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Volunteer Expenses

This page outlines the Best Practice for volunteer expenses. Before recruiting volunteers, make sure your organisation is volunteer-ready by completing the Volunteer Management Health Check.

Best practice, as outlined in the GLV's London Volunteer Management Charter, is below. Where do you stand? 

Basic Practice Good Practice Best Practice
Travel expenses Meal expenses Budget planning for expenses


Volunteering should not cost the volunteer any money. Paying expenses for travel and meals, for long shifts, helps make volunteering accessible to everyone.

It's important to get expenses right. You should only ever reimburse volunteers for out of pocket expenses. We never recommend paying volunteers a "flat rate" for their expenses. This can have implications for welfare benefits and make volunteers liable for taxation. What's more, this kind of agreement can imply the existence of an employment contract, and volunteers can then expect to be paid minimum wage.

Templates and examples

Volunteer Expense Policy, Groundwork London 2013 (PDF)
Volunteer Expenses PolicyParkinson's UK 2012 (PDF)

Other guidance

Volunteer Expenses Information SheetVolunteer Now 2012 (PDF)

Top Tips

We meet with many local organisations who have great ideas about volunteer management. Here are few we have heard that we thought were food for thought:

  • Try to make the expenses process as simple as possible, so it is easy for your to manage.
  • To gather travel receipts, encourage volunteers to register their Oyster Card or Contactless card on TFL's website. They will then be able to print PDF versions of their journeys, in order to claim expenses.