My current organization has stated clearly that I should not work on any freelancing projects in the fields where the company offers their service. I agreed to that and joined the organization. At the time of joining, I also mentioned that I am a member of an NGO for last two years, not as a programmer but giving my social services there. They agreed to that and everything is working smoothly.

But recently my NGO has decided to build their site. I was called to be a part of programming team but I refused because of that condition. The NGO agreed and excluded me from the programming team. But they insisted on me being a translator and requested that I arrange for translators from other languages. I had managed to bring a team of translators. Now my NGO is planning to make me head of translation team because they felt being a programmer and translator both I can be a bridge between two teams.

Here is dilemma begins, my company is in website development business but they don't offer translation service. For the NGO website I am going to be credited for translation. Here my company is very strict on freelancing rules. But I am bit optimistic that they will allow me to be part of the NGO project which in sense not going to compete with any of their products.

They are strict in freelancing and I am sure that they are not going to allow me. If anything goes wrong, on the other side, I don't see any legal problems in doing this and am excited to be a part of the website.

What would you do if you faced this situation?

  • 1
    Most of the times its never an issue if you are not harming the company.A simple talk should resolve the matter, unless there is a problem in the office dynamic.
    – Aditya P
    Apr 9, 2011 at 13:16
  • 2
    It sounds like you've avoided talking to your company directly about it because you fear/suspect that their answer will be a resounding no. There, alone lies your answer.
    – Tim Post
    Apr 9, 2011 at 15:36
  • 1
    Are you donating your time or getting paid for it? If you are donating your time, your company may agree if their support is acknowledged by the NGO and they can use this support as evidence that they support their community.
    – Jay Elston
    Jul 14, 2011 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


Talk with your company

You need to be as transparent as possible with both the NGO and your employer. The situation sounds like it's being fair to both parties, but you need to be seen to be fair to both parties. The only real way to achieve that is to talk to them both as transparently as possible.

Obviously, you can't expose trade secrets or company or NGO development directions, but you need to make your situation clear to both.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.