FAQs About LANL Vecinos Volunteer Program
Your questions about volunteering answered. . .
The LANL Vecinos Volunteer Program connects great employee and retiree volunteers with local nonprofit organizations needing assistance.
Vecinos, the name of the LANL volunteer program, means neighbors in Spanish. Our employee and retiree volunteers give their time and talent to our neighbors to help provide resources and assistance throughout Northern New Mexico and beyond.
As of 2012, more than 3,000 LANL employee and retirees have created accounts in VolunteerMatch and are keeping track of their volunteer hours.
LANL subcontractors are welcome to join the LANL Vecinos Volunteer Program, but there are limitations in the benefits provided by Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS).
We encourage our LANL retirees to get involved in the LANL Vecinos Volunteer Program in one of two ways:
- Create an account on VolunteerMatch and track your own hours
- Contact the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at the Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos at (505) 662-8923.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) provides opportunities for people 55 and over to make a difference in their community through volunteer service. RSVP volunteers contribute anywhere from a few too many hours a week, serving in the schools, the hospital, senior centers, at the quarterly blood drives in leisure and recreational groups and other nonprofit and public organizations to help meet community needs. Los Alamos RSVP offers a wide variety of choice to its volunteers with over 60 volunteer placement sites. RSVP matches the personal interests and skills of older Americans with opportunities to volunteer and offers supplemental insurance while on duty, pre-service orientation and on-the-job training from the agency or organization where volunteers are placed.
In 2007, LANS initiated an incentive for their employees and retirees to track their service hours through VolunteerMatch or RSVP to be recognized as outstanding volunteers for making the difference in their communities. Employees and retirees, who register and track their volunteer service hours, are invited to an annual recognition event and presented with an appreciation gift. Additionally, monetary awards will be given to the nonprofit organization on behalf of the outstanding LANL volunteer who supports it.
Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and LANL’s Community Programs Office hosts an annual LANL Vecinos Volunteer Program recognition event, usually in the summer. All employee volunteers who register their hours in VolunteerMatch—retirees can register with RSVP—will receive an invitation to the event and receive an appreciation gift. If volunteers log more than 100 hours, they will also be eligible for a monetary award to be given to the nonprofit they support.
Awards are determined based on the following criteria:
- 0–99 hours: invitation to event and appreciation certificate
- 100–249 hours: $100 donated to a qualifying 501(c)(3) on volunteer’s behalf
- 250–499 hours: $250 donated to a qualifying 501(c)(3) on volunteer’s behalf
- 500 hours and up: $500 donated to a qualifying 501(c)(3) on volunteer’s behalf
For 2012 hours, volunteers had until March 22, 2013, to log their calendar year 2012 volunteer hours to receive invitation to the 6th Annual LANL Vecinos Volunteer Program Recognition Event and be eligible for a monetary award.
LANL employees can log their hours in VolunteerMatch and retirees can contact RSVP at (505 662-8923.
VolunteerMatch: Info for Employees and Nonprofits
Since 2007, LANS has contracted services from VolunteerMatch to make it easy for LANL employees and retirees to find existing volunteer opportunities in the community and log their volunteer hours.
VolunteerMatch is a national nonprofit organization that strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. Its award-winning online service, http://lanl.volunteermatch.org/, helps visitors find local volunteer opportunities by location, interest area and/or keyword. It currently lists more than 80,000 volunteer opportunities across the country.
Anyone using a computer with internet capability can access local and national volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch’s website.
In 2007, LANS entered a partnership with VolunteerMatch and created a dedicated portal for our employees and retirees. Lab employees and retirees can create an account, search for opportunities and log their hours on the VolunteerMatch website.
Registering and Reporting Hours
- To set up an account on VolunteerMatch, the volunteer must have access to the internet and an active email account.
- Go to http://lanl.volunteermatch.org/.
- In the middle of the page, find LOGIN or REGISTER.
- Click on REGISTER NOW.
- The registration process is straightforward and guides you through each step.
- Once submitted to VolunteerMatch for processing, you will receive a confirmation email at the address you provided during the registration process.
- Follow the steps in the email and activate your new VolunteerMatch account.
- Start logging your hours and search for new volunteer opportunities!
- Go to the Volunteer Match website.
- In the middle of the page of the VolunteerMatch site is LOGIN.
- Click on LOGIN.
- Enter your email/username and password.
- WELCOME page. TRACK YOUR VOLUNTEER HOURS. Click on GO.
- To add a new volunteer activity and organization name, click ADD VOLUNTEER ACTIVITY.
- To add hours to an existing volunteer opportunity or organization, click on ADD/EDIT HOURS in your list organizations; selecting ADD HOURS TO ANOTHER DATE will allow you to add new volunteer hours.
- Be sure and hit SAVE before exiting the page or your work will be lost.
- If you experience problems logging hours, contact the Lab's Community Programs Office at (505) 665-4400 or through email at email@example.com.
Ideally, as you perform service hours you should try and log them. Although the VolunteerMatch system encourages volunteers to log their hours for each day they volunteer, we realize that task can be time consuming. It is perfectly legitimate to batch your hours into blocks of time. For example, if you volunteer 20 hours a month spanning over several days, consider selecting a couple of days within that month and enter 10 hours on each day. Keep in mind, there are only 24 hours in a day, so you will have spread your hours over an appropriate period of time in the system.
Yes. You can log hours for any nonprofit/tax exempt organization for which you volunteer. You just need to fill in the organizational field the first time you log hours with them. Once added, an organization stays on your list until you remove it.
The "Opportunity Name" field describes the activity that you did for that particular organization. If you are primarily involved in fundraising, you might want to describe it that way. If you help with mailings, you might want to describe the activity as "Administrative Support." The field does not restrict how you can fill it out.
Volunteer hours are reviewed and "approved" by a LANL Community Programs Office VolunteerMatch website administrator.
VolunteerMatch suggests the following steps to correct the problem:
- Try deleting your cache (temporary internet files on Internet Explorer) and “cookies.” HTTP cookies (also referred to as tracking cookies, or simply cookies) are small pieces of text, stored on a user's computer by a web browser; and they contain the user's settings, shopping cart contents, or other data used by websites.
- Then go to the VolunteerMatch site at http://lanl.volunteermatch.org/ and log in again.
- If you continue to experience difficulty, email VolunteerMatch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 241-6872. Customer representatives are available between 9 am and 6 pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.
- If necessary, contact the LANL Community Programs Office at (505) 665-4400.
Using Volunteer Match: Registering Volunteer Opportunities for Nonprofit Organizations
Registration is available for all nonprofit organizations, government entities, and educational institutions to recruit volunteers and get the word out about their organization, its mission, and resources available in the community. There is no charge for nonprofits to register and use VolunteerMatch.
- Visit VolunteerMatch: http://www.volunteermatch.org/nonprofits/
- Click on REGISTER NOW
- Create your personal profile
- Add your organization
- Add your opportunities
- Select a service level
- Verify your email address
- VolunteerMatch will review and approve your account within 24 business hours
- Begin recruiting more volunteers!
VolunteerMatch has a process it uses to determine which organizations can post volunteer opportunities to its website. In most cases, registering organizations will need to provide evidence of their tax-exempt or nonprofit status. However, VolunteerMatch may wave that proof under circumstances such as a for-profit organization with a civic mission. VolunteerMatch can provide additional guidance on its criteria for nonprofit registration.
There are only two instances under which a nonprofit organization will contact you through VolunteerMatch:
- You indicate that you want to volunteer for an organization by hitting the "I want to help" button on a particular organization's information pages.
- You post a volunteer resume that indicates that you wish to be recruited as a volunteer.
LANL Subcontractors and LANL Employee Family Members
Yes, LANL subcontractors and family members are welcome to register on VolunteerMatch and track their hours along with LANS employees and retirees.
LANS/LANL subcontractors or LANL employee family members are not eligible to receive these awards. The business reason for this decision is that subcontractors are not employees of Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and treating them as such creates what (in legal terms) is called “co-employment issues.” There are additional IRS restrictions that LANS must meet to be in compliance with making “gifts” to nonprofits.
We are looking into the possibility of notifying the sub-contracting companies regarding their outstanding employees and encouraging them to institute a volunteer recognition program.
VolunteerMatch is available worldwide to employees, contractors and retirees who wish to log their volunteer hours at http://lanl.volunteermatch.org/ and nationally for those seeking to both volunteer and log hours in the United States.
Science Education Community Service Time
LANS employees may be eligible for paid leave through the Science Education Community Service Time System.
LANS employees are also eligible for paid leave time to participate in educational activities involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities.
The Laboratory promotes LANS/LANS employee participation in science, math, engineering and math (STEM) educational activities as a good corporate citizen and valuable community resource. Science Education Community Service Time is time off with pay that might be granted to LANS/LANL full-time or part-time employees, at the discretion of their supervisor and with the approval of the LANL Community Programs Office. Please review the LANL Community Programs Office Science Education Community Service Time website before submitting a request for Science Education Community Service Time at http://cao.lanl.gov/MRcgi/MRlogin.pl?PROJECTID=103.
Employees participating in Laboratory-approved science education activities during work hours are permitted up to 32 hours per fiscal year of Science Education Community Service Time.
There are several science education activities that LANS/LANL employees can participate in with prior approval as described above. For Science Education Community Service to be certified as educational in nature, the activity must meet the following criteria:
- Provide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education activities
- Be uncompensated
- Be provided to a non-profit educational group or organization
- Be part of an organized program if it is a mentoring or tutoring activity (please note that an employee may not mentor or tutor his/her own child unless the child is part of a larger group) or
- Have a secular purpose (i.e., a non-religious purpose, even if that activity takes place at a religious school).
Examples of activities that qualify for Science Education Community Service Time include
- judging science fairs
- judging/helping with other types of STEM competitions (e.g., math contests)
- participating in a STEM-related career fair at an educational institution
- giving STEM-related field trips for instructional or technical purposes (not as an escort or chaperone)
- giving STEM-related talks and demonstrations in classrooms and at schools
- tutoring or mentoring as part of an organized program
- scouting badges (only if scouting is STEM related and not as the scouting official)
Contact Janelle Vigil-Maestas, Community Programs Office at (505) 665-4400 or by email at email@example.com.
Could not find the answer to your question(s)? Contact the Community Programs Office at (505) 665-4400 or through firstname.lastname@example.org.