When Does My Non-Profit Need a Liability Waiver?
Volunteers are the real heroes. But often they, and the people they help, end up with legal issues. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say. This doesn’t mean that you should let legal issues prevent you from making a change in the world. This piece explores potential liability issues for non-profit organizations, and how to protect your volunteers from them.
Why Do Non-Profits Need Liability Waivers?
At first glance, it seems strange that you would need electronic waivers and membership forms. You don’t often need to sign an electronic waiver every day you go into your job. So why is it any different for a job that you do for free?
The important thing to realize is that workplace laws do not apply to volunteer jobs. Volunteer leaders, volunteer workers, and those benefiting from the volunteer work do not have the normal kinds of relationships and protections developed under the law.
This means that there are a variety of reasons why you need volunteer liability waivers. They can be used to protect the organizer of a volunteer activity from legal action if something happens to a volunteer.
For example, if you’re working on a construction project and a volunteer gets injured, you won’t have the regular kind of legal agreements that a construction boss would have with construction workers. Creating electronic waivers is vital for making sure that if you are organizing a volunteer effort, you aren’t held accountable for accidents and injuries.
However, volunteer liability waivers are also important for protecting the volunteers themselves. If they are working with vulnerable populations, or children, they may end up being accused of doing more harm than good. This kind of situation is common in medical volunteer scenarios. Your volunteers could be accused of causing harm to those you hope to help. Volunteer liability waivers can help protect them.
When Do You Need Volunteer Liability Waivers?
There’s no hard and fast rule of when to use electronic waivers or membership forms for your volunteer enterprise. Nearly any volunteer organization can benefit from additional legal coverage. However, there are some times when you’ll need to use volunteer liability waivers.
If you’re doing anything that involves physical activity, you’ll want to make sure that you have signed waivers ready. This includes volunteer projects like construction or renovation. It also includes any kind of outdoor or sporting charity event. (Think of things like charity hikes or runs).
Release forms are also very important if your volunteer group is working with any kind of vulnerable population or with minors. This could be if you are working with the physically or mentally ill, or the elderly. If it has anything to do with medicine or care, get those digital waivers ready.
Beyond providing protection, volunteer liability waivers are important for the sake of transparency. It’s unethical, to say the least, to try to get volunteers to sign membership forms without them understanding what they are getting themselves into. By the same token, if your volunteer agency is working with any partners, they will want to understand the risks as well.
Making Volunteer Liability Waivers Easy
Organizing tons of volunteer liability waivers doesn’t need to involve complex or expensive waiver software. With Waiver Forever, it’s easy to get people to sign online. Our form builders mean that no matter what your volunteer organization does, you can build the perfect electronic waivers. If you sign up, you can start your free trial right away!