UK Volunteer Policy Template & Volunteering Agreement

Sample UK volunteer policy template and volunteering agreement for charities, plus a charity volunteer management policy and strategy template

UK Volunteer Policy Template & Volunteering Agreement

UK charity volunteer policy template and volunteering agreement for charities - sample policies and procedures for volunteer management.  This resource is in 4 sections - a volunteering policy template, a volunteer agreement template, the biggest section to use as a volunteer management policy template and for your volunteering strategy.

Download The Volunteering Policy Template in Word

You can download this volunteer policy template in Word from within the system. Register (everything is free), then login, to download this and 40 other policy templates for charities.  Once logged in, click the in-system AI bunny icon, then his Policies button and tell him you want the volunteer policy template.

How To Improve Your Volunteer Management

Complete our People questionnaire to identify ways to improve you volunteer management and be connected to charity volunteer resources, use our Help Finder to find new volunteers, including local corporate volunteering. Plus the Funding Finder grants directory, 100+downloadable funder lists, 7 other health checks, huge resource base and Quality Mark.  Quick, simple and very effective.

Find Funding, Free Help & Resources - Everything Is Free.

Register Now!


Over a third of volunteers have said that things could be better organised.  Getting that right is not only important in helping them achieve the most that they can, but also for retaining them.

I'm not a fan of pages of policies, mainly because they tend not to get read.  However, you should have at least a simple policy and someone who takes responsibility for it and ensures it is applied consistently.

Use this short checklist as a volunteer policy template to check that you've covered all the issues that matter to you.

  1. We know how many volunteers we need, the roles they will fill and which ones are most important/difficult.
  2. We recruit people by talking to them about what matters to them, using methods/communication channels that will reach them.
  3. We are aware of the legal issues and ensure that we comply with these.
    1. That includes any right to work checks, safeguarding both them and others, volunteering whilst on benefits and ensuring our insurance covers volunteers.
  4. We ensure they are welcomed into the organisations and given any guidance and training they may need to carry out their role.
  5. We engage and retain volunteers by ensuring that we provide them with feedback, support and thank them.
  6. We have carried out at least a basic risk assessment and made provision for the resources they need.

For formal volunteers, having a volunteer agreement is recommended.  This is not a contract, but helps volunteers to understand their and the charity's obligations and how these will work in practice. Volunteers offer their time and skills to help us and are under no obligation to do so, but having an agreement helps volunteers and charities work better together and reduces the risk of problems occurring.  Complying with procedures, such as data protection, health and safety and, if applicable, safeguarding keeps everyone safe and cannot be optional.

There is also volunteer management software available - here's a guide.


For informal volunteers, such as one-off help at an event, make sure they are briefed on what they need to know.  For example, health & safety and action in the event of a fire.

For formal volunteers, having a volunteer agreement is recommended.  This is not a contract but helps volunteers to understand their and the charity's obligations and how these will work in practice. Volunteers offer their time and skills to help us and are under no obligation to do so, but having an agreement helps volunteers and charities work better together and reduces the risk of problems occurring.  Complying with procedures, such as data protection, health and safety and, if applicable, safeguarding keeps everyone safe and cannot be optional.

Here's an outline volunteer agreement with key headings you could consider:

  1. Nature of Agreement - this is not a legally binding contract between the charity and the volunteer, and that neither intends any employment or other worker relationship to be created.
  2. Responsibilities - an outline of the role and responsibilities, including any line management relationships and communicating with the charity.
  3. Confidentiality - the volunteer may not use or disclose any confidential information they have access to either whilst volunteering, or afterwards.
  4. Payment - is limited to reasonable pocket expenses, details of those expenses and how they may be re-claimed.
  5. Copyright - usually doesn't apply but would if sh/e will be writing articles for you, taking photographs or producing any other material.  The volunteer will need
    to sign an assignment of intellectual property rights to ensure that you retain ownership of the material produced.
  6. Data Protection - consent to the processing of personal data including sensitive personal data and, if they will be processing sensitive data of others, compliance with your data protection procedures.
  7. Safety & Support - identify who will be their point of contact, if they need help, or have a problem, particularly relating to safety issues.
  8. Code of Conduct - adhering to the charity's code of conduct, and respecting the organisation's policies, values, and guidelines.
  9. Learning and Development - taking advantage of opportunities for personal growth and skill development, where this training is required for the role. Include any mandatory training that may be required, such as safeguarding.
  10. Communication - maintaining effective communication with the charity's coordinator or supervisor. This includes promptly responding to emails, attending virtual meetings or check-ins, and seeking clarification or guidance when needed.


Volunteer Handbook

A guide from Charity Digital on how to write a volunteer handbook.

Recruitment - How To Find Charity Volunteers

Finding and recruiting volunteers is a bit like staff recruitment.  We need to be clear on how many people we need, what skills and experience they might need, what we can offer that will make them want to volunteer, minimise any barriers that may make that less likely and then get that message to them.

Larger charities may have volunteer job descriptions, but even for the smaller ones, it can be useful to have a list of volunteer roles, any useful skills/experience and the time/flexibility required.  That’s more admin, but you can download a template from Charity Excellence that has this, with a range of example roles and requirements already included.

Think about what it is you offer and do that will appeal to potential volunteers and what barriers they think may be preventing them from volunteering.   Turn that into simple messages that you can use.   You can also use these in wider communications, such as social media posts, or your newsletter, to encourage people to come forward.  Seven in 10 volunteers say they have already or would recommend their volunteering to a friend or family member.  Among those who have never volunteered, one of the most frequently cited reasons for not volunteering is that they have never thought about it.

Then think about who your volunteers might be, where to find them and how to reach them.  About 80% of people volunteer in their local areas, with about 10% volunteering through employer supported schemes. Formal volunteers are more likely to be older, well-educated and from higher socio-economic groups.  Having flexibility and being asked directly are most likely to encourage those who have not volunteered recently.

For example, people who volunteer for roles such as:

  1. Helping out at events or at a day club for an hour or 2 are most likely to come from the local community. Posters in local shops etc or posts in local social media groups might work well.
  2. Whereas someone drafting funding bids or social media volunteers, may be home based and could be drawn from a wide geographical area. You could use social media platforms or groups they may be members of, or one of the volunteer recruitment websites.

For social media, think about which platforms they might use.  There are no absolutes, but business and professional people may be more likely to use LinkedIn, whereas teenagers are more likely to be on Instagram/Snap Chat.

For those hard to fill roles, using your trustees and business supporters to access corporates and business networks can be very useful.  However, there are also a significant number of organisations that will help you for free.  Here are some of the 100s of charity support organisations from the Charity Excellence resource base:

  1. Getting on Board – trustee recruitment.
  2. ICAEW- finance and business.
  3. Media Trust - communications.
  4. Pimp My Cause – marketing, including websites, digital and branding.
  5. Donate Code - designer & developer volunteer network.
  6. HR Net – professional HR volunteers.

Retention - Motivating & Engaging Volunteers

More than one in 5 people volunteer at least once a month for a group, club or organisation, but only 7% are both consistently and heavily involved.  This suggests that keeping volunteers engaged and retaining them is a real opportunity.

Make sure that volunteers are welcomed into your charity and given some form of induction and, if necessary, training to make them feel welcome and to enable them to give and get the most from being a volunteer.

And make sure that you continue to engage and support them, on an ongoing basis.  It doesn't have to be a formal system and it doesn't have to be a lot of work, but it does have to be done well, to work well. Here are some ideas of the kinds of ways in which you could do that:

  1. A letter of welcome signed by the chair/CEO.
  2. Volunteer thank you events, thanks in the Board minutes (as long as they get told, obviously), or a card at Christmas and badges can work well.
  3. Good news stories can be posted on social media or in newsletters, or even as a press release, and help generate useful PR as well.
  4. There are national and often local volunteer awards, or you could create your own.
  5. Long service recognition can work well – for example a gold, platinum badge, or a hand written thank you from the Chair/CEO.

And don’t overlook the power of simply saying thank you when you meet people who give their unpaid time to your charity.

UK Charity Volunteer Guide

free volunteer guide from our friends at Access NFP which shows how you can refine your recruitment practices and attract more volunteers now, and far into the future; including initial strategy, application form recommendations, compliance and more.

With a foreword from Ben Hughes, a specialist in volunteer management for over a decade for charities such as Make-A-Wish UK and Barnardo’s, this guide is full of helpful information to enhance your volunteer experience. 

Charity Volunteer Management Software

Our friends at Access UK have their Assemble Starter package, which makes available their market-leading UK charity volunteer management software for smaller teams of volunteers.  Get in contact with them to find out more.

UK Volunteer Benefits, Claiming Expenses & Payments

Individuals may volunteer as many hours as they want to each week and their benefits won’t be affected.  Volunteering is unpaid work for someone other than a close relative, such as a charity. If you’re a volunteer, you’ll have no contract of employment. This means you decide how many hours you want to volunteer each week.  You won’t be paid for your work, but can be paid for out of pocket expenses. This includes money spent on food, travel or childcare costs whilst volunteering. You should always keep receipts for expenses - your benefit provider might ask for these as proof. Source - Citizens Advice.  You may need to pay tax on your driving expenses if you get back more than you spent.

Your charity should have a written agreement setting out what is classed as an expense, plus how to claim and approve expenses.

Facts & Stats For Your Charity Volunteer Policy

Millions of people take part in volunteering, with many charities entirely volunteer run.  In one sense, they don't support the charity sector - they are the charity sector.  Here are some ideas to use in writing your volunteer management policy and recruiting and retaining your volunteers.

There are many reasons why people volunteer their time and skills, and each person has her of his own reasons, but here are some of the most common ones.

  1. Enjoy helping people
  2. Believe the cause is worthwhile.
  3. Have time to spare.
  4. Want to make friends.
  5. Want to use skills.
  6. Would like to learn new skills

However, there are also barriers:

  1. Lack of time.
  2. Put off by bureaucracy.
  3. Worry about risk/liability.
  4. The way things are organised (or not).

Benefits reported by volunteers:

  1. Satisfaction from seeing results.
  2. Personal achievement.
  3. Opportunity to do something they are good at.
  4. Broaden horizons.
  5. Meet people.

Charity Commission Volunteer Policy

Charity Commission guidance on how to recruit and manage volunteers for your charity, including the vetting process, paying expenses, role descriptions and insurance.

A Free One Stop Shop for Everything Your Charity Needs

A registered charity ourselves, we provide 8 online health checks, the huge information hub, Quality Mark and 3 online directories.

  • Funding Finder - click through to more funders than any other grants directory, categories for Crisis Funding, Core Funding and Small Charities & Community Groups and 60+ downloadable grant lists.
  • Help Finder – find advice, pro bono support and free services and products, including lots of free fundraising support and companies that make product/financial donations.
  • Data Finder - finds data for funding bids, fundraising research, impact reporting, planning and campaigning.

Quick, simple and very effective. Nearly half our ratings are 10/10.

Find Funding, Free Help & Resources - Everything Is Free

Register Now!

To access help and resources on anything to do with running a charity, including funding, click the AI Bunny icon in the bottom right of your screen and ask it short questions, including key words.  Register, then login and the in-system AI Bunny is able to write funding bids and download 30+ charity policy templates as well.


  • What is a volunteering policy?  A volunteering policy helps to manage their volunteers by detailing how a charity will recruit, retain, motivate and provide recognition for its volunteers, the various roles and administrative issues such as dress, expenses and training.
  • Why have a volunteering policy?  There is no legal or regulatory requirement to have a volunteering policy but it helps to ensure volunteers are managed and supported well and minimises the risk of things going wrong and problems arising.
  • What are the responsibilities of a volunteer?  Volunteers are under no obligation to work on behalf of a charity but, if they wish to do so, they must comply with relevant charity policies, undertake any necessary training, turn up for activities they have agreed to support and carry out their work to the best of their abilities.
  • What is a volunteer strategy?  A volunteer strategy is a longer-term plan for what a charity wishes to achieve through volunteering and how that will contribute to its overall strategic aims, and includes its objectives in doing so, such as how it will find, recruit, motivate, retain and manage its volunteers.
  • What are the benefits of a volunteer agreement?  Volunteer agreements help to make volunteering enjoyable and successful for everyone by helping charities and volunteers know what to expect from each other and remind charities to offer a good volunteer experience.
  • What is in a volunteer agreement? Agreements set out: what a charity will offer its volunteers and should include that the agreement is not a legally binding contract between the charity and the volunteer, and that neither intends any employment or other worker relationship to be created.  It will include other issues, such as responsibilities, confidentiality, expenses, training and policies to be aware of and comply with.
  • What is micro volunteering? Micro volunteering is short tasks that don't necessarily require any ongoing commitment.  It can get lots done quickly and efficiently, and can save charities time and money and offers volunteers the opportunity to under-take bite size activities, in a way that also works for the cause they support.
  • What is a volunteer code of conduct? A volunteering code of conduct sets out the standards and behaviours for a charity’s volunteers in working together and with others to enable them to do so effectively and in an ethical and respectful way.  It does not detail responsibilities or legal obligations.
  • Can volunteers be paid?  Volunteers aren’t paid for their time but should be paid for any out-of-pocket expenses. These expenses could include travel, postage and telephone costs if working from home and essential equipment, such as protective clothing.  Volunteers should provide receipts for any expenses they incur.
  • Should we have insurance for our volunteers?  Even if your charity doesn’t employ staff, you may still decide to take out employers’ liability cover for volunteers.  Check whether your insurance policy includes volunteers, covers the activities volunteers will be doing and states any age limits for volunteers.

This Volunteer Policy Resource Doesn't Constitute Professional Opinion

This volunteer policy article is for general interest only and does not constitute professional legal or financial advice.  I'm neither a lawyer, nor an accountant, so not able to provide this, and I cannot write guidance that covers every charity or eventuality.  I have included links to relevant regulatory guidance, which you must check to ensure that whatever you create reflects correctly your charity’s needs and your obligations.  In using this resource, you accept that I have no responsibility whatsoever from any harm, loss or other detriment that may arise from your use of my work.  If you need professional advice, you must seek this from someone else. To do so, register, then login and use the Help Finder directory to find pro bono support. Everything is free.

Register Now
We are very grateful to the organisations below for the funding and pro bono support they generously provide.

With 40,000 members, growing by 2000 a month, we are the largest and fastest growing UK charity community. How We Help Charities

View our Infographic

Charity Excellence Framework CIO

14 Blackmore Gate
United Kingdom
HP22 5JT
charity number: 1195568
Copyrights © 2016 - 2024 All Rights Reserved by Alumna Ltd.
Terms & ConditionsPrivacy Statement
Website by
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram