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Reducing Risk with Advanced Volunteer Liability Waivers

Stop and think of the many different activities your volunteers do each day. Now, think about the risk associated with these activities. A Habitat affiliate, for example, may have volunteers operating saws, applying roofing shingles, putting up drywall, or transporting materials. A food bank may use volunteers to deliver meals, stack heavy boxes, operate forklifts, or assist with door-to-door collection campaigns.

The risk of injury, general liability, or even Nonprofit Risk Managementdeath can vary greatly based on the activity and the nature of the nonprofit’s mission. Is your nonprofit exposing itself to unnecessary liability because of its current liability waiver collection process?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the previous question (or you’re not totally sure), VolunteerHub is excited to unveil its newest feature: advanced liability waivers.

What is a Volunteer Liability Waiver?

Note: If your organization is already using liability waivers, you might want to skip to the next section of this article.

In a nutshell, a volunteer liability waiver (sometimes also called a “volunteer release form”) is a document that volunteers are required to sign before they are allowed to participate in your activities. The actual language in the document can vary significantly, based on your organization’s mission. However, waivers typically require the volunteer to hold the nonprofit harmless in the event of an accident or other event. They also help specify the scope of the volunteer’s relationship with your organization. In the event of an unforeseen accident, the document serves as a guide for both parties.

A quick Google search will turn up dozens of volunteer liability form templates and resources. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center website offers a free template, which may be helpful to organizations that are researching this subject. However, before you use any such waiver form, proper legal counsel should be sought.

Why Should I Use VolunteerHub’s Advanced Liability Waivers?

To answer this question, let’s look at three specific scenarios.

Scenario 1: Managing Multiple, Job or Date-Specific Liability Forms

As we alluded to in the first paragraph, it may not make sense for your organization to have a single waiver form for all volunteers. In fact, many of our customers have several forms. We find this to be especially true for high-risk volunteer activity. Let’s face it – stuffing envelopes is usually less risky than operating a band saw. Not surprisingly, some nonprofits customize their release forms to address the specifics of the job being performed.

Nonprofits may also need to set an expiration date for waivers. For example, some nonprofits have their waivers updated annually by their legal departments. In this case, it would make sense to set an expiration date prior to the review date, ensuring all volunteers have accepted the latest version of the release.

VolunteerHub can easily accommodate both of these requirements, thanks to the advanced liability waivers feature. Here’s how it works:

Select Your Waiver & Expiration Date

When creating a new volunteer opportunity, administrators can select from the waiver gallery or create a new waiver.

New Volunteer Waiver

If creating a new waiver, you can easily set an expiration date.

Expiring Liability Waivers

Volunteers are Prompted to Accept the Waiver When Signing Up

When registering for the event, volunteers are prompted to accept the waiver electronically by checking a box.

Waiver Opt-In

Scenario 2: Ensuring Proper Parental Consent for Minors

If you rely on volunteers who are minors, it’s obviously important to make sure parental consent has been received. However, simply relying on a file folder of handwritten approvals is neither efficient nor effective. If the files were lost or destroyed, what would be your backup plan to prove parental consent had been provided?

VolunteerHub solves these problems by allowing you to set up special waivers for minors. Now when you create an event, you get the option to set a minor or adult waiver. Minors are prompted to print the waiver and get proper parental approval. The system automatically prohibits check-in until the guardian waiver form has been submitted. Here’s an overview:

Offline Approval for Minors

When registering for an event, minors are prompted to print the liability waiver form. In the event the minor is unable to print the waiver, VolunteerHub also emails the user a link to the waiver. He or she can print it when convenient prior to the event.

Print Minor Liability Waiver

On the day of the event, administrators are prompted to confirm the minor brought his or her waiver (signed by a parent or guardian). If the minor fails to bring the signed waiver, he or she will be restricted from volunteering.

Minor Volunteer Waiver Opt In

Scenario 3: Streamlining Registration & Onsite Check-in

Once your volunteers have accepted a waiver, VolunteerHub automatically keeps record of it in the “signed waivers archive”. When repeat volunteers return to help, the system checks the archive and bypasses the waiver acceptance process. This keeps your volunteers from having to jump through unnecessary hoops.

This feature also helps streamline the onsite check-in process, particularly with processing walk-up volunteers. From the administrator’s tablet, smartphone, or laptop, he or she can review the volunteer’s waiver history with a few clicks. No more calling the main office and digging through file folders!

Liability Waivers

How to Get Advanced Liability Waivers

With VolunteerHub’s Pro (or Enterprise) package, your organization can gain access to advanced liability waivers. Existing customers can upgrade their plans at any time.

Contact us today to begin using advanced liability waivers.

Headshot of Krista Balbach

About Krista Balbach

Krista Balbach is a communications manager at VolunteerHub and has worked in the nonprofit sector in various marketing and communication roles.

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