Setting up a volunteer agreement
Some venues or events put in place a volunteer agreement. This can simply mean that a volunteer signs up to a code of conduct, with the venue agreeing to support them in return. This can provide a useful document to protect the venue against poor practice and is a yardstick for measuring volunteer performance.
This agreement may be too formal for some venues, so you may prefer to publish a set of behaviour guidelines that you distribute to all volunteers.
Volunteer agreements should be signed in ink by both the volunteer and a representative of the venue, such as the volunteer co-ordinator, venue manager or chairperson. A copy should be retained by both the volunteer and the venue.
It is important to be careful with how you engage volunteers to try to ensure that they are not deemed to be workers or employees. This is important because there are legal and tax obligations which would be placed on you if they are deemed to be workers or employees and the individuals would acquire legal rights which they would not have if they were deemed to be volunteers.
Some of the important points to consider are below:
- Only make payments for actual out of pocket expenses and minimise benefits which are not necessary for the performance of the role.
- There should be no obligation on you to provide work or for the volunteer to accept the work.
- Ensure there is a distinction between your volunteers and your employees.
- If you have regular volunteers then try to document that you have asked them regularly whether they are available and that they are not obliged to accept.
Here you can access a template volunteer agreement, that you can tailor for your own purposes.