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How to make a Volunteer agreement

Use a volunteer agreement to take on a volunteer who will undertake unpaid voluntary work for your organisation. 

Recently reviewed by Lauren Delin, Solicitor. 

This volunteer agreement was last reviewed on 16 May 2022.

Use this volunteer agreement template:

  • to take on a volunteer

  • to provide a description of the volunteering arrangement

  • for volunteers based in England, Wales or Scotland

This volunteer agreement template covers:

  • the organisation’s and volunteer’s details

  • details of the volunteer role

  • how the volunteer role benefits the organisation

  • induction and training

  • the volunteer’s main point of contact

  • insurance

  • data protection

  • confidential information

A volunteer agreement sets out the non-contractual arrangement between an organisation and a volunteer (ie an individual who is volunteering their services on an unpaid basis).

A volunteer sets out the details of the volunteer role and helps the organisation and the volunteer understand what the role will entail. Having a volunteer agreement in place helps make a volunteering experience as rewarding and positive as possible by setting out: 

  • the organisation’s commitment to the volunteer

  • what the volunteer may contribute in their role

  • what the volunteer reasonably expect from the volunteering role

The volunteer agreement should set out the nature and components of the volunteer role. This can either be done in the volunteer agreement itself, or in a separate Volunteer role description, which is provided to the volunteer together with the volunteer agreement.

Volunteers normally carry out unpaid work for organisations. To avoid creating an employment relationship, volunteers should not be paid for the services they provide. 

Volunteers can, however, be reimbursed for any legitimate and reasonable expenses (eg food, drink, travel and equipment required for volunteering). Take care to have clear expenses rules for volunteers. If volunteers receive any other payment, reward or benefit (eg promises of paid work in future)  this may result in them being classed as workers or employees. Consider creating an expenses policy to set out what expenses can be recovered and how. Ask a lawyer if you require a bespoke expenses policy.

For more information, read Working as a volunteer.

To avoid creating an employment relationship, volunteers should not have a fixed schedule of attendance or work pattern. You may however ask volunteers to commit a certain number of hours per week to volunteer. This is the preferred usual commitment for the volunteer to spend volunteering and should remain flexible. 

Similarly, the volunteer should not be required to accept any volunteering work. For more information, read Working as a volunteer.

As volunteers are not employees or workers, they do not have employment rights. However, organisations must make sure that they have relevant health and safety procedures and data protection policies in place and that volunteers are covered by these. 

Volunteers should also receive any necessary training to carry out their volunteering role, including any relevant health and safety training.

For more information, read Working as a volunteer.

You should consider having in place:

If you require a bespoke policy drafted, Ask a lawyer.

To avoid creating an employment relationship, this volunteer agreement is binding in honour only. As a result, the volunteer agreement can be brought to an end by either party without having to give a set amount of notice.

Ask a lawyer if:

  • you need help determining whether somebody is classified as a volunteer or an employee

  • this document doesn’t meet your needs

  • the volunteer is based outside of England, Wales or Scotland