The “VIS Vault”

As a member of VIS, you can access dozens of insurance and risk management resources we have developed over the years, 24/7. To help you browse easily, we have arranged everything in two categories:


Topics include insurance basics for nonprofit organizations, why volunteers should be insured separately from the organization, the features of the VIS volunteer insurance program, what to look for in a directors and officers liability policy, and more.

  1. Directors and officers liability — consider separate limits
  2. Insurance basics for nonprofit organizations
  3. Put claims in their right place
  4. The inexpensive solution to volunteer protection
  5. What to look for in a directors and officers liability policy
  6. Why to insure volunteers separately

Volunteer Management

In this section you will find a rich variety of documents, including how to assess your current risk management efforts…how to establish a formal risk management system…getting volunteers started the right way…solutions to common problems in volunteer management…our collection of “Preventer Papers” that are great for training individuals or small groups in injury prevention and vehicle safety…the basics of background screening…how to keep good volunteers…and much more.

  1. Background screening – how to decide who, what and when
  2. Checklist to minimize the most common volunteer risks
  3. Event safety basics
  4. Fundamentals of a volunteer risk management system
  5. Getting volunteers started the right way
  6. How are you doing – Measure outcomes not activity to find out
  7. How to keep volunteers from quitting – a two-act play
  8. If they see something will they say something
  9. Managing negative volunteers
  10. Mistakes in volunteer satisfaction surveys
  11. Older drivers – occupational therapists can help assess the risk
  12. Risk management best practices for volunteer-based transportation programs
  13. Sample risk management policy
  14. Three-part series on developing a risk management system
  15. To keep good volunteers minimize these risks
  16. Trust but verify – Preventing acts of dishonesty
  17. Volunteer management ground rules
  18. Volunteer risks — answers to common questions
  19. What not to say to an angry volunteer
  20. When it rains…
  21. When volunteers no longer can do the job

Preventer Papers – Injury Prevention:

  1. Avoiding common injuries
  2. Carrying
  3. Chairs aren’t ladders
  4. Cumulative trauma disorders
  5. Dangerous furniture
  6. Don’t twist and shout
  7. Fall prevention — general
  8. Falls on stairs
  9. First aid
  10. Get a grip
  11. Housekeeping and storage practices
  12. Personal protective equipment
  13. Puncture wounds
  14. Pushing and pulling
  15. Reaching
  16. Safe lifting
  17. Slips trips and falls
  18. Tripping hazards — floors and aisles

Preventer Papers – Vehicle Safety:

  1. Accident response
  2. Attitude
  3. Avoiding being struck from the rear
  4. Be patient – don’t be a patient
  5. Be prepared
  6. Being passed
  7. Cold weather driving
  8. Defensive driving
  9. Driving rules
  10. Falls from vehicles
  11. Following – avoiding UFO’s
  12. Following – be farsighted
  13. General safety
  14. Head-on collisions
  15. Intersections
  16. Passing
  17. Pretrip checklist
  18. Right-of-way
  19. School zones
  20. Seatbelts
  21. Space cushion
  22. Speed
  23. Van safety
  24. Vehicle backing
  25. What yellow means

We hope you will visit the “VIS Vault” frequently! Also, check our blog, on the home page of our Website, every month, for a new post on some aspect of volunteer risk management.

For VIS members who have volunteer drivers…

“You, the ‘Professional’ Volunteer Driver” — VIS created this online volunteer driver safety training program in cooperation with the National Volunteer Transportation Center. The course, which is housed on the Website of the Community Transportation Association of America, is free for VIS members and all of their volunteers. Topics include communication with passengers, safety of the volunteer’s vehicle, defensive driving, avoiding distractions, accident response, liability, and insurance.

The course is self-paced, and can be completed in about an hour. Each section is followed by questions, which the volunteer must answer before moving on to the next section.

Click the title above to get started.

Voluntary benefits for VIS members’ staff and volunteers

Cancer and critical illness insurance – As a VIS member, you can offer both paid staff and volunteers the opportunity to purchase insurance that fills the gaps in major medical plans. It costs you, the employer, nothing. Your staff members choosing to purchase this coverage have premiums paid by payroll deduction. Your volunteers choosing the coverage pay either directly or by automatic withdrawal from a bank account, with no involvement at all by the VIS member.

Claim payments go directly to the staff member or volunteer, who have unrestricted and immediate use. The payments are used for a variety of costs that would otherwise be out of pocket; for example, travel expenses for treatment, mortgage or bill payments, child care, and a various expenses incurred because of hospital stays.

All you need to do is let your staff and volunteers know of this benefit that you are making available to them. 

If you are interested, please contact Sarah Robertson at MWE Partnership, which administers the program for VIS. (301.633.2790; Tell Sarah you are a member of VIS. She will provide more information, answer all your questions, help you promote the program in your organization, and serve as the point of contact for your staff and volunteers who wish to purchase coverage.

Other Resources We Like

We invite you to click the logos of the organizations shown at the bottom of each page of our Website, that offer best-in-class products and services VIS members often need. In addition to those organizations, here are a few others you might find valuable… 

Council For Certification In Volunteer Administration  ( – The Council helps volunteer management professionals prepare for and achieve the Certified In Volunteer Administration certification – a mark of professional excellence. Begin by downloading the free CVA Candidate Handbook under the “Resources” tab on the Website.

VQ Strategies ( provides nonprofit organizations with needs assessment, onsite and online workshops, tools and templates for volunteer and member engagement, and on-demand learning. The eight-question “mini-quiz” on the Website can help you determine your current “Volunteer Quotient” – your ability to “leverage volunteer talent to achieve smarter impact.”

Shepherd’s Centers of America ( is a network of 55 centers offering life-enriching services to older adults. VIS contributed some of the content for the Shepherd’s Centers Volunteer Driver Program TurnKey Kit 

VolunteerPro ( offers professional-level online resources and training for volunteer coordinators. Here are a few you can access at no cost: 

Dana Litwin Consulting ( – “Priceless Advice,” including “Tuesday Tips” on volunteer management – on her Dana’s Priceless Advice YouTube channel.

Civic Champs ( helps nonprofits better recruit, engage and retain volunteers. You can subscribe free for the PowerUp Newsletter (and submit news of your own organization), and access live or recorded Webinars on a variety of volunteer management topics.

National Alliance For Volunteer Engagement ( – The Alliance grew from an initiative at the 2017 National Summit on Volunteer Engagement Leadership, in which VIS participated. The initiative was to leverage and convene existing networks, organizations and individuals to promote nationwide strategies for volunteer engagement. The Alliance offers a number of resources for volunteer management professionals and for funders. You can subscribe for frequent email updates on the organization’s work.

National Center For Mobility Management ( – The center is operated by a consortium of the American Public Transit Association, the Community Transportation Association of America and Easterseals, Inc. It provides technical assistance to facilitate partnerships between transportation agencies and nonprofit organizations that serve older adults. The center offers a newsletter, blog and online learning opportunities.

Association of Leaders In Volunteer Engagement ( – This national membership organization enhances volunteering by fostering collaboration and networking, promoting professional development, and advocating for leaders in the volunteer management profession. AL!VE is a resource for – and link for – tools, research and best practices. Click on the “Resources” tab on the AL!VE Website.

Engage ( is a quarterly subscription publication, plus online content, on volunteer trends and issues. There is a large archive section on the Website. Engage (formerly e-Volunteerism) is published by the Susan J. Ellis Foundation.

Josephson Institute of Ethics ( – The Institute, founded in 1987, offers educational resources to “improve the ethical quality of society by changing personal and organizational decision-making and behavior.”

Documents you can download here:

“The State of Volunteer Engagement: Insights From Nonprofit Leaders and Funders” — A February 2023 report from the Do Good Institute ( at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, based on a survey of 1,210 nonprofit leaders and 103 foundations and other funders of nonprofits.

“Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence” – The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits offers 11 accountability principles and 192 management practices to educate nonprofit leaders, board members and volunteers on fundamental roles and responsibilities.

“Creating Sustainability Through the Power of Volunteers” – From the National Alliance For Volunteer Engagement, seven things volunteer managers can do to create that sustainability.

“Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Guide For Nonprofit and Public Sector Leaders” – A 42-page guide published by the RGK Center For Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas.

“National Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster Points of Consensus on Volunteer Management” – This three page document addresses volunteer rights and responsibilities in nine critical areas of volunteer management. It is applicable to any volunteer-based organization.

Providers serving the nonprofit sector (VIS does not have formal relationships with any of these):

Payroll Data Processing ( – An alternative to the larger payroll processing firms. PDP offers pay-as-you-go services, time and attendance solutions, HR consulting, and more. See the “Resources” tab on the Website for links to a number of employment and tax laws and regulations.

Dharma Merchant Services ( – This credit-card processing firm offers preferred rates for nonprofit organizations, as part of its commitment to support the nonprofit community. 

CIM executive coaching ( helps leaders and teams master behaviors that produce positive outcomes and reduce behaviors that undermine effectiveness. There are free articles under “Resources,” and a blog to which you can subscribe at no cost.

Grantstation ( identifies potential funding sources for nonprofit programs and projects, and provides resources to assist in seeking grants. Resources are available a la carte or through memberships.

First Nonprofit ( – Nonprofits can self-insure, rather than pay state unemployment compensation taxes – reimbursing the state fund for actual claims while saving substantial cost. First Nonprofit provides this service, including claims administration and risk management assistance. A three-minute video on the Website explains how the process works.

Also, if your state has an association of nonprofits, it will offer a number of provider partnerships and other useful resources for members.