KC Company challenges others to offer employees paid volunteer time-off (VTO)

'Be the Difference' campaign promotes call for increased community service

Nonprofits are experiencing decreased volunteer support as a result of the economy. In addition, some employees are hesitant to take time away from the office, even to provide community service work, given the current employment environment.

In response, one local company, Pioneer Services, has developed a unique and socially responsible solution – actually "paying" their employees when they volunteer. This company's paid "volunteer time-off" (VTO) program allows an associate to individually determine where and how they'd like to perform their community service, and then affords them the opportunity to volunteer for that particular passion during regular work hours – with pay.

Pioneer Services recently organized a volunteer fair at its company's headquarters to help associates identify local volunteerism opportunities and renew interest in its pre-existing VTO program, in which the company provides all employees 16 hours of VTO annually (4,700 hours total). Given the overwhelming response from Kansas City's nonprofit community, Pioneer Services recently launched the Be the Difference campaign. The goal is to encourage and challenge other businesses in Kansas City, and across the country, to pledge their support for implementing a paid VTO program.

"Giving back to the community is a key component of Pioneer Services' corporate culture," said Karen Von Der Bruegge, chief marketing officer of Pioneer Services. "Given the popularity and success of our VTO program, and the need for volunteers in the community, we initiated this campaign to promote the concept of paid VTO with other organizations, challenging them to offer this rewarding benefit to their associates as well."