Effective Management of Volunteers a Key to Success for Many Nonprofits

Assurex Global report offers steps for nonprofits to stem high rates of volunteer turnover

COLUMBUS, OHIO – With volunteers often vital to their success, nonprofits need to establish a strategic framework for recruiting, screening, managing and retaining these workers. A new report from Assurex Global, the world’s largest privately held commercial insurance, risk management and employee benefits brokerage group, finds high turnover rates among voluntary workers to be a significant issue for many nonprofits.

“Generally, nonprofits see as much as a 33 percent turnover in their voluntary workforce every year,” said Sandra Thompson, an expert in non-profit organizations who helped develop the report and works directly with Assurex Global partner firm Shaw Sabey & Associates Ltd. “So, there’s an opportunity for many of these organizations to improve both recruitment and retention, starting with aligning job benefits with the perceived needs of volunteers and then following through to make sure experiences meet their expectations.”

According to the report, volunteers take on these roles for a variety of reasons, including to gain valuable work experience, satisfy emotional needs, fulfill a desire to help people, become engaged in a community project or initiative, give something back and to make a difference.

Along with understanding these needs and positioning volunteer roles accordingly, the Assurex Global report outlines a series of measures for nonprofits to implement strategic management of volunteers within their organizations. They include four key steps that are often overlooked or inadequately addressed:

  1. Creating detailed job descriptions. Include specifics, such as time requirements, phone number to call for more information, job duties, as well as next steps for getting involved and other important details.
  2. Taking time to properly screen candidates. Besides checking applicants to make sure they have the specific knowledge and technical skills required to perform the functions of the position, organizations need to screen for security. This can include conducting background checks and meeting with applicants to determine if they have appropriate “soft” skills such as appropriate demeanor, attitude, and people skills a volunteer role may require.
  3. Showing appreciation. Develop an appreciation strategy to reinforce the benefits that matter most to volunteers. This ranges from a simple thank you or hand-written note to hosting special events, such as a volunteer recognition dinner, or recognizing a “volunteer of the month” and providing small gifts at year end.
  4. Reviewing risk management and insurance. Besides screening and managing volunteers, nonprofits must understand risks associated with roles these workers perform and take appropriate risk management measures, including assessing and obtaining appropriate insurance. Volunteer directors and officers should be protected by a directors-and-officers (D&O) liability insurance policy that provides coverage levels consistent with the risks associated with the nonprofit’s services and activities. Nonprofits should also check insurance for voluntary workers who sustain job-related injuries and illnesses.

“In the U.S., state laws govern whether and how an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy addresses job-related illnesses or injuries sustained by voluntary workers,” said Steve Heinen, a risk and insurance advisor at Pritchard & Jerden, Inc., an Assurex Global partner firm. “So, nonprofits need to work with their insurance advisors to check statutes that apply to workers’ compensation in each state where they operate to determine if voluntary workers are or can be protected under their existing policies.”

He added that if such coverage isn’t available under their workers’ compensation policy, nonprofits can opt to purchase a separate voluntary accident insurance policy, which provides a limited amount of medical coverage for volunteers sustaining work-related injuries or illnesses.

According to the report, Canadian nonprofits can obtain a volunteer injury insurance policy that can provide indemnity payments to volunteers for lost wages from their salaried positions if they become injured or suffer a job-related illness while working in their voluntary roles. Any required medical treatment would be covered under that country’s national healthcare system.

For a complimentary copy of the Assurex Global report, Insider Secrets to Successful Volunteer Management, visit the Assurex Global website at: https://www.assurexglobal.com/insider-secrets-to-successful-volunteer-management/.



About Assurex Global

Assurex Global is the world’s largest privately-held commercial insurance, risk management and employee benefits brokerage group. The company operates as an exclusive partnership, supported by more than 100 of the world’s most respected and successful insurance brokers.