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Non-profit organisations and other small businesses rely on volunteers to make their business model viable. Even though there's no money being exchanged in these relationships, it's still a good idea to establish some rules and regulations between parties. That's where a volunteer agreement comes in useful.
What's in this guide?
- What is a Volunteer Agreement?
- When should I use a Volunteer Agreement?
- Volunteer Agreement vs Internship Agreement
- What does a Volunteer Agreement include?
- How effective is a Volunteer Agreement?
- Do I need a lawyer for a Volunteer Agreement?
- Get access to customisable Volunteer Agreement templates online
- How do I write a Volunteer Agreement?
- Where to get free legal documents and templates like a Volunteer Agreement
What is a Volunteer Agreement?
A volunteer agreement sets out the foundations of a relationship between an organisation and the volunteers that work there. As well as outlining the expectations of both parties in terms of responsibilities and duties, the agreement can include a volunteer confidentiality agreement, the grounds on which the contract can be terminated and any relevant health and safety practices.
When should I use a Volunteer Agreement?
The only time you should use a volunteer agreement is when you're employing volunteers to work for your organisation. A volunteer is someone who spends time doing unpaid work for a charitable organisation or similar establishment.
Volunteer Agreement vs Internship Agreement
While a volunteer agreement and an internship agreement can contain very similar terms, organisations use them to employ different types of workers. A volunteer is someone who works for the benefit of someone else, i.e. a charity or hospital. An intern, on the other hand, may take on unpaid work in exchange for industry experience. This is usually to better their own career prospects.
What does a Volunteer Agreement include?
At the very least, a volunteer agreement should outline the commitments of both parties, including duties, responsibilities and expectations.
You might also choose to include clauses that deal with the following:
- Confidentiality clause to protect sensitive information shared with volunteers
- Termination of agreement conditions
- An indemnity clause to mitigate risk
- Reimbursements for expenses
- Health and safety information
How effective is a Volunteer Agreement?
Volunteer agreements aren't generally used as a legally binding contract. That doesn't mean they're not effective though. Establishing a contract at the beginning of a new working relationship helps both parties to understand where they stand and what the other party expects from them.
Do I need a lawyer for a Volunteer Agreement?
You shouldn't need a lawyer to draft up your agreement, especially if you use a volunteer agreement template. If you've drafted up your agreement, but you're still unsure if it contains all of the right information, it doesn't hurt to ask a professional to look over it.
Get access to customisable Volunteer Agreement templates online
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How do I write a Volunteer Agreement?
A volunteer agreement only needs to be a short document to cover the basics of a volunteer's duties. When you write a volunteer agreement, it's important to make it crystal clear that the person is not employed by the organisation and does not hold the same rights and responsibilities of those who are hired as employees.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a Volunteer Agreement
Putting together this document is even easier with the help of a volunteer agreement template. You can find these online by carrying out a quick Google search. Otherwise, you can use the websites we've scouted out below.
- Wonder Legal. You'll find more than 140 legal documents templates on Wonder Legal, all of which you can download and edit for a one-time fee. Downloading their volunteer agreement template is completely free of charge.
- Government resources. Each state has online advice for any organisations hoping to bring volunteers on board. Most also have a free template or example of the volunteering agreement.
- Lawpath. Based solely online, Lawpath is on a mission to make legal help affordable for all small businesses. If you sign up to their monthly subscription service, you'll have unlimited access to hundreds of legal templates, including a volunteer agreement.
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