What Is a Volunteer Contract?

A volunteer contract is an agreement that is entered into by a participant or volunteer and an organization and/or external agency.  

According to an online article published by HelpGuide, volunteering has several surprising benefits. The article outlines four basic benefits of volunteering. First, it helps foster connection with other people. Second, it has proven to be beneficial for one’s mental and physical health. Volunteering can also help further one’s career and professional development. And lastly, being a volunteer brings positive fun and fulfillment to one’s life.   

Why Do People Volunteer?

People volunteer for a number of reasons. Some do it out of obligation; but others engage in volunteerism purely because of the desire to do so. Some people even speak of experiencing a “helper’s high” when they volunteer. The following examples are just some of the basic reasons why people choose to volunteer:   

To be of service: Volunteerism is normally associated with service. People see a problem and they make the conscious decision to be part of the solution. Acts of service do not have to be grand and big-scale. There are the grand gestures of service like serving in far-flung places as a missionary. Or perhaps one of the biggest decisions a person can make is to serve and defend one’s country in the military. However, not everyone can serve their country in that capacity. For most people, the simplest way to start is by starting small. Even something as little as helping an elderly person cross the street or volunteering to babysit your sister’s children are still selfless acts. These little acts of service actually do matter in the greater scheme of things. To gain credentials: For some, volunteering looks good on paper. A well-rounded resume is more impressive than a regular one. For entry level job seekers or fresh graduates, work experience is not clearly established yet. So they have to bank on academic qualifications and extra-curricular credentials. To add relevant experience, students or even professionals do volunteer work. Volunteer experience in a resume gives potential recruiters the impression of a service-oriented, versatile, and well-balanced individual. To give back: Other people have a strong desire to give back to their communities. In the classic movie “Pay It Forward”, the challenge is not to repay the person who did you favor. Instead, you need to replicate that good deed by passing it on to another person. This radical notion runs contrary to what we are used to. If a person did you a favor, the natural inclination would be to want to pay back the kindness. Most people volunteer in the context of repayment or because they feel they owe the person. Sometimes, it is not focused on returning the favor to just one person. There are people who feel the deep need to give back to the communities that raised them. It goes without saying then, that it indeed takes a village to raise a child. To improve the community: If people only cared about themselves, societies would crumble and quickly fall into chaos. There are people who genuinely want to improve not just their own lives, but the lives of the people around them. Volunteerism is an excellent way to channel this desire to do good. You do not need to look far to witness this commitment in action. Who are the people in your neighborhood that work to uplift people’s lives? Although it is true they may not necessarily be paid to do it, but that’s the essence of volunteering. It is doing things out of genuine concern and not because it was imposed on you. To meet people: Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people and form friendships. You may get to meet like-minded individuals that share your passion for service. If you are stuck in a rut or just want to try out new things, volunteering is a sure way to get you to go beyond the confines of yourself. People may volunteer not solely to network but to actually make a difference, even if that means just touching or uplifting one person’s life.

Different Ways to Volunteer

There are countless ways to volunteer. You don’t need any specific skills set to be a volunteer. You only need commitment and the desire to help. The examples below are just some simple ways to get involved. 

School: If you are a student, your academic life will definitely be richer and better if you try volunteering. It is easy to fall into the routine of school work and assignments. Without anything outside of classes and academics, it is much easier to experience burnout and unfulfillment. The key is balance; and being a volunteer does not mean you neglect your studies. Striking a balance between these commitments and managing them well will not only make student life colorful, it will bring inner fulfillment and broaden your horizons. Hospital: Volunteering at a hospital is not necessarily for everyone. However, it is a direct and immersive way to be of service. Hospitals and healthcare centers are not only composed of doctors and nurses. There are administrators, officers, support staff, and maintenance crew that are responsible for running its daily operations. Volunteering at a hospital will expose you to the sometimes grim realities; as well as deepen your appreciation for the healthcare sector, and even life. Tutor Services: Some children and students need additional help when it comes to their academics. Tutoring a kid can bring fulfillment and satisfaction. If you have the time, resources, and knowledge, sharing it with those who need it will make all the difference. Seeing a child’s eyes light up when they are able to grasp or understand a concept or difficult lesson is already a reward in itself. Community Service: When people think of community service, what immediately comes to mind is punishment or mandatory hours in order to right a wrong. But serving one’s community can also be a voluntary act. It can either be a collective effort or small individual acts. Regardless, the end goal is the same. It is to improve lives for the common good in the community. Examples include a cleanup drive, fundraisers for a cause, renovation or refurbishment of public spaces or landmarks, etc. Animal Shelters: If you have a soft spot for animals, consider volunteering at an animal shelter. Various rescue organizations and wildlife centers are usually open to volunteers and need the extra help. There are a lot of pets without a home that are in need of care and attention. Volunteering to help care for these animals is guaranteed to leave you with a warm and positive feeling. It’s best to check with your local shelter for any opportunities. Non-government Organizations: Many NGOs or non-profit groups seek volunteers or donations. Depending on the nature of the organization, it is usually easy to sign up. If you have a soft spot for the environment, there are dozens of environmental advocacy groups that offer volunteer opportunities to outsiders. Whether it is through donations or event organization and participation, it is best to check with your organization of choice for any available opportunities.

How to Create a Volunteer Contract

Contracts can be quite technical and lengthy. To make it more convenient, use an existing template that you can easily edit and fill in the necessary details. Follow the simple steps below to get started: 

Step 1: Name the Involved Parties

Every contract needs to begin with the introduction of parties involved in the agreement. State the complete name of the participant and the organization. You also have the option to include their addresses. For example, you signed up to help organize a feeding program. Before signing the agreement, make sure the contract includes your name and the name of the company that organized the program.  

Step 2: Outline the Responsibilities 

The next step is to define or identify the roles of each party. Usually, the company or organization is tasked to draft the contract. Both the responsibilities of the company and the participant should be itemized and numbered so the contract is more organized and coherent. Be specific with the tasks and responsibilities. For instance, a tutor volunteers to teach underprivileged students in the neighborhood. His contract should detail his tasks, which includes not just lecturing and attending to students one-on-one, but giving exams and other relevant activities that will boost their learning. 

Step 3: State the General Terms

After you have outlined the specifics, you can proceed to naming the general terms. Every contract has generic clauses that can be applied to most agreements. Examples of these include a release of liability, a confidentiality statement, amendment guidelines, and a termination clause. Depending on the nature of the event or activity, you may add or omit these terms and conditions. To make it appear more organized, do not forget to separate and number each condition.   

Step 4: Include a Declaration  

Lastly, include a declarative sentence stating that the parties agree with the aforementioned terms and conditions above. This confirmation statement is needed to make the contract more official and binding. Provide enough space and clear signature lines for the signatories to affix their names and the date.   


What is a volunteer contract?

A volunteer contract is a written agreement made between an organizer and a participant or volunteer. It can apply to any field in both private and public sectors. The contract stipulates the terms and conditions that the volunteer must either commit to or reject.

Do volunteers need a contract?

In some cases, a volunteer contract is not absolutely needed. However, some organizations do not like to take chances when it comes to the welfare of their participants. A contract is just for added protection and insurance. Sometimes, a participant waiver is sufficient enough. For long-term volunteer work, a contract may be needed for a thorough documentation of all the stipulations.

What should a volunteer agreement include?

A volunteer contract should include an introduction of the parties in agreement, an outline of roles and responsibilities, general terms and conditions, and a confirmation declaration at the end. Terms may vary from contract to contract. It is best to do prior research before crafting your contract. If you are still in doubt, the most convenient way is to start with a sample template.

Volunteering is a fun and fulfilling way to expand one’s knowledge and experience. It doesn’t matter if it is just a weekend event at a local animal shelter or a long-term missionary service contract; volunteerism is good for both the participant and the recipients or beneficiaries of the good deed. But before anything else, make sure everything is in place with a clearly-defined contract agreement. Download a sample template now and customize it to suit your needs!