Scenario: A volunteer shows up for duty with an infant and a small pet dog. The dog bites a child at the event.
Scenario: A volunteer who is wearing sandals while moving chairs for a volunteer training, stubs her toe ripping off the toenail and part of the toe bed. She requires immediate surgery.
Scenario: Pregnant volunteer is handing out brochures. She trips over a misplaced box of brochures, falls down a short flight of stairs and goes into labor.
Scenario: Festival childcare provider is discovered to be a registered pedophile. Front page news that the festival did not screen its childcare providers.
Scenario: Well meaning volunteer invites event guests who can’t find a hotel to stay at his house. Event guests steal money and small electronics.
Scenario: Volunteer gets badly injured during an event. The event organization has insurance but it does not cover volunteers only staff. Volunteer sues the title sponsor of the event.
Scenario: Volunteer driver is hit while driving an event car. The driver of the second car is uninsured and to make matters worse the volunteer’s driver license is expired.
The scenarios, described above, are all based on real events. In every instance proper preventive measures were not taken. The volunteer was not given a dress code specifying closed toe shoes. Volunteers were not screened in advance for sensitive positions. Volunteers were told to assist guests in finding accommodations. Driver licenses were not checked during training.
Risk control is like an umbrella in the rain. The umbrella prevents you from getting wet, cold and potentially sick. Proper risk control can protect your organization, sponsors and affiliates from unnecessary liability.
Job perils, site concerns and basic security precautions are important risk elements to address starting in the registration process and on the volunteer waiver. Risk concerns should be reinforced in the volunteer handbook and training.
Event managers still need to have insurance for the worst case scenario. Contrary to popular beliefs, all event volunteers are not covered by personal homeowners and motor vehicle insurance.
Waivers gone wrong? Event insurance nightmare? Do you have a risk management tip to share?
Next articles in this series:
Volunteer Management Assessment: Volunteer Management Technology
Volunteer Management Assessment: Evaluation
Volunteer Management Assessment: Conclusion/Questions