3 Best Practices for Improving Nonprofit Volunteer Management


In the nonprofit sector, resources are often limited. For this reason, the role that volunteers play in nonprofit organizations is crucial.


The fact is, volunteers bring a wealth of skills, passion and diversity that can significantly enhance the good work that organizations do in driving change and making a difference. However, not having the right nonprofit volunteer management practices in place can lead to costly claim situations. 


Here, we’ll look at three ways organizations can improve their nonprofit volunteer management best practices to get the most out of their unpaid staff, keep them happy (so they stick around for the long haul), and avoid potential claim situations.


1. Create a volunteer handbook
A handbook should have clear policies and procedures that set expectations for volunteers. It should serve as a guide to help unpaid staff better understand their roles and duties, and the rules of the organization to ensure compliance.


A handbook should also include information regarding the organization’s insurance policies and whether volunteers need to secure personal insurance coverage for the activities that they will be engaged in. 


2. Provide training and guidance
Volunteers should receive similar training to what is provided for a paid employee performing the same duties. Key areas to focus on should include:


·         Training a volunteer on their specific role and responsibilities

·         Safety measures to help prevent accidents and injuries

·         Proper conduct – which covers appropriate behavior to help prevent harm resulting from negligence or reckless conduct


3. Thoroughly vet all potential volunteers
This involves developing criteria that can be used as a guide in vetting volunteers. Criteria should include assessing the risk of a volunteer by:


·         Doing state and county background checks

·         Checking the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website

·         Checking maiden names in the National Crime Information Center

·         Requiring at least three personal references

·         Completing an address history check

·         Verifying certifications for positions that require a specialized certification/training


Lastly, it is important to note that the federal government and many states have enacted legislation designed to protect volunteers – not the organization – from certain types of liability, such as from honest mistakes or ordinary negligence.


This legislation is meant to help prevent volunteers from becoming involved in litigation lawsuits. That being said, it is important for nonprofits to understand the limits that their state places on volunteer liability, to ensure their volunteers are adequately protected and the organization has appropriate insurance coverage in the event of a liability claim.


A well-managed nonprofit volunteer management program takes time to establish. However, the extra effort on the front end not only helps mitigate risks, but also enhances the effectiveness of the organization.


About Charity First

Charity First is committed to providing our retail partners across the country with best-in-class underwriting, consistent and responsive service, and risk management services that include Directors & Officers liability insurance and accident insurance for volunteers and participants.


To learn more, please contact us at 800-352-2761 or marketing@charityfirst.com.


Looking for nonprofit insurance coverage? Reach out to Maureen Dyson, Area Executive Vice President, at maureen_dyson@charityfirst.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.