An Altruistic Activity

Volunteering Agreements Define Obligations

Organizations that manage teams use cutting-edge technology and processes to track volunteers. Implementing practices similar to employment, operations managers generally require the same stringent review of volunteers as employees. Volunteers come with similar risks to an organization. For these reasons, most participants sign contractual agreements, which limit an organization’s liability and offer a clear understanding of the volunteer’s assigned duties. Here are four clauses usually found in contract management software volunteer agreements.


For enforcement, an agreement must outline the considerations each party receives. For volunteers, considerations may include work experience, training, or complimentary tickets. For non-profit organizations, a volunteer’s time is the consideration offered. Creative and substantive descriptions detailing the considerations received by both parties are outlined in the agreement.


An organization should make it clear in the contract that a volunteer is not an employee. For legal reasons, the company or non-profit should detail its responsibilities with regard to the volunteer’s participation on any project. For instance, an agreement may specify that the organization is not responsible for paying any taxes. The agreement does not create an employer-employee relationship or any fiduciary relationship between the two parties. As a volunteer, the participant receives no wages, insurance, or other benefits. By definitively confirming a person’s volunteer status, the organization protects itself from future claims for wages or other requests.


Volunteers sometimes have access to proprietary processes or confidential information. To preserve the organization’s confidentiality, a company may require a volunteer to agree to protect confidential information, such as customer lists and employee data. Some fields may have legal requirements for maintaining private information and the agreement may address these requirements.


Volunteers may improve a company’s processes or invent products, which enhance the value of the business. In technology and other industries, the business must ensure that the agreement details proprietary rights, assigning 100 percent of all volunteer-derived intellectual property to the company. When all work product is an extension of existing products or processes, the volunteer holds no right to compensation, unless otherwise stipulated in the agreement.

A volunteer agreement is a valuable tool for detailing the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of both parties. For organizations, the agreement offers a level of protection for proprietary rights, intellectual property, and private data. For the volunteer, an agreement defines the relationship, ensuring that there are no misunderstandings during the volunteering time frame.

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