Tickets for Employee LUV

Tickets for Employee LUV

Today Southwest Airlines announced a new employee volunteer program- Tickets for Time (T4T). T4T puts a unique twist on corporate volunteering programs.  Rather than simply match donations, Southwest is offering their employees the opportunity to “earn” tickets for nonprofit organizations of their choosing.  For every 40 hours an employee volunteers, the benefitting nonprofit organization receives one free roundtrip ticket that can be used for fund-raising or transportation needs.  Each nonprofit can receive up to 6 tickets each year!

This program is interesting for a few reasons:

  1. T4T encourages employees to actually engage with nonprofit organizations through hands-on volunteering activities
  2. The incentive for volunteering is to pay the reward forward…to the nonprofit (compared to say “volunteer 40 hours and earn a ticket for yourself”)
  3. The program aligns with Southwest’s mission to provide their employees “a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

This is not Southwest’s first step into corporate volunteering programs.  The airline maintains the Share the Spirit program that encourages employees to embrace local charities and nonprofits.  In 2008 20,490 volunteer hours were reported.

Interestingly, Southwest also announced last month its 37th consecutive year of profitability.  Despite facing an extremely touch economic environment, Southwest has managed to stay focused on running a profitable and socially responsiblebusiness.  Maybe others in the airline industry (and beyond) can take a page from the Southwest playbook…


Courtney Zegarski is an experienced research and communications professional with a passion for corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. Courtney holds a B.A. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis and a M.B.A in Leadership & Business Ethics from DePaul, and writes extensively for the Social Endeavors Blog.