What is a Volunteer Agreement?
A Volunteer Agreement sets out the non-contractual arrangement between an organisation and a volunteer. Volunteer Agreements set out details about how an individual will undertake unpaid voluntary work for the organisation.
When should I use a Volunteer Agreement?
Use this Volunteer Agreement:
to take on a volunteer
if you’re running an organisation, for example, a business or a charity
to provide a description of the volunteering arrangement
for volunteers based in England, Wales or Scotland
Re: Your volunteering role with
This letter provides a description of the volunteering arrangement between us, , and you.
Volunteers are an important part of our organisation and we appreciate you volunteering with us. To make your volunteering experience as rewarding and positive as possible, this agreement sets out our commitment to you, what we hope you can contribute and what you can reasonably expect from your volunteering role.
Your volunteering role is. The purpose of your role is to benefit us by .
We accept your voluntary services from and you do not have set working hours, nor do you have minimum volunteer time. However, to maximise the benefits for you and us, we hope that you are able to volunteer for at least hours per week with us.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to volunteer at a time when you are expected or you want to stop volunteering with us, please give as much notice as possible.
We expect that you perform your volunteering role to the best of your abilities and that you comply with any applicable policies and procedures, including our:
Health and Safety Policy
Data Protection Policy
Copies of these policies and procedures are available from , our HR department or the Staff Handbook, where applicable.
Where necessary, you agree to criminal record and immigration checks, which must be passed before you begin volunteering with us.
You can expect us to deal with you equally and fairly.
Induction and Training
We will provide you with:
an induction about the organisation, our staff and your volunteering role; and
any training that we deem necessary for your volunteering as well as to ensure your health and safety.
In our training, we will set out the standards we expect from volunteers. Throughout your time volunteering with us, we will encourage and support you to achieve and maintain these standards.
While volunteering with us, your main point of contact is . If you have any questions about your volunteering or require additional training or support, speak to or our HR department.
While volunteering with us, your main point of contact is . You will have regular meetings with to discuss your volunteering and any problems or concerns you may have.
Pay and Expenses
Your volunteering role with us is purely voluntary and, as a result, you will not receive payment for your time.
We will reimburse you for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with your volunteering role with us.
Neither party intends any employment relationship to be created either now or at any time in the future.
While you are volunteering with us, we will provide adequate insurance cover for you in relation to any voluntary work which we have approved and authorised.
We will process personal data and sensitive personal data ('special categories of personal data') about you in accordance with our Data Protection Policy, as well as data protection laws, meaning all applicable laws relating to the processing of personal data, including, but not limited to the UK General Data Protection Regulation.
During the course of your volunteering with us, you may have access to confidential information in relation to , including:
You must not use this information or disclose this information to any person either while you are volunteering with us or at any time afterwards.
As soon as you stop volunteering with us, or earlier if we request it, you must return to us:
all property that you have or control that belongs to us or relates to our organisation, including but not limited to all access keys, documents, laptops or mobile phones; and
delete any such property and confidential information from any electronic device which belongs to you.
This volunteer letter is binding in honour only and is not intended to be a legally binding contract. It may be cancelled at any time by either party.
I understand the contents of this letter.
About Volunteer Agreements
Learn more about making your Volunteer Agreements
How to make a Volunteer Agreement
Making your Volunteer Agreement online is simple. Just answer a few questions and Rocket Lawyer will build your document for you. When you have all the information about the volunteer role prepared in advance, creating your document is a quick and easy process.
You’ll need the following information:
The organisation and the volunteer
What are the organisation’s name and address?
Who is the organisation’s signatory (ie the person who will sign the Agreement on the organisation’s behalf)?
What are the volunteer’s name and address?
Who is the volunteer’s main point of contact within the organisation?
Will you attach a Volunteer role description or will you include a role description in your Volunteer Agreement?
How does the role benefit the organisation?
What is the preferred usual commitment (ie the amount of time the volunteer would ideally spend volunteering)?
When can the volunteer start?
Which types of confidential information might the volunteer have access to (eg client or customer information or information about finances)?
The organisation's policies and procedures
Does the organisation have an Equal opportunities policy in place?
Does the organisation have an Anti-harassment and bullying policy in place?
Does the organisation have an Anti-bribery policy in place?
Does the organisation have an Expense policy in place?
Does the organisation have any other employment policies in place that are relevant to the volunteer?
On what date is the Agreement sent to the volunteer?
Common terms in a Volunteer Agreement
Volunteer Agreements set out the details of a volunteer role. To do this, this Volunteer Agreement template includes the following terms and sections:
The parties, addresses, and date
The Agreement is structured as a letter sent by the organisation to the volunteer. As such, it starts with a traditional letter header that clearly sets out who the volunteer and the organisation are and the date of the letter.
Re: Your volunteering role with...
The letter begins by identifying the purpose of the Agreement (ie communicating details of the volunteering arrangement) and by acknowledging the importance of volunteers within the organisation.
This section provides some key details about the role. For example, a description of the role (or a reference to an attached description) and its purpose. The start date, preferred usual commitment, and key contact are also set out.
Requirements of the volunteer are also included here. These are minimal and are primarily things that the volunteer should do to help the organisation comply with the law. For example, the volunteer should comply with various policies that the organisation has in place (eg the Health and safety policy) and may be required to pass immigration and/or criminal record checks before volunteering.
Induction and training
This section gives details on how the volunteer will be taught to undertake their role. It notes that, during training, the volunteer will be taught about the organisation’s expected standards.
This section highlights the volunteer’s point of contact and notes that the volunteer will have regular meetings with this person.
Pay and expenses
This section clearly states that the volunteer will not be paid but that they may be reimbursed for certain reasonable expenses incurred by their volunteering. It also explicitly states that neither party intends that an employment relationship be formed as a result of this volunteering commitment.
In this section, the organisation commits to covering the volunteer’s volunteering activities under its insurance.
This section highlights the organisation’s commitment to handling the volunteer’s personal data (ie information about them from which they may be identified) in accordance with data protection laws.
This section identifies the types of confidential information that the volunteer may have access to while volunteering. It asks that the volunteer does not disclose this information and that they handle it in a certain way if requested and/or at the end of their volunteering (eg by deleting it).
This letter is binding in honour only…
This line clarifies the status of the Agreement: it is a letter intended to communicate information about the volunteer role and the organisation’s expectations of the volunteer. It is not a binding contractual agreement.
The Agreement ends with spaces for both parties to sign the Agreement to acknowledge that they have received and understood it. Remember that signing this document does not make it a legally binding contract.
If you want your Volunteer Agreement to include further or more detailed provisions, you can edit your document. However, if you do this, you may want a lawyer to review the document for you (or to make the changes for you) to make sure that your modified Volunteer Agreement complies with all relevant laws and will be enforceable. Use Rocket Lawyer’s Ask a lawyer service for assistance.
Legal tips for organisations
Take care not to unintentionally create an employment relationship
An employment relationship is a specifically defined type of legal relationship between an organisation and an individual who works for the organisation. A person who has an employment relationship (ie employee status) has a particular set of rights that the organisation they’re working for must uphold.
Whether or not somebody has an employment relationship with an organisation depends on a number of factors. It is not decided by explicit statements that somebody is or is not an employee, and the absence of a written Employment contract does not prevent somebody from being classified as an employee. It’s important that you don’t treat your volunteer as an employee, so that they remain truly a volunteer. For example, if you require that they must volunteer certain hours, this is a factor that could indicate an employment relationship. For more information, read Consultants, workers and employees and Working as a volunteer.
Have relevant employment policies in place
It’s important that you run a safe and respectful workplace for employees as well as volunteers. Having various employment and workplace policies in place can help you to achieve this. For example, consider making:
an Expense policy - setting out which expenses can be recovered from the organisation and the process for doing this
Understand when to seek advice from a lawyer
In some circumstances, it’s good practice to Ask a lawyer for advice to ensure that you’re complying with the law and that you are well protected from risks. You should consider asking for advice if:
you need help determining whether somebody is classified as a volunteer or an employee
this document doesn’t meet your needs
you want a bespoke employment policy drafted
the volunteer is based outside of England, Wales or Scotland
Volunteer Agreement FAQs
What is included in a Volunteer Agreement?
Why do I need a Volunteer Agreement?
A Volunteer Agreement sets out the details of a volunteer role and helps an organisation and a volunteer to understand what the role will entail. If your organisation is taking on volunteers, it’s a great idea to use Volunteer Agreements to ensure clear communication about the roles. Moreover, 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 may reasonably expect from the volunteering role
What is a volunteer role description?
A Volunteer Agreement should set out the nature and components of the volunteer role. This can either be done within the Volunteer Agreement itself or in a separate Volunteer role description document, which should be provided to the volunteer along with the Volunteer Agreement.
Is a volunteer paid?
Volunteers normally carry out unpaid work for organisations. A volunteer should not be paid for the services they provide, to avoid creating an employment relationship (ie a formal relationship between an employee and their employer that grants the employee various rights, for example, to be paid the National Minimum Wage).
Volunteers can, however, be reimbursed for any legitimate and reasonable expenses (eg for food, drink, travel, and equipment required for volunteering). Take care to have clear expense rules for volunteers. If volunteers receive any other payment, reward, or benefit (eg promises of paid work in future) as a result of their volunteering, this may result in them being classed as workers or employees. Consider creating an Expense policy, tailored to account for volunteers, to set out which expenses can be recovered and how.
For more information, read Working as a volunteer.
Should volunteers commit a set number of hours to 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 to volunteering a certain number of hours per week. This is a preferred usual commitment for the volunteer to spend volunteering. It should remain flexible.
Similarly, the volunteer should not be required to accept any volunteering work. For more information, read Working as a volunteer.
What rights do volunteers have?
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.
How can a Volunteer Agreement be ended?
To avoid creating an employment relationship, this volunteer agreement is binding in honour only. As a result, the Volunteer Agreement can be terminated (ie brought to an end) by either party without their having to give a set amount of notice.