American Sociological Association

SAN Policies and Expectations



SAN is a network of volunteers who are willing to give of their time and expertise on a pro bono basis. The American Sociological Association will not provide any funding to either the volunteer or their host organization. All costs associated with the work in question must be paid for by the volunteer and/or the host organization.

Use of personal information

The only personal information we request is that which we need to make appropriate matches of volunteers and organizations. This information will be entered by applicants into a database that is not accessible by the public. Information will only be provided to third parties (e.g., Advisory Board members, relevant experts) for the purposes of facilitating partnerships and if we are legally required to do so. We will not provide personal information of volunteers to potential host organizations without the prior consent of the volunteer.  De-identified data may be used for evaluation and research purposes. 

Ethics and conflicts of interest

Volunteers should understand that they bear a responsibility to the not-for-profit organization for which they work and the ethics rules guiding that organization and the Code of Ethics of the American Sociological Association. It is important that volunteers adhere to this principle and avoid any conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Volunteers who wish to accept speaking engagements or publish materials based on their work as part of SAN must receive prior permission from their host organization and comply with the non-disclosure, confidentiality, and other policies of that organization, unless otherwise stated by the host organization.

General Expectations for Volunteers

SAN provides volunteers with an opportunity to contribute to local communities and the common good through the application of their sociological knowledge and skills. It is also a valuable opportunity for volunteers to make the public more aware of the specific tools, expertise, and other resources that sociologists can offer. Toward those ends, volunteers are expected to:

Throughout the project:

  • Ensure their SAN database profile is up-to-date, including changes to contact information.

During the project:

  • Meet or communicate with relevant staff of the host organization about your project in a responsive and timely manner;

  • Abide by all relevant policies of the host organization, including those relating to confidentiality, non-disclosure, and copyright;
  • Complete all agreed tasks in a timely and professional manner;
  • Serve the duration of the volunteer position as agreed with the host organization. If for any reason the volunteer cannot or chooses not to continue in the project, immediately inform both the host organization and the ASA staff liaison.

Following completion of project:

  • Submit completed evaluation form to the SAN Advisory Board through the ASA staff liaison;
  • Respond to requests for input and feedback in the long-term evaluation of SAN;
  • Help share information about SAN among colleagues, within your institution and community.

General Expectations for Host Organizations 

SAN provides an opportunity for not-for-profit organizations to benefit from the skills and expertise of a Ph.D.-level sociologist. It is also a valuable opportunity to provide to the volunteer a better understanding of the work of the organization through access to organization publications, interactions with staff, and attendance at meetings. Towards those ends, host organizations are expected to:

Before the volunteer begins work on the project, provide the volunteer with:

  • Relevant materials and web-based resources about the organization and its programs;
  • Details of the volunteer’s task(s) or project(s);
  • Information regarding any restrictions or limitations on the volunteer’s ability to publish on or speak publicly about their work with your organization.

During the project:

  • Provide constructive feedback on performance and products;
  • Serve as a reference or write letters of recommendation, if appropriate.
  • Practice ongoing and timely communication with the volunteer. 

For on-site projects, hosts will:

  • Provide an orientation about the organization;
  • Introduce or direct the volunteer to all relevant organization staff;
  • Encourage the volunteer to attend meetings of the organization, as appropriate;
  • Locate and outfit a work space, if needed;
  • Schedule any necessary training or briefings;
  • Obtain necessary identification cards and building passes;
  • Clarify/arrange any necessary support/resources: clerical, budget access, technical authorization, etc.;
  • Provide information regarding office culture – work schedule, communication, dress code, etc.;
  • Provide copies of any relevant office policies, including those relating to confidentiality, non-disclosure, and copyright.

Following the completion of the project:

  • Submit completed evaluation of the hosting experience to the SAN Advisory Board through the ASA staff liaison;
  • Respond to requests for input and feedback in the long-term evaluation of SAN;
  • Help share information about SAN among potentially interested colleagues and not-for-profit organizations.

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