IU encourages all students and scholars to get involved with their community through volunteering. However, it is important to review the regulations about volunteering and employment to make sure you do not violate any laws.

Volunteering may seem simple. You may think just because you're not getting paid that you are volunteering. But, the issue is complex.

You should contact us if you have any questions about your situation. We're here to help you.

Requirements for a volunteer position

For a position to be considered volunteer, it must meet the following criteria:

  • You expect and receive no compensation.
  • You do not displace a paid employee.
  • You do not provide the same services that you used to get paid for or hope to be hired for and paid for in the future.
  • You provide services for a non-profit organization for public service or religious or humanitarian purpose.
  • You do not volunteer at a for-profit entity (some exceptions apply to unpaid internships—see below).


Volunteer examples

These types of experiences would typically be considered volunteering and would not require prior authorization.

  • Helping Habitat for Humanity build a house
  • Serving as a Big Brother or Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for area children
  • Helping at an animal shelter

Employment examples

These types of experiences would typically be considered an unpaid internship that would require authorization. Contact us to discuss your particular situation.

  • Creating a website for a company
  • Creating a promotional video for a non-profit company and receiving a gift card as a thank you
  • Offering your accounting services to a start-up company