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Key Questions to Address in Volunteer Risk Management

Volunteer Risk Management Strategies

There are many good reasons to manage risks that go with volunteer engagement. Obviously, we don’t want anyone to get hurt, but there are other reasons, too. Here is a simple guide to follow when nonprofit organizations are considering volunteer risk management. 

A volunteer risk management system does the following:

  •  Protects the organization’s own insurance limits, claims experience, client relations, staff and volunteer relations, and public reputation. Safe operation supports the mission.
  •  Helps attract and retain the best volunteers by demonstrating commitment to safe operation. Volunteers know they have risks.

Evaluating your current volunteer risk profile

Here are a few questions, to help you evaluate where you are now, in managing volunteer risks:

  •  Have you analyzed tasks volunteers perform from the standpoint of safety for them and those around them?
  •  Do you interview potential and current volunteers to learn what skills they do or do not have, and assign work accordingly?
  •  Have you inspected the locations where volunteers are assigned for potential hazards such as falls, fire, and poor lighting?
  •  Do you train volunteers, to ensure they can perform their tasks skillfully and safely?
  • Are supervisors accountable for making sure volunteers perform their assignments as they have been trained?
  • Do you have a specific action plan in the event a volunteer is injured, injures someone, or damages someone’s property?

These questions are taken from a more detailed VIS document, “Managing Volunteer Risks — Where Are You Now?” That document includes an 18-item checklist on how to minimize the most common risks volunteers face. It is based on the actual claims history of the VIS volunteer insurance program. If you would like a copy in PDF format, please email your request to

About VIS

Volunteers Insurance Service Association, Inc. (VIS) was established in 1972 for the purpose of providing insurance and risk management services for volunteer-based organizations. In addition to still providing these insurance services today on a nationwide scale, we have expanded to provide noninsurance resources for members to manage their risks and improve their operations. By transferring the volunteer risk exposure to our program, we can help you protect your organization. Contact us today at (800) 222-8920 for more information on our programs and services. Join now!