WASHINGTON — A young woman paced herself as she ran around her neighborhood, her breath visible as the brisk morning air cycled through her lungs, the wind blowing her hair back, and her cheeks stinging from the elements. She dodged people walking their dogs, trash cans left out for pickup, and finally reached a pausing point where she took out her phone.
Dressed in civilian workout attire, she performed a pushup challenge on camera, and then explained to her social media audience how the pushups were intended to raise awareness for veteran suicide prevention and honor fallen veterans.
In this scenario, no one could tell she had taken an oath and wore a military uniform to work.
Some service members have participated in similar activities while in uniform or at their workstations. While they are allowed to participate, it shouldn’t be done while representing the armed forces.
Military members interested in supporting nonprofit organizations and fundraising causes may do so if they follow established guidelines, such as Air Force Instruction 36-3101, “Fundraising within the Air Force” and Department of Defense Regulation 5500.07-R, “Joint Ethics Regulation.”
Basic considerations to keep in mind when supporting nonprofits:
• Fundraising cannot be done during duty hours, although lunch hours are permissible.
• No form of endorsement is allowed while in uniform.
• Fundraising by private organizations and unofficial activities can generally not occur during the Combined Federal Campaign or Air Force Assistance Fund.
• No fundraising is allowed in the workplace.
The rules are similar for voting, supporting a political party or campaign, or a religious event or cause.
Ready to continue her run, the woman saw several people had liked her post, not because she was military but because they believed in the cause.