Volunteerism Always Pays
Packs New Features Into Its Return

Volunteerism is held up as an extraordinary way to get out in the community and give back to causes that matter to you. But what happens when getting out in the community gets a lot harder? It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed the way we do things, and volunteering hasn’t been immune to those changes. Yet Walmart associates still want to give back.


It’s that very reason Walmart is reopening our Volunteerism Always Pays program – and will now include virtual volunteering. The VAP program was paused at the onset of COVID-19, but after some careful thought, it’s back to help you make a difference, whether on-site or remote.


Associates can now resume volunteering on-site, and are encouraged to continue following CDC and state/local guidance for public gatherings. And associates who continued to volunteer in some capacity during the suspension may also submit claims at this time.


Associates who aren’t yet comfortable returning to on-site volunteering, but are looking forward to resuming their volunteer work with VAP, now have the option to take part in virtual volunteering. 

Virtual volunteering refers to volunteer tasks that are completed remotely, like online mentoring and tutoring, helping with a crisis hotline via phone or chat, or providing translation of a document or website to another language in your free time.


Home office associate Toni Gemper is a director of supply chain flow, and volunteers her time with CASA as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests.


Toni says she’s been glad to be able to continue her volunteer work virtually, even during the onset of COVID-19. 

Toni Gemper Facetimes with "her" CASA kids
Toni Gemper Facetimes with one of "her" CASA kids

“Virtual volunteerism is enabling us to continue doing what we need to do for these kids – just in a very different setting,” Toni said. “We’re still visiting with them, we’re still having important conversations, it’s just not in person. We may not be able to go eat a meal with them, but we can still make a difference for them.”


In essence, if you’ve got a valuable skill you can provide to a qualified organization virtually, you still have the chance to give back via VAP.


The hallmarks of the program are sticking around. If you perform volunteer work for a qualified organization, in-person or virtually, Walmart will support your efforts by providing a grant based on the number of hours associates volunteer.


In fiscal year 20, associates reported volunteering more than 630,000 hours through VAP, which translated to more than $5.9 million in grant contributions to organizations around the country.


And as the need for volunteers has changed due to the novel coronavirus, nonprofits and other organizations relying on volunteers have had to shift how their programs work. But virtual volunteerism has the chance to broaden associates’ access to volunteer work, allow organizations to expand their volunteer programs, and can even boost participation rates due to the flexibility afforded by the virtual aspect of the program. 


“Working from home has really changed the way all of us work,” Toni said. “And if people are still looking for a way to make a difference, to focus on something outside of their day-to-day routines, but maybe don’t feel comfortable getting out to volunteer, then this is a great way to make a difference.”


Virtual volunteering allows anyone with phone or internet access to continue contributing their time and expertise, and to do it as safely as possible. When Walmart associates find the intersection of giving back and staying safe, we’re here to support them.


Visit the Volunteerism Always Pays page (on-network) to learn more about VAP and to view resources and actions you can take moving forward.