Q. What is the current hourly volunteer rate ($/hr)?
A. FY 2017 is $24.14
Q. What type of work may volunteers perform?
A. Volunteers may perform any official government business, under the direction of a paid Corps staff member, except policy making or law/regulatory enforcement. Volunteers serve as campground and park hosts, staff visitor centers, conduct programs, clean shorelines, restore fish and wildlife habitat, maintain park trails and facilities, and many other important duties.
Q. Do volunteers receive any compensation?
A. Volunteers do not receive any salary, but in some cases may be reimbursed for actual out-of-pocket expenses. Reimbursement is not required, should be approved in advance, and identified on the Volunteer Agreement. Some expenses might include local transportation costs and meals during duty hours.
Q. How do I reimburse incidental expenses to a volunteer?
A. Check the procedure in your district before approving incidental expenses for volunteers. Reimbursement is authorized by Implementation Guidance for Section 1047 (d) Services of Volunteers, of the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, Public Law 113-121. Document the incidental expenses on Standard Form 1164, Claim for Reimbursement and follow your district's procedure, such as:
- VISA check - contact the staff person in your district authorized to issue a VISA check and follow the procedure.
- Check from Defense Finance & Accounting Services in Millington: Contact the Resource Management Office and follow the prescribed procedure.
Q. What benefits do volunteers receive?
A. Volunteers receive protection for personal liability under the Tort Claims Act as long as they are acting within the scope of responsibilities. Volunteers are entitled to first aid and medical treatment for on-the-job injuries under the Federal Employees Compensation Act.
Q. Can volunteers receive a free campsite from the Corps?
A. Yes, the Corps may offer a free campsite during the time period that volunteers are performing work.
Q. Why do people volunteer?
A. People volunteer for many different reasons. Volunteers gain valuable skills, often work outdoors at beautiful lakes, help people and the environment, enjoy making a difference, meet new people, achieve a proud sense of contributing to the future of the nation, and have fun!
Q. Are volunteers allowed to sell permits and collect fees?
A. Yes, volunteers are authorized to sell permits and collect fees at campgrounds, day use areas, visitor centers, and administrative offices. The accepting official shall ensure that the volunteer:
- Signs a statement on the volunteer agreement or other document that he/she accepts the risk and liability of handling government funds.
- Receives proper training.
Q. Are volunteers authorized to use government-owned or leased vehicles, vessels, or other equipment?
A. Yes, volunteers may use vehicles, vessels, and other equipment if approved by the accepting official and the volunteer has the proper training, license, and/or experience. The Security Officer in some locations may prefer that volunteers use computers that are not networked with other Corps computers.
Q. What length of time do volunteers serve?
A. Length of service is by mutual agreement between the Corps and the volunteer. Some volunteers may serve only a couple of hours for a one-time event, while others may serve for months or years. Some projects ask volunteers for a minimum commitment of 20 hours per week and a 30-day length of stay for positions that require more training.
Q. How can projects locate and recruit volunteers?
A. Some sources to recruit volunteers:
- Local civic groups, Scouts, and church groups.
- Project visitors, outdoor clubs, campers, and non-profit organizations.
- One-on-one conversations, news releases, posters, and programs are some of the ways to spread the word about the volunteer program.
- Workamper News: a bimonthly and online publication that targets campers that want to work or volunteer opportunities. www.workamper.com.
- The nationwide Corps Volunteer Clearinghouse can help fill volunteer needs.
Q. What is the Corps of Engineers Volunteer Clearinghouse?
A. The Volunteer Clearinghouse is a national information center to match people who are interested in volunteering their time, with Corps projects and lakes that need them. The Volunteer Clearinghouse has a toll-free telephone hotline number, 800-VOL-TEER or 800-865-8337, and a Website, www.corpslakes.us/volunteer. Potential volunteers receive information on the region requested with the names and phone numbers of the project volunteer coordinators. Likewise, the names, addresses, and phone numbers of potential volunteers are forwarded to the Corps volunteer coordinators that request them. Corps projects can also submit their current volunteer job openings to be listed on the Webpage. Contact the Clearinghouse, Volunteer Clearinghouse, LRN in Outlook, to receive volunteer program updates and a monthly list of potential volunteers.
Q. Where are the volunteer numbers and value of service available?
A. A volunteer report is available in OMBIL with the number of volunteers, number of volunteer hours, reimbursed expenses, and value of services. Projects should enter their data annually in October to ensure their program is counted.
Q. Do you include the time that members of Cooperating Associations donate as volunteer hours in the volunteer report?
A. Yes, projects should include in the OMBIL report the time that members of Cooperating Associations donate.
Q. Is there a photo contest and/or a place where volunteer photos are needed?
A. Yes, you can submit Volunteer photos to the Corps Photo Album at any time. There is also Volunteer section on the photo contest conducted by the HQUSACE Water Safety Committee. Check the website, http://watersafety.usace.army.mil. In addition, you may submit photos to the Volunteer, Clearinghouse, LRN in Outlook to be posted on the Clearinghouse website.
Q. Can non-U.S. citizens volunteer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers?
A. Volunteer service may be accepted from legal aliens (permanent residents) or foreign exchange students. Any non-U.S. citizen must present his/her Visa (or passport if in the U.S. in tourist status from a visa-waiver country where visas are not required) or U.S. Permanent Resident Card INS Form I-551 (formerly known as Alien Registration Receipt Card) for review and verification. Examples of acceptable documentation forms are provided in Appendix E of ER 1130-2-500
Q. Where is additional information available about the volunteer program?
A. Contact the District volunteer coordinator or the Corps of Engineers Volunteer Clearinghouse at 800-865-8337.
Q. What is ww.Volunteer.Gov?
A. Volunteer.Gov is a multi-agency website with on-line volunteer opportunities from various Federal agencies and some state agencies.
- Corps volunteer coordinators do not need a password to post a volunteer opportunity to volunteer.gov/gov.
- Corps volunteer coordinators should send volunteer opportunities to the Volunteer Clearinghouse, LRN in Outlook to be listed on both VOLUNTEER.GOV and on the Clearinghouse website
Q. What action do I take if a volunteer does not do a good job?
A. Volunteers that do not perform their duties in a satisfactory manner may be tactfully released. The Volunteer Agreement has a place to terminate the agreement.
Q. Where should I enter Volunteer data in OMBIL?
A. ALL volunteer hours will be captured in the Annual Project Data Update section. In addition, volunteers that are also part of a partnership agreement (Cooperating Association, Challenge Partnership, MOU/MOA, Handshake, Contributions, Cooperative Agreement), should ALSO be counted in the Partnership Update section where they are associated with a partner entry. Click here for a decision tree/flow chart to walk you through the process.
Q. When can the Corps purchase food/drink for volunteers? Can we pay for food/drink for a volunteer appreciation lunch/banquet/BBQ? Can we purchase small items of appreciation of nominal value?
A. No, you may only provide volunteers with a paper certificate of appreciation, or a verbal thank you. The Corps does not have authority to spend appropriated funds on gifts. Volunteers may receive a free annual day use pass upon completion of 100 hours of service, and may also be nominated for the National Volunteer Award. Volunteers may be eligible for special Department of Defense Public Service Awards or awards by sources outside the Corps, such as the President's Volunteer Service Award.
Q. How can I obtain access for a volunteer to use a government computer connected to the network?
A. Volunteers may be authorized to operate government computers connected to Department of Defense (DOD) networks, subject to all applicable Federal regulations, local policies, ACE-IT, and AR 25-2 requirements. Volunteers requiring computer access must be issued a Volunteer Logical Access Credential (VOLAC) card. Volunteers must meet the following eligibility requirements to obtain a VOLAC card: