Coordinating the efforts of a volunteer workforce can present unique challenges and risks. Nonprofits can mitigate their risk exposure with a few strategic initiatives.
Volunteers should apply for positions in a process that’s similar to applying for a job. Volunteer coordinators should conduct background checks which include all areas that would be relevant to a volunteer’s job duties.
Nonprofits need to methodically develop policies to promote a safe environment. They can consolidate policies in a volunteer handbook and give people thorough information about policies and their importance during training exercises. A senior staff member should be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with key directives.
It is imperative that organizations provide thorough training for volunteers about the work that they will be doing as well as the people who they will be helping. Training should include a special focus on safety and accident prevention. During training sessions, volunteers should have the opportunity to ask questions.
Nonprofit insurance packages need policies that specifically address liability involving volunteers. For example, coverage may need to address liability for a volunteer’s injuries.
Volunteer risk management has to be a priority in a nonprofit’s overall approach to general risk management for the organization. Strong policies and supervision help to protect both the organization and its volunteers.