Volunteer Travel expenses

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Hi everyone

I’m just in the process of setting up all our volunteer procedures and paperwork. We are currently debating how best to approach travel expenses for volunteers. I’m interested to know if other schemes budgeted for volunteer travel in their projects and if so, what your policy is. Do you always pay for every trip? Do you pay travel expenses for volunteer training? What rate do you pay? Do you set a limit on how many miles you will pay per journey?  Do you find volunteers always claim, or are reluctant to claim? If you don’t pay travel expenses, does this cause any problems?

If anyone can share any thoughts on this it would be very useful.



View Michelle Cooper's profile Michelle Cooper Dec 17 2014 - 4:12pm
  1. Hi Michelle,

    In a past HLF project (Churchyard Task Team) we put in for travel expenses. We worked out how many days we were going to be undertaking tasks, an average distance and an estimate of how many volunteers would be involved. This was 7 years ago and not many volunteers claimed at all. We transfered our underspend to a different budget later in the project. However we are still doing the same project today (but with a different funding source) and most volunteers do claim and we are struggling to keep up. 
    If we did not claim travel expenses at least 4 regular and valued volunteers would not be able to attend our Task Days. I think it is essential to offer it in order to ensure the opportunities are able to be accessed by everyone.

    All the best and do ring if you want to chat!

    National Project Manager
    Caring for God's Acre

  2. View Andrea Gilpin's profile Andrea Gilpin
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
  3. Hi Michelle

    Touching the Tide isn't a volunteer-heavy project, but we do offer travel expenses for vols. Usually they've come at our request to help at an event or the like.  Take up is high but numbers small.

    It's an affluent area on the whole and so the AONB as doesn't pay travel for routine volunteering - again the exception being where the AONB has asked someone for specific help, or asked them to attend a specific training event.

    If we had a lot of volunteers, and/or were in a less affluent area, I would want to offer travel more widely however.  From past roles at Wildlife Trusts etc I know how important it can be to enable less well off people to participate, and they're often the people who both gain and contribute most. Normal practice is to pay actual public transport costs or a reduced mileage rate (20 - 25p/mile) that reflects fuel costs rather than the full HMRC cost rate for staff of 40-45p which is intended to cover a share of fixed costs too.  My experience was that it wasn't abused; the better off normally didn't claim, but the offer was made to everyone equally.

    One tip - set a time limit linked to HLF claim cycles.  If they have to claim monthly or quarterly it's much easier for you to manage the budget, whereas claim as you go on the day encourages everyone to claim regardless of need!

    We didn't have a limit, and did pay travel to training. If you anticipate long distance commuting to volunteer a monthly limit might be wise though, or perhaps a limit on the cost of any one journey.

    Hope this helps.




  4. View Bill Jenman's profile Bill Jenman
    Offline | Last seen: 8 months 2 weeks ago
  5. Thanks to everyone for your comments. that is really useful. I think we are thinking along the same lines. Interesting idea about setting a time limit though. I hadn't thought of that. We will get an idea in the next few months as to how many volunteers typically are claiming and we have set some distance limits as a precaution but I don't think it will be an issue as we are hopnig to work with local communities on projects in their area. 

    I really apprecaite you both getting back to me. 



  6. View Michelle Cooper's profile Michelle Cooper
    Offline | Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
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