Volunteerism: Identifying Your Risks
Before you can implement policies and procedures to limit risks it is necessary to first gain a broad perspective of the risks that affect your municipality. There are specific types of risks that arise when it comes to volunteers.
Although there are clear benefits to having volunteers, the associated risks and liabilities of utilizing their services in recreational programs, firefighting, emergency response and other programs are sometimes overlooked.
Your municipality has an obligation to foster awareness of the various risks that may put your most vital assets in peril. Generally, non-profit assets fall into the following categories:
● People: Council members, volunteers, employees, financial supporters, the public
● Property: Buildings, facilities, equipment materials
● Goodwill: Reputation, stature in the community, and the ability to raise funds and appeal to prospective volunteers.
Some of the most common risks associated with utilizing volunteers within your municipality are described below:
● Injuries and accidents are the basis of the largest number of lawsuits.
Inadequate Volunteer Screening
● Sometimes legal action is taken because municipalities fail to establish policies such as screening and background checks for volunteers who are working with children.
● Every municipality is vulnerable to fraud. Theft or misappropriation of funds can have severe consequences.
Damage to Property
● Many groups own automobiles, mobile equipment (cellular phones, two-way radios, and tools), boats, and lawn or maintenance equipment that may be operated by volunteers.