As your San Diego nonprofit continues to grow, you will eventually need to recruit some volunteers to help you with your day-to-day operations. Before you bring them on board, however, you should take some of the following steps to prepare your organization for their arrival:

Create a Volunteer Handbook

For a volunteer to be truly useful to your nonprofit, they must understand how your organization works and how they are expected to contribute to it. The best way to provide them with this key information is through a volunteer handbook.

This document can detail your charity’s main goals, which tasks volunteers can complete, which jobs should be left to paid staff members, and who volunteers should speak to if they have any concerns. If you have any questions about how your handbook should be structured or how specific information should be phrased, you can always consult with a California nonprofit lawyer.

Train Your Existing Staff

Before you begin allowing volunteers onto your premises, you would be wise to spend some time training your existing staff on how best to work with the newcomers. Doing so will allow your volunteer workforce to gel more quickly with your full-time employees when they get started.

The specific training you need to provide will, of course, depend on the nature of your nonprofit and the role that your volunteers will take on. Generally speaking, however, it is usually a good idea to teach your employees how to supervise and motivate their new colleagues.

Draft a Liability Waiver

If you run a dog shelter, a disaster relief organization, or any other charity whose day-to-day operations are inherently risky, you would be wise to draft a liability waiver before welcoming volunteers into the fold. By signing such a document, a volunteer acknowledges that they are participating in a potentially dangerous activity – thus limiting your organization’s liability if an accident occurs.

Since this liability waiver may end up being the only thing standing between your charity and a sizeable compensation payout, it is vital that the document is worded correctly. Fortunately, a San Diego nonprofit attorney at Semanchik Law Group should be able to help you make sure that it is.

Update Your Insurance

As a California nonprofit, you almost certainly have an insurance policy that will protect the organization if an employee is injured or killed on the job. However, this policy may not cover any volunteers that get into accidents on the premises.

A quick call to your insurance agent should let you know if you need to update your policy to include volunteers. If your policy is lacking, you should be able to update it fairly quickly and easily. You should not allow your volunteers to begin work until your insurance concerns have been fully addressed.

FLSA Considerations

All of the above assumes the nonprofit is compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  In short, you should not use volunteers to replace paid employees, ensure the volunteer understands upfront they are not getting compensated for their work, and they should work towards public service, religious, or humanitarian objectives.

A San Diego Nonprofit Attorney You Can Count On

The team here at the Semanchik Law Group has been helping San Diego nonprofits thrive for years. If you need a California nonprofit lawyer to protect your organization from legal issues, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (619) 535-1811. We can’t wait to work with you!