Activity Kits FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about IBM’s volunteer resources

Questions about Activity Kits

Questions about IBM and volunteering

Questions about specific kits

Questions about Activity Kits

Where did these kits come from?

IBM created these kits as part of its Centennial celebration in 2011. In some cases the kits are based on successful volunteer activities designed by IBMers. Other kits come from On Demand Community, IBM's global volunteerism initiative supporting employees and retirees since 2003. Still other kits are derived from programs or partnerships developed as part of our corporate citizenship activities. All kits are intended to provide fun and impactful ways for volunteers to use their skills with community organizations and schools.

Is there any fee to use these Activity Kits?

No. You may download and use these kits free of charge, and share them with anyone. IBM is pleased to offer these resources to support your community.

Do I have to log in or provide any personal information to use a kit?

No. Access to these kits is anonymous, and you do not need to log in.

Do I need to be an expert in the subject matter to use these presentations?

While it helps to have expertise, it is not required. The kits are designed to be used by anyone who takes the time to review and understand the content, and who brings enthusiasm and patience to the task. For example, many of the activities that relate to technology and engineering can be used successfully by volunteers who do not have technical backgrounds. Take the time to review the materials and try the activity on your own. Your familiarity with the steps will help you make it enjoyable for students. You might improve your knowledge and skills by using a kit on a subject that is new to you. When you introduce yourself, you should state your qualifications and experience with the subject, even if they are minimal.

If you are asked questions that you cannot answer, refer the questioner to an official website (often included in a kit’s speaker notes or in its handout) or ask a qualified person in the audience to share information. When you share your personal opinions and practices, identify them as such.

Are there any out-of-pocket costs associated with using a kit?

Most activities require only a computer for a presentation or activity. Some kits include activities that use common household items. The “Driving on Sunshine” kit requires a few small items available in hardware stores.

If the kit includes a script, do I need to follow it?

Each presentation includes speaker notes in a separate document. These notes include instructions to the presenter and additional information to make the presentation meaningful for your audience. It may be helpful to follow the script, but in many cases you may find you need to adapt the information to your audience.

How can I provide feedback on a kit?

Click “Rate & comment” at the bottom of any kit’s page to enter a public comment and assign a rating (one to five stars) to a kit. You do not need to log in or provide any identifying information when you do this. Your ratings, comments, and country of residence (if you entered it) will be visible to other users. Other feedback you enter will be used by IBM to improve the kits. You may also encourage the participants in your volunteer activity to rate the kit you used. We welcome any constructive feedback. Inappropriate comments will not be displayed.

How do I report a problem?

If you wish to report a problem with a kit or the web page, send email to ccrpa@us.ibm.com.

Questions about IBM and volunteering

How can I find a school or a not-for-profit organization where I can volunteer?

You can find information on volunteer opportunities in sources such as:

Where can I find information about a not-for-profit organization?

The best source of information is usually the organization itself. Most not-for-profits have a website and publish an annual report. These reports typically include a statement of the organization's mission and a summary of its programs, a list of board members and key staff, and financial information (often a summary of the audited annual financial statements). It would also be helpful to compile information on recent program proposals, program brochures, or reports to funders.

A second key source of information (in the United States) is the annual report most not-for-profits file with the Internal Revenue Service: IRS Form 990. Many not-for-profits have websites and might put 990 forms there. Canada's Customs and Revenue Agency form T3010 (filed annually) provides similar information about that country's registered charities. So does the United Kingdom's Charity Commission, as does Companies House for charities set up as Limited Companies.

Can I request a grant or donation from IBM for the school or organization where I volunteer?

IBM does not make donations to fundraising events such as raffles, telethons, walk-a-thons or auctions. IBM does not make cash grants, nor do we make grants in response to unsolicited requests. IBM's grant programs are strategic and based on partnerships with schools and organizations. You can find IBM's giving guidelines on the IBM grant program page.

Where can I learn more about IBM’s policies about the environment or corporate social responsibility policies?

You can find information about IBM's corporate social responsibility at ibm.com/responsibility.

How does IBM support public education and volunteering in schools?

Improving education is one of IBM's most important social commitments to the communities in which our employees and clients live and work. We demonstrate this commitment through a host of programs. A primary program has been our award-winning Reinventing Education initiative, through which IBM contributed more than $100 million in IBM expertise and technology to school systems around the world. IBM also supports public education through the IBM KidSmart Early Learning program, TryScience, Reading Companion, and IBM MentorPlace, plus other initiatives related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). IBM supports its volunteers' commitments to schools with programs such as Community Grants, awarding grants to eligible schools or not-for-profits where IBMers volunteer.

Questions about specific kits

Why is it important not to present myself as an expert on Internet safety for kids?

While you may know a great deal about Internet safety for kids, it is important that volunteers do not present themselves as experts—or the sole source of information—on this sensitive topic. This is an evolving field, with issues continuing to emerge. Your goal as a volunteer should be to raise awareness and point to other expert resources for additional information. You do not want anyone to rely solely on the information you provide.

Should I present the information in the Internet Safety Coaching kit or Cyber-bullying kit directly to children?

We do not recommend that you present this content to children. These resources are designed to raise awareness among adult audiences (teachers, school administrators, parents, and other community members) about this critical subject, so that they can take the information you provide and apply it to their interactions with young people who are under their supervision or guidance. While you may know a great deal about Internet safety or cyber-bullying, it is important that you do not present yourself as an expert on this sensitive subject. Although parents, teachers and other adults will understand that you are not the sole source of information on Internet safety, young people are more impressionable and may see your presentation as the only information on this topic, rather than seeking additional information and assistance. The Control Your Online Identity kit is designed to be presented to teens.

For the Disaster Volunteering kit, how do I find a local organization that manages disaster response? Where do I get information about my community?

Contact your town or city government and ask which office or department is responsible for civic protection. Search the Internet for a disaster response agency, such as the American Red Cross or your country's Red Cross/Red Crescent society. Contact the police or fire department to ask.

What are possible audiences for the presentation on disaster preparedness and volunteering?

Consider any community group that brings people together. Examples might include an association of local business owners, a parents' group sponsored by a local school, a neighborhood association, a faith-based group, or a monthly educational gathering of senior citizens.

What kinds of donations does IBM make after a disaster?

IBM often responds to requests from local governments and NGOs for technology and services to assist after a disaster. IBM will determine the right level of support in coordination with local teams and agencies. IBM rarely makes donations of cash, unless as part of a larger grant that has technology and services as the centerpiece. Grants are made to NGOs or government partners with which IBM has established relationships. IBM never makes donations to individuals, but only to community organizations, NGOs, or government partners.

Stories of service

stories of service

Read about IBMers whose volunteer efforts are improving communities worldwide.

IBM retirees

IBM retirees can find volunteer opportunities and qualify for Community Grants by joining On Demand Community via ibm.com.