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Employees are hired to do specific job duties by employees for pay and volunteers provide their service freely without being paid. Even though volunteers are not paid, risk is associated with all volunteer involvement ( Connors, 2011). According to Tribbensee, (2008) lack of training and oversight with a volunteer director for a university stage play lead to an actor being stabbed by a real knife because the director wanted the scene to look realistic. “The Texas Supreme court ultimately dismissed the suit, saying that “the play’s director was an independent contractor for whose acts or omissions the university is not liable.” This case demonstrates that colleges can never be too careful when dealing with people who aren’t employees”(Tribbensee, 2008, para. 2).

According to Pitney, (2013) there are lingering effects that organizations face from the monetary decline is a growing dependence on their volunteers, and a similarly need to help protect volunteers from the effects of unplanned incidents, injuries, or accidents ( para. 1). A friend of the family was volunteering for a Food Bank as a distributor, meaning he drove to specified communities and provided food for those in need. On his way back to the Food Bank facility he decided to drive to Chicago, which was over 25 miles outside of his jurisdiction, to visit family before returning the truck that belonged to the Food Bank. Unfortunately he got into an accident that resulted in someone else’s car being totaled, no fatalities. The Food Bank initially refused to pay for damages because the volunteer worker drove outside his approved designated area, however the Food Bank was eventually sued by the injured party.

According to Connors, ( 2011) liability is a great concern with the board of directors because they are responsible for the work of the organization. Organizations are responsible for ensuring their volunteers are safe but fear liability could hamper organizations using volunteers. Organizations staying up to date on the best practices can not guarantee against liability because there’s also a potential for legal action.


Connors, T. D. (2011). Wiley nonprofit law, finance and management series: volunteer management handbook: leadership strategies for success (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 9780470604533.

Pitney, N. (2013). Safeguarding volunteers with effective risk management. Retrieved from https://nonprofitquarterly.org/safeguarding-volunt…

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