As you know, there is a new volunteering section on linked in now. I have never physically worked for a non-profit organization, but often I have made monetary donations for causes (e.g. the earthquake in Nepal) to certain non-profits for charity works. It is really not an experience so to say, but it does show that I care about certain causes, even though I could not physically help them. Will this count at all as a volunteering experience on linkedin? Can I mention this on linked in?

Also, I am on couchsurfing and I volunteered to host people (tourists) at my place. Will this count as a volunteering experience too? Can I mention this as an experience on linkedin?

I'm sorry, but I didn't mean to show off above :) But it seems showing off that private side of yours on your résumé helps!

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    Of your two examples, I couldn't see either qualifying. Paying someone else to do something doesn't really constitute volunteering, and I can't see the altruistic value to an employer of having strange people in your house. Of course, you mileage may vary :)
    – Jane S
    Nov 2, 2015 at 0:09
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    I've retitled your question to more closely match what you wanted to ask. Consider editing it again if you can refine it further.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 2, 2015 at 0:17
  • Donations != volunteer work (volunteering just means working for free, technically it doesn't even have to be for a cause)
    – EpicKip
    Mar 9, 2018 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


Can I mention donations as volunteering experience?

No, you can't because you didn't actually do anything. Volunteering experience is often a separate section on resumes because the nature of the work differs. While volunteer experience is valuable because it can show dedication and commitment through putting in actual effort, volunteers aren't held to the same standard as normal employees. They aren't as accountable for their work, don't have the same responsibilities when it comes to showing up or managing their time.

In short, you don't have an experience working as a volunteer so you can't mention anything on LinkedIn or your resume. This section is not to show off your preferred charities or your generous spirit. Most hiring managers won't look at volunteer work as a way to judge your character. It's mostly a way to build work experience for people who don't yet have any (usually students) or a way to mitigate idle gaps in your history for those who can't find work.

As for that CouchSurfing thing, that's not in any way related to volunteer or charity work.

  • "volunteers aren't held to the same standard as normal employees. They aren't as accountable for their work" - this isn't true in my locale (Australia) and likely many others. Most not-for-profits (in Australia at least) send Volunteers through the HR process and DO terminate volunteers on the same standard.
    – Michael A
    Nov 2, 2015 at 0:13
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    @Codingo Full-time employees have to be in the office 5 days a week for 8 hours a day. They can't be late. They can't have a bad day. They can't cancel a work day. If their work is below standard they're put on notice or fired. Every volunteer is held to a standard and will be asked not to return (i.e. "fired") if he screws up, but they aren't held nearly as accountable. That difference is crucial when hiring: someone might be a great volunteer but a terrible employee.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 2, 2015 at 0:16
  • That depends heavily on the type of volunteer work. A lot of it involves just as much responsibility and obligation as a paid position.
    – Erik
    Nov 2, 2015 at 9:58
  • @Erik Anything approaching the level of responsibility and obligation of a paid position is more likely to qualify as an unpaid internship. In fact, in many countries it would actually be illegal to classify such people as volunteers since they'd be de facto employees and the company would be in breach of minimum wage laws (the right to minimum wage normally cannot be waived even by the volunteer).
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 2, 2015 at 10:05

Your resume (and your LinkedIn profile) should be designed to give employers reasons to hire you. Donating to earthquake relief and hosting tourists are fine things to do but it's not going to cause anyone to want to hire you so it's not something that you should list.

You list volunteer experience on your resume when it is substantial enough to let you develop skills that potential employers want. If you're trying to transition into a development role so you build a mobile app for the local soup kitchen, that's something that you'd want to list. If you developed leadership skills by overseeing a team distributing hurricane relief, that's something that you'd want to list. Sending in cash is admirable but it doesn't develop any skills.


I disagree with the people on this post. I believe if the donation is relevant to the field you work in and are looking to get a job, it is relevant volunteer/other experience. Example: I work in Higher Ed and donate monthly to a residence life organization. Employers want to see what makes you the best candidate for the job, and if you are giving back to the field, that is something that can make you stand out. Hopefully you have experience being published or presenting to go with your donations, but it does show you care about the field you work in.

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