteer hours per employee.  Categories based on company size will be created, with winners selected in each category.

7. Where can I find volunteer opportunities?

Volunteer Iowa hosts an online volunteer connecting website at where you and your employees can search for local volunteer opportunities. On the homepage click “Find a Volunteer Opportunity” and search for something that you would enjoy.

If you live in a community with a Volunteer Center, you are encouraged to contact the Volunteer Center for additional information on volunteer opportunities. Find your Volunteer Center using this website

Employers and employees can also take advantage of events including National Volunteer Week and Earth Day to plan and participate in volunteer Days of Service in their community.

8. What additional resources are available for employer volunteer programs?

The Iowa Employer Volunteer Initiative is hosted by Volunteer Iowa and provides resources to employers interested in engaging their employees in volunteering. Find information/resources including in our recorded webinars at:


9. How do I register my company/organization?

To register, complete the registration form. All employers registering before March 31st will be included in pre-challenge media releases. Registration form available HERE

10. 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, be sure the number of employees reflects all the employees in the company that are located in Iowa. If registering by individual location/branch/site be sure the number of employees reflects only the employees at that particular location/branch/site.

11. 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 and should have the ability to share information about the Challenge within the company.


12. How do I submit volunteer hours?

To submit volunteer hours, employees register on the volunteer challenge tracking website to easily track their hours and watch the competition on the leaderboard. All hours must be submitted by June 3rd, 2016 to be included in the average hours per employee calculation. The tracking website will be available on April 1st.

13. Who should submit volunteer hours?

Employers may elect to submit total hours volunteered on behalf of employees or may ask each employee to individually submit hours for themselves. This selection should be made at registration. Employers who already have a system to collect employee volunteer hours may prefer to use that system and or may develop simple internal systems, forms, or spreadsheets to collect this information. Additionally, employers who do not have such a system may determine that each individual employee should track and submit their own hours.

14. What counts as volunteering?

Any volunteer activities performed through or for an organization (an association, society, school or nonprofit including youth groups, civic organizations, and religious institutions). Volunteer time during the work day, Volunteer Time Off (VTO), and time spent 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 goods other than food
  • 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, including serving on a board or committee
  • Engage in music, performance, or other artistic activities; 12) Engage in general labor; supply transportation for people.

15. 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 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 and that the leader board is most up to date. It is important that you do not overlap reporting periods and double count a volunteer activity.

16. How can I see how many hours I have submitted?

Registered employer/employees may log on and view their total hours and the challenge leaderboard beginning April 1st on the tracking website. The website will be available through our website:

17.  Having trouble with the site or logging hours?  

Please contact Jody Benz at Volunteer Iowa, or 515.725.3094