Each year, millions of people give generously to their local communities, whether by volunteering their time and services or by donating food, money, or clothing. In fact, GivingTuesday — the global generosity movement that encourages people to commit selfless acts on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving each year — estimates that 35 million adults participated in 2021 (up six percent from 2020), and donated time, talent, and items worth $2.7 billion.
Since donating to charity and volunteering offer many benefits — including better physical, mental, and emotional health, lowered stress, increased happiness and fulfillment, and a deeper connection to your community — it’s no surprise that GivingTuesday numbers were so high.
Charitable giving is a worthwhile investment for employers, too, since a recent survey revealed that 66 percent of respondents want the companies they work for to be charitable. People who volunteer or give to charity through their workplace often perform better in their jobs and align more strongly with the company’s mission statement, goals, and overall vision. But, it’s important to protect your business when asking employees to volunteer.
So, if you don’t offer a charity drive or volunteer program at your organization, consider learning how to write a waiver for volunteer work so you can safely implement one.
What is a volunteer waiver?
Quite simply, a volunteer waiver is a document created to absolve an organization of liability for any risk involved in carrying out volunteer work.
Intended to protect the service provider in the event of an accident, volunteer waivers set expectations among the company organizing the event, the nonprofit it’s partnering with, and its volunteers. It also confirms that the person signing it understands the risks involved with the task at hand. That’s why it’s important to know how to write a waiver for volunteer work.
What should you include in a volunteer waiver?
If you’re not sure how to write a waiver for volunteer work, you can start by learning what exactly your waiver needs to include. In addition to fields for a participant’s basic information — like name, address, date of birth, and contact information — volunteer waivers should include the following.
Acknowledgment of terms
First and foremost, the party needs to freely and formally agree to the terms of the document and acknowledge that it is for a volunteer position. It’s also wise to include the date of the service or event in the terms of agreement.
Participants should be able to indicate their role in the event — for example, are they a volunteer from your workplace or a court-ordered volunteer completing required community service? Event vendors and contractors should also submit volunteer waivers, so there should be a field for them to indicate the nature of their participation as well.
Acknowledgement of zero compensation
Each volunteer must understand that there will be no payment for their time, including monetary payment, paid time off (PTO), insurance, workers’ compensation, or any other kind of employee benefit.
Though volunteers won’t receive payment for their services, your volunteer waiver should still provide expectations for their participation. These expectations should align with the mission statements, dress codes, and best practices of both your company and the nonprofit you’re partnering with.
All volunteer waivers need to include detailed job descriptions, including physical and mental job requirements, where your volunteers will be working, what kind of work is involved, and types of populations (children, elderly people, animals) they’ll be working with.
In addition to listing job duties, volunteer waivers should advise volunteers of risks and general hazards related to the task(s) at hand. For example, you may want to include some information on the possibility of spreading or contracting COVID-19, depending on whether there will be social distancing and masking protocols in place.
Most charitable organizations will hire photographers and videographers to document functions and fundraisers, so it’s smart to include language in your volunteer waiver granting image and video rights to the organization you’re partnering with (or your own business).
Lastly, an attorney should review every volunteer waiver to ensure it adheres to local and state laws and regulations.
How to write a waiver for volunteer work using Jotform
Now that you know what to include in a volunteer waiver, you can easily create one.
Code-free online form builder Jotform can help with its extensive functionality, variety of form templates, drag-and-drop design features, and customizable widgets, including fields for terms and conditions, e-signatures, and text blocks. (If you’re looking for inspiration for your waiver form, check out the Ball Person Tryout Waiver for the 2022 Dallas Open.)
What’s more, using mobile app builder Jotform Apps, you can even build and design your own app and upload your volunteer waiver form for users to easily access it, enabling a seamless volunteer process for your next charitable event.
Volunteerism is not only good for the community, it’s also good for your bottom line, since employees who feel committed to the companies they work for dedicate more energy — 57 percent more, in fact — to their jobs than those who are disinterested in or unaligned with their organization’s values. And they’re 87 percent less likely to quit, saving you even more money and reducing employee turnover. Giving them opportunities to volunteer helps foster that important sense of connection.
By learning how to write a waiver for volunteer work, you can simultaneously protect your company, your company’s relationship with your nonprofit partners, and your employees, so everyone is on the same page when charitably contributing to your community.