A Legal Perspective on the Organization–Volunteer Relationship
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
volunteering, nonprofit law, volunteer management, nonprofit management, nonprofit policy
How does law view and shape the relationship between nonprofit organization and volunteer? To address this question, I draw on information from statutes, court decisions, and agency guidance from both the federal and state law in the United States. In general, “volunteer” is not a legally defined category in the United States, leaving a volunteer’s legal status to depend on whether the volunteering aligns with other, recognized types of relationships, such as employer–employee, principal–agent, or program–participant. By providing a synthesis of these varied legal rules as they apply to volunteers working for a nonprofit organization, this piece identifies different ways of describing the relationship between organization and volunteer, and the legal obligations and benefits that flow as a result.
Mead, Joseph, "A Legal Perspective on the Organization–Volunteer Relationship" (2019). Law Faculty Articles and Essays. 982.