Nonprofit Insurance Program

Winter Safety for Volunteers

By Alexa Connelly
October 22, 2013


Ensuring volunteer safety is at the top of many nonprofit organizations’s to-do list as the winter season approaches.  This is a result of the many challenges winter poses for nonprofit organizations in regards to volunteers.  For example, an organization may experience a change in participation and availability of volunteers due to risks associated with winter weather conditions.  However, to ensure your nonprofit organization is not impacted by the challenges associated in maintaining volunteers during the winter, it is important to be proactive in identifying challenges and implementing processes to address these concerns.  Being proactive not only protects the volunteers, but also can prove to be very beneficial for the organization. 

Inclement Weather Policy – Ensure your organization identifies the procedure volunteers should follow specifically identifying the point of contact as well as how volunteers may be notified if the organization is closed due to inclement weather.

Dress Code – Due to weather conditions, it may be necessary to remind employees of proper clothing to ensure volunteer safety.  This may also mean ensuring volunteers have the proper equipment, tools, gear and resources to perform their volunteer duties under challenging weather conditions.

Incident Reporting – During winter months, volunteers may be more susceptible to workplace accidents due to the weather conditions.  It is essential your organization properly trains volunteers on policies and procedures regarding hazards, how to report incidents, what to do in case of an emergency as well as the steps to follow to ensure their safety and the safety of others. 

Identify Organizational Needs – It is not uncommon for the needs of the organization to change during various times of the year.  During winter months, more seasonal volunteer opportunities may be available within your organization.  It is important your organization identifies organizational needs, age requirements, availability of positions as well as time commitments of volunteers.  This ensures the organization is properly staffed and volunteers are capable of fulfilling their obligations to the organization.

As a nonprofit organization, it is essential to ensure the safety of your volunteers.  Implementing protective measures can deter harmful incidents from occurring while volunteers are providing services.  By doing so, the nonprofit minimizes volunteer accidents, can assist in reducing turnover and can prevent injuries from occurring.  This in part allows the nonprofit organization to positively influence volunteer motivation and effectively engage volunteers that can bloom into a long lasting pledge of commitment to the organization. 

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