Does Your Organization Have a Volunteer Manual?

Enscoe Long Insurance Group, LLCPart 2 of 2 by guest author Todd Whiteman, Vice President Property Casualty / Nonprofit Insurance Specialist at Enscoe Long Insurance Group, LLC. Read Part 1: Are You Protecting Your Volunteers and Your Organization?

Does Your Organization Have a Volunteer Manual?

In the prior article we looked at various ways to protect both your organization and your volunteers from liability and bodily injury. With this article, we will focus on one very important aspect of risk management with regards to volunteer activities:  the volunteer manual.

A clearly thought out, well-written volunteer manual can help protect the organization, its members, participants and volunteers.

The Volunteer Manual

The purpose of a volunteer manual is to lay out the rules and regulations volunteers should follow. It serves two main purposes:

  1. Protect the organization by having its policies and procedures in writing and agreed to by the volunteer.
  2. Provide the volunteer with clear guidelines and agency procedures to follow when acting on your behalf.

Every organization will have their own specific requirements based on their activities such as working with youth or elderly, working in outdoor environments or possibly traveling to and from multi day events. With that in mind here is a list of items that should be included in any volunteer manual.

  • Welcome message, organization background, mission and contact information
  • Organizational chart including board, staff and committees and their authority, responsibility and reporting procedure
  • Program specific information including participants and desired outcomes
  • Overview of volunteer orientation including expectations and attributes of a good volunteer along with personal boundaries and guidelines for conduct and behavior
  • Description of pertinent safety procedures and emergency plans
  • Prohibited conduct including Discrimination, Harassment and Drug/Alcohol usage
  • Explanation of the organizations background check procedure
  • Fleet Safety Policy, MVR procedure and insurance requirements (based on operations)
  • Sexual Abuse / Molestation policy (based on operations)
  • Liability Waiver (if utilized)
  • Volunteer Expense Reimbursement
  • Acknowledgment with sign off of receipt of the Volunteer Handbook

A well-written Employee Manual along with proper training and management will help to protect the organization, its participants and its volunteers. At the same time, it provides an outline for what is expected and what is not permitted, and ensures that all involved have the same understanding. Roles are identified and policies and procedures are understood making for a safe and pleasant environment for the volunteer.