Managing Volunteers In Your Organization
Like most nonprofit organization, the majority of your workforce consists of both short term and long term volunteers. These volunteers are devoting their time and energy whether it be for a short time or on a regular basis, they are helping the community through your organization. Although these people are offering their services and help without receiving or expecting reimbursement, they still require management to assure that their jobs are done correctly. Furthermore, it is necessary that your institute manages its volunteers to reduce the risk of harm to the community members you are attempting to serve as well as the volunteers themselves.
Here are three types of liabilities that may affect your organization:
- Direct Liability: The organization or volunteer is liable for an action or failing to act, such as not properly screening volunteers who will work with children or providing volunteers with unsafe tools such as a ladder while doing repair work.
- Indirect Liability: The nonprofit is liable for the actions of a volunteer on the organization’s behalf. For example if volunteers damage city property while working for an organization in a park or medical bills accumulate by a community member after an injury while supervised by a volunteer at an organization-sponsored event.
- Strict Liability: The need to decide carelessness is not necessary because accountability for inflicting harm is automatic.
Similar to for profits, nonprofit must develop a training program for its volunteers. The program should depend specifically on the position the volunteer holds, the knowledge and understanding he/she brings to the role, the needs of the community members he/she is serving, and the policies in place by your organization.
While in the training program, volunteers should be given a safety handbook outlining your organization’s policies and should sign a waiver.
After volunteers complete the training program, your staff members should continue to supervise and manage them. Assure that your staff members feel contented delegating responsibilities to the volunteers and correcting them if they make mistakes. Most importantly if a volunteer is acting inappropriately, advise the staff members to dismiss the volunteer before he/she inflicts harm onto another person or him/herself.
On another note, provide motivation to your volunteers to work hard for the community. Encourage them and praise them for giving it their all. In addition, provide them with a t-shirt, hat or poster as gratitude for their hard work.
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