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Volunteer Policy


The college encourages the involvement of college volunteers in appropriate programs and activities.


This policy addresses the need to balance a number of factors regarding volunteer service, including the desirability of volunteer service and the process of determining appropriate roles for college volunteers, the need to minimize risk to the volunteer and to the college, and applicable wage and hour laws.


A supervising department shall follow the procedures set forth in this policy prior to allowing any college employee, student, or third party to provide services to the college as a college volunteer.


  • A college volunteer is anyone who, without an expectation of compensation, performs services directly related to the business of the college, to support the activities of the college, or otherwise at the direction and on behalf of the college. To qualify as a college volunteer, an individual must be willing to provide services according to this policy.
  • Supervising Department refers to the college office or department that will be the supervisor or primary recipient of a college volunteer's services.
  • Compensation includes salary, stipends, fees or any in-kind benefits such as room, board, or clothing received in exchange for services rendered. Compensation does not include reimbursements for honorariums.

A volunteer waiver (DOC) is a document created by Human Resources, and retained by the supervisor with a copy on file in Human Resources.

A volunteer minor waiver (DOC) is a document for anyone under the age of 18, created by Human Resources and retained by the supervisor with a copy on file in Human Resources.

Administration of Policy

Who May Volunteer

Anyone, including current or retired employees, students, alumni, or others, may provide volunteer services to the college, with the following restrictions:

  • A non-student under the age of eighteen may only become a college volunteer if
    • The services are of a type that does not require a volunteer waiver as defined below; and
    • He or she has provided written parental consent
    • A current college employee may only become a college volunteer if:
    • The time spent by the employee volunteering is for a charitable purpose;
    • There is no coercion or undue pressure (express or implied) by the employer for the employee to volunteer nor is there a promise of advancement or penalty for not volunteering;
    • The volunteer service is performed outside of the employee's normal working time;
    • The volunteer time worked is insubstantial in relation to the employee's regular hours or scheduled overtime hours;
    • The work performed is for the volunteer's own advantage without promise or expectation (or actual) compensation;
    • The volunteer activities are not the same or similar to activities the employee is otherwise employed to perform and for non-exempt employees the volunteer activity is not in his or her own division
  • A non-employee (including retired employees, students, alumni and others) may only become a college volunteer if
    • The volunteer service must be of a charitable nature;
    • The non-employee is working for his own advantage, without any promise or expectation of compensation or future employment;
    • The work performed volunteering must not displace services performed by regular employees;
    • The non-employee would not as a matter of economic reality depend upon the college;
    • The amount of time rendered by the non-employee in volunteer services is relatively insubstantial

The situations when an individual may, or may not, provide volunteer services to the college may appear ambiguous. Any supervising department that is not certain as to whether an individual may provide volunteer services to the college should contact Human Resources for additional guidance.

It is the responsibility of the supervising department to be certain that the individual has adequate experience, qualifications, and training for the tasks he or she will be required to perform as a college volunteer.

The college can end a college volunteer's term of service at any time and without prior warning.

Rights, Responsibilities, and Obligations of College Volunteers

A college volunteer is representing the college while performing assigned duties. Accordingly, college volunteers are expected to abide by the same college policies, procedures, and external regulations that govern the conduct of employees of the college, including, but not limited to, those relating to ethical behavior, safety, confidentiality, protected health information, computer use, financial responsibility, and drug use.

College volunteers are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and are not considered employees for any purpose. Therefore, they are not eligible for any compensation or college benefits as a result of this volunteer association. The only exception is that College Volunteers are covered under Worker's Compensation insurance (Endorsement WC 00 03 11 A).

Although college volunteers are not considered employees and are not protected by federal or state employment discrimination laws, college employees directing the activities of college volunteers are subject to the college's policies regarding discrimination, harassment, and other policies regarding employee relations.

College volunteers are not authorized to enter into any contract, agreement, or binding legal relationship on behalf of the college.

Classification of Volunteer Services

Assuming all criteria described above are met, the following activities are generally considered low-risk, and do not require a completed volunteer waiver:

  • Advisory council or board participation;
  • Commencement volunteer;
  • Phone-a-thon volunteer;
  • Public speaker;
  • Volunteers at athletic events (limited to fewer than five hours per week);
  • Annual fund and class chairs

For the following activities, college volunteers are required to complete a volunteer waiver. The supervising department is responsible for submitting a completed volunteer waiver to Human Resources prior to the college volunteer beginning service:

  • Travel of any kind;
  • Work with animals;
  • Work with confidential information;
  • Work with minors, other than Davidson students or applicants to Davidson (background check will be required for any volunteer work with minors).
  • Any others not listed as low risk

College volunteers are prohibited from performing the following activities:

  • Working more than 20 hours per week;
    • Operating heavy equipment;
    • Operating vehicles except with the express permission of a college employee authorized to extend permission;
    • Working with hazardous materials;
    • Working with stored energy (e.g., steam, electricity, gas, hydraulics);
    • Any activity considered inappropriate for a college employee;

Reimbursements and Honoraria

Payment for volunteer services is not allowed. However, the college will reimburse college volunteers for actual and reasonable expenses, following standard college reimbursement guidelines. Expenses must be approved in advance in order to be reimbursed.

An honorarium may be awarded to a college volunteer. An honorarium is not a payment for services or fee charged, but an award primarily intended to confer distinction or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration. The value of the honorarium must not be related to the performance of services.

Review of Policy

The Director of Human Resources shall oversee this policy and review it at least once every two years. Changes to this policy shall be made in accordance with the college's Policy on Policies.