Responsibilities of departments/units with Iowa volunteers

Each department/unit is responsible for the following:

  1. Volunteer Authorization Form:  Departments/units with volunteers are responsible for completing a Volunteer Authorization Form for each volunteer. This form must be kept by the department for the duration of the volunteer activity and then retained in compliance with record retention policies.
    • You may contact Risk Management with questions about or assistance completing the Volunteer Authorization Form
  2. It is the responsibility of the department/unit to be certain the volunteer has adequate experience, qualifications, and training for the activities he or she will be expected to perform. The degree and type of screening for volunteers should be based upon the type of tasks being performed, the amount of risk involved, and the amount of direct supervision provided. The following lists of volunteer activities are intended to provide examples of when it may be appropriate for a lower level of screening and supervision or when additional screening and direct supervision may be required. These lists should not be considered comprehensive or exhaustive.
    • Lower risk activities such as volunteers who are greeting or directing individuals at a University event, participating in a Phone-a-thon, or distributing materials at a fair or special event may require less screening and less supervision.  
    • Higher risk activities such as when a volunteer is involved in financial or confidential matters; is preparing or serving food; has access to a University research facility; or has access to minors, vulnerable populations, or animals may require additional screening and more direct supervision.
  3. All volunteers must be assigned supervision by a department or unit.
    • Departmental supervisors shall be responsible for ensuring volunteers receive the appropriate orientation and training (see Orientation and Training section) and supervision (see Supervision of Iowa volunteers section). 
    • The supervisor is responsible for ensuring volunteers comply with all applicable University policies. 
    • The supervisor shall also be responsible for addressing any policy violations and/or removing a volunteer (see Termination section) if and when necessary.
  4. When volunteers will have direct contact with minors (individuals under age 18), the department/unit must comply with the Minors On Campus policy.
  5. Departments should notify potential volunteers of the possibility of a background check. A background check may be required for volunteers with responsibilities including but not limited to contact with minors or vulnerable populations, access to keys to university facilities, or access to financial or confidential matters.
  6. The departmental supervisor must determine if and when volunteers may drive as part of their volunteer activities to or on behalf of the University. Volunteers who drive must comply with the University Driving Policy and be entered into the Driver License Review System by the departmental supervisor before driving on behalf of the university. If the volunteer is authorized in writing by the department to use their own personal vehicle, then the department shall notify the volunteer the personal auto policy of the vehicle owner will have primary financial responsibly for accidents.
  7. Departments/units may not discriminate in selecting or removing volunteers based on race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, disability, status as a U.S. veteran or other groups protected by policy or law.

Orientation and Training

The department/unit shall provide the volunteer with an orientation and any necessary training prior to beginning the volunteer activities. The type of activity will determine the appropriate orientation and training. The departmental supervisor is responsible for documenting appropriate training. Orientation and training topics may include the following:

  • Applicable department and Operations Manual policies, including, but not limited to:
  • The activities, expectations, risks, and duration for the Iowa volunteer
  • The limits of the volunteer's approved activities
  • Defensive-driving training and/or passenger van training, if required for volunteer to drive as part of their volunteer activities
  • Any required safety training as identified by UI Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) and/or any UI Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Lab specific training will also be conducted and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided by the department/unit and used by the volunteer as required.
  • Federal or state regulations that apply to the volunteer's service opportunity, including, but not limited to, those of confidentiality, financial responsibility, substance abuse, FERPA, and/or HIPPA.

Sample Orientation Checklist 

Supervision of Iowa volunteers

It is the responsibility of the department/unit to ensure the volunteer activities are for and directly related to the business of the university.  The supervisor is responsible for exercising reasonable care in planning and implementing the volunteer experience and enforcing compliance with university policies and procedures including but not limited to safety, health, and other applicable regulations.  The supervisor is also responsible for the volunteer's training and direct day-to-day oversight and must be available for consultation and assistance.

Renewal of volunteers and their activities should be reviewed by the departmental supervisor annually.

Supervisors must report any incident involving a volunteer, including but not limited to accident, injury, or property loss as soon as reasonably possible.

The department/unit may discontinue a volunteer's participation at any time and with or without prior notice.

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