Nonprofit employers and administrators tend to focus on implementing an effective employee handbook which outlines the employees’ policies and procedures. However, many nonprofits tend to neglect writing an effective handbook for their volunteers. Volunteers are a vital aspect of most Nonprofit organizations and there is an increase liability risk when there are no proper procedures or policies in place. Many administrators mistakenly believe that since they are not technically employees, they do not need a handbook or that it is not as important as an employee handbook. A well -crafted Volunteer handbook or guidebook will go a long way toward preventing potential lawsuits and will help volunteers understand what is expected of them.
A volunteer handbook should be clearly written and reviewed by an employment attorney or HR professional. The handbook should inform the volunteer of the goals and history of the nonprofit organization and how they -the volunteer- fit in with the organizations mission. The Volunteer Handbook should clearly outline the volunteer’s responsibilities, training requirements as well as safety policies. There should be information on which resources the volunteer can utilize, for example if they have a complaint the handbook should list the organization’s contact that will assist them. Additionally, the handbook should explain how the organization and volunteer may terminate their relationship. Finally, the volunteer should sign an acknowledgement indicating that they fully understand and have reviewed the Volunteer Guidebook.
The Volunteer Handbook should be considered as part of your organizations Risk Management plan and should be continually reviewed and updated.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice