Date: Download Only
Run Time: 90 minutes including Q & A session
Leader: Dr. Jim Castagnera, attorney at law
Credits: Awarded 1.5 PDCs by SHRM
Price: Download $295 (Share the download with your colleagues)
Audience: Volunteer coordinators, supervisors and managers, senior staff, finance, payroll, human resources, executive director,  in-house counsel


Volunteers are an essential part of nonprofit operations. Without them most nonprofits would be unable to provide the level of services their communities have come to expect. Still, with all the benefits they offer, volunteers also pose significant compliance and legal risks for your organization, and the risk and potential liability can only be mitigated by careful supervision and a mutual understanding of the volunteer’s responsibilities. 

Ask yourself.  Do my volunteers ever cross the line and perform tasks which are normally done by a paid employee? Do they sometimes act in a supervisory capacity? Do your volunteers have access to confidential client information?  Do your volunteers interact regularly with members of the communities you serve? Do your volunteers use their own vehicles to drive clients or periodically represent your organization at events? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself.  Depending on your answers, you now have a better idea of the risks and potential liability your volunteers pose for your organization either while acting as a volunteer or an unpaid employee.

Please join Dr. Jim Castagnera, an employment law specialist, when he discusses how your volunteers, by performing their everyday duties, may be exposing your organization to unknown risks and potential liability, and the practical steps you can take to reduce your risk.


During this important webinar Dr. Castagnera will be discussing:

  • Determining whether some of your volunteers are really unpaid employees and understanding the consequences if they are
  • Prohibitions on direct payments and “in-kind” benefits to volunteers
  • Reimbursement of expenses
  • Volunteers working as supervisors and volunteers performing tasks normally done by paid employees
  • Paid staff working for their organization as unpaid volunteers after normal business hours
  • Understanding the organization’s liability, when a volunteer is accused of harassing a client or a fellow volunteer or employee
  • If confidential information can be shared with a volunteer without violating privacy requirements
  • Can the organization be sued for the alleged negligent acts of their volunteers? And, if so, how do you insure against this risk?
  • Can a volunteer sue the organization or be sued? Understanding the protections for volunteers contained in the Volunteer Protection Act of 1999
  • Are board members subject to different requirements than your other volunteers?
  • The role of “volunteer risk insurance,” use of waivers, volunteer handbooks, and policies and procedures in reducing the risks volunteers pose for their organizations


Jim Castagnera holds an M.A. in journalism from Kent State University, and a J.D. and Ph.D. (American studies) from Case Western Reserve University. He worked 10 years as a labor, employment, and intellectual-property attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr and 23 years as associate provost & legal counsel for academic affairs at Rider University, where in 2018 he received the university’s highest annual award for distinguished service. He also did stints as a full-time law professor at UT-Austin and Widener University Law School.

Having retired from Rider in 2019, he is now engaged in a portfolio of activities: member and chief consultant of Holland Media Services LLC, a public relations company with offices in Philadelphia and Los Angeles; member of Portum Group International LLC, a compliance consulting firm in Philadelphia; of counsel to WIBC Law; and adjunct professor of Law in the Kline School of Law at Drexel University.