Legal Issues

Specifically legal issues relevant to volunteer engagement.

Barriers to Preventing Abuse, John Patterson with Charles Tremper and Pam Rypkema, Nonprofit Risk Management Center.
Does Liability for Negligent Hiring Apply to Volunteers?, John C. Patterson, Staff Screening Tool Kit, pp. 13-14
Department for Communities, Government of Western Australia (revised). The guidelines focus on direct involvement of volunteers or volunteer groups in contributing to the work of public sector agencies. , 2010, pp. 28
Prepared by the Maine Commission on Community Serivce, but containing a summary of legal issues relevant to any volunteer-involving organization in any state. , 2011, pp. 24
Volunteering Australia has produced this free guide to assessing and managing risks for volunteer programs. , 2003, pp. 52

When newspapers in England reported of serious breaches of trust between volunteers and their organisations in 2009, Volunteering England was prompted to set up the Volunteer Rights Inquiry to begin to understand the nature and scope of the problems experienced by volunteers and identify suitable remedies. This Interim Report goes into detail about the findings of the intensive set of hearings held.  In 2014, a Final report of the Call to Action Progress Group following the Volunteer Rights Inquiry was produced by NCVO.

, 2010, pp. 32

Written in 2005 by Mark Restall for Volunteering England, this is "a readable overview of legal issues for volunteer managers and anyone who works with volunteers." It was written to cover the law as it applies to England and Wales, and cites actual cases from those courts. But the issues are applicable to many countries and the principles are universal. 

, 2005, pp. 63
Adler & Colvin (formerly Silk, Alder & Colvin)

The "resources" area of this law firm's Web site offers a number of excellent articles on legal issues for nonprofit 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.

Nonprofit Issues

Nonprofit Issues® is a national Web newsletter of "Nonprofit Law You Need To Know." Written for nonprofit executives and their advisors, lawyer Donald Kramer provides clear, concise and comprehensive coverage of real issues that affect nonprofits every day. While there is a fee for subscribing to the full publication or participating in webinars, sign up for the free weekly e-mailed "Question and Answer" where Don Kramer responds to readers' questions on topics of general interest, often volunteer-related.

Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Major source of information and publications on all aspects of risk and liability for nonprofit organizations in the U.S. (much is relevant in other countries, too).  Volunteer risk management is one of their featured areas:

Verified Volunteers

Free information center on how to screen volunteer applicants, with reports, white papers, case studies, and how-to checklists for volunteer resources managers, provided by Verified Volunteers, a company that provides background screening services to organizations. Also have a blog.

VIS® Connections

Free quarterly risk-management publication for the organizations participating in the CIMA Volunteers Insurance program, but available for anyone. Archives online.

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.

Volunteers Insurance Service

Most established American insurance program for volunteers. Site includes online version of their printed newsletter, VIS® Connections, and various articles on risk management.

Print and e-Books in Our Store

Book cover

Demystifies risk management and sets out in plain language what every volunteer program needs to know about this sometimes scary, always critical subject.

From the Top Down UK edition book cover

UK Edition of the best-selling book that identifies the critical link between the actions of an organisation’s senior management and the overall success of volunteer engagement.