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Although volunteering is unpaid, it shouldn’t cost a volunteer anything either.
Paying expenses helps remove barriers for volunteers on low incomes or with little spare cash. Funders and donors also often like to see that you'll pay volunteer expenses.
You should reimburse any reasonable expenses incurred while volunteering. Check what other organisations in your area offer and consider what local costs are to determine what’s reasonable.
Reasonable expenses include, but are not limited to:
It can be helpful to set a limit for expenses such as meals and travel. Be flexible and review this on a case-by-case basis.
For example, food can be more expensive for people who have allergies or dietary requirements. Volunteers with limited mobility, for example due to pregnancy or old age, may need to use more expensive travel options, such as taxis.
Discuss expense limits and adjustments with your volunteers during their volunteer induction.
You should create a process for paying volunteer expenses. It’s best to put this in writing, for example in a volunteer expenses policy.
Your policy should include:
Bexley Voluntary Service Council has a simple volunteer expense policy template that you can adapt to suit your organisation.
Keep track of expenses by asking volunteers to fill out an expense claim form. You should also keep receipts.
Share your volunteer expenses policy with new volunteers when they join your organisation. It could form part of their volunteer induction.
There are things you can do to help reduce the cost of volunteering with your organisation.
Last reviewed: 29 March 2023Help us improve this content
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