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Risk and Liability in Volunteer Programs; Legal Issues

Books on this topic

Articles and book excerpts on this topic

Free electronic books on this subject

Managing Maine Volunteers (from a Legal Perspective), a 24-pg. PDF prepared by the Maine Commission on Community Serivce (2011), but containing a summary of legal issues relevant to any volunteer-involving organization in any state.

Running the Risk? Risk Management Tool for Volunteer-Involving Organisations - Volunteering Australia has produced this free 52-page guide (2003) to assessing and managing risks for volunteer programs. 

Volunteers and the Law - Written for volunteers, staff and board members to learn about how the law applies to volunteer activities and the work they do. By the People's Law School in British Columbia, Canada (2001).

Web sites with useful articles on this topic

Adler & Colvin (formerly Silk, Alder & Colvin)
Click to the "Resources" area of this law firm's Web site and you'll see a number of excellent articles on ethics, what corporate scandals may mean to nonprofits, and other legal issues for boards of directors.

Legal Aspects of Volunteering (UK)
This is one section of the Web site of Sandy Adirondack, trainer/consultant on legal issues and governance in the UK, updating material in the Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook.

Negotiating the Legal Maze to Volunteer Service
A 1998 "community service brief" from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

Pandora's Box
All about preventing child sexual abuse, with a complete section on US national fingerprint check legislation and resources.

The Three Top Reasons Volunteers Get Sued
Details (and PowerPoint slides) of Sandra Pfau Englund's conference presentation on legal issues related to volunteers, on the Web site.

Volunteer Legal Handbook
Legal handbook for nonprofit corporation volunteers. Offers examples of "awful situations" and how to prevent them, with advice on volunteer screening, evaluation, training and insurance.

Volunteer Risk Management Tutorial
Tutorial offered by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. This online tool explains how to control risks in a volunteer program to protect the agency, the volunteers, and the clients.

Volunteers Insurance Service
Most established American insurance program for volunteers.  Site includes online version of their printed newsletter, VIS® Connections, at

Relevant Hot Topic essays


For information on this topic specifically relating to the Australasian region please visit our friends at OzVPM : and


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