HR Guidance for Charities

Charities and other non-profit organisations rely on their staff and volunteers to achieve their aims and make a difference to people’s lives, so it is important to ensure all HR issues are considered to keep staff productive, engaged and consistently fulfilling the goals of your charity.

You may need to consider issues around contracts, insurance, employees, and volunteers.

Community Impact Bucks offers a signposting service for voluntary organisations who need support on HR matters.

LawWorks is a charity which connects people and groups needing legal advice with volunteer solicitors. In addition to legal advice, LawWorks for Community Groups gives free business law advice to charities, community groups and social enterprises in England and Wales. Again, this is delivered by a network of volunteer lawyers. To use this service your organisation’s annual income must be below £500,000.

The project can help with:

  1. Corporate law advice – advice on contracts; how to incorporate the organisation as a company/Community Investment Company; updating and amending the organisation’s Articles of Association and other constitutional documents.
  2. Employment law advice – drafting, reviewing and updating employment contracts. and staff handbooks.
  3. Intellectual property law advice – advice on registering a trademark, and data protection issues.
  4. Property law advice – advice on lease terms; assistance with negotiating tenancy agreements.
  5. Other areas of advice include – charity law; tax and VAT; insolvency and help in drafting contingency plans; insurance law; health and safety law; general commercial matters.

LawWorks also offer Free Talks.  These are short online videos presented by solicitors about common legal issues faced by small not-for-profit organisations.

The videos are all free to watch and aim to help you when making important decisions.

The talks cover a range of issues including:

NCVO members can access free HR, Employment, and Health & Safety Advice through the Croner Business Support Helpline.

ACAS gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules, and best practice. ACAS also offer free eLearning modules for employees and employers covering  a wide range of employment issues, including:

  • mental health
  • redundancy
  • equality, diversity and inclusion
  • contracts, hours and pay
  • leave and time off
  • managing people and performance
  • dealing with workplace problems

To find out more please visit the ACAS website.

For information and advice about managing volunteers, have a look at our volunteering pages.

Are your policies and procedures up-to-date? Find out what areas you need to prioritise using our free online tool by clicking on the checklist icon or visiting our Healthcheck Tool webpage.

Have a look at some Human Resources FAQs:

What do I need to think about when employing new staff?

There are many things to consider when deciding to employ staff.

Attracting and selecting the right people is crucial for your organisation.  However, as an employer there are also legal requirements you must comply with.

Read more in our guide to employing a new staff member

How can I ensure the recruitment practices at our charity inclusive enough?

It all starts with the way you hire. Charity Jobs have created a guide to diversity in recruitment—to establish a toolkit for change. In it, you’ll find everything you need to audit your organisation, build better hiring practices and inspire collaboration and inclusivity in everything you do.

Where can I find HR Policies for my organisation?

Clear and comprehensive HR policies are an essential part of a well-run organisation. By setting out an organisation’s principles and procedures, they make sure that employees know what is expected of them and that managers know the processes to follow in certain situations.

NCVO have template policies and resources for NCVO members, including HR policies and board basics. These example policies and guidance notes should be used as a starting point for reviewing or producing your own policies. As with all HR policies, you should make them consistent with your terms and conditions of employment, and your organisation’s culture and aspirations.

Visit our policies page for further information.

Where can I find information about Safeguarding our staff and volunteers?

All organisations have a duty of care and a legal responsibility for safeguarding their employees, volunteers, clients, visitors – in fact anyone that the group or charity comes into contact with. Safeguarding – the term used to describe the policies and procedures which protect individuals from abuse, harm and neglect – is a priority for all charities and voluntary groups, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.

To find out more visit our Safeguarding page.

Where can I find out more about managing staff who are working from home?

While some of us had staff members working from home before the COVID-19 pandemic, for others it has been a whole new experience.

Where you have staff or volunteers who need to work away from their homes you must ensure they do so safely and within government guidelines – the government guidance for employers may be helpful.

For many organisations who have not had staff and volunteers working from home previously it has presented new challenges:

  • Ensure they have appropriate equipment. Although one option may be to allow usage of personal devices, if this is not your normal practice it may create additional security and data protection concerns to address.
  • Although their home-based “work environment” may not be ideal encourage the application of the DSE guidelines where possible and ensure they are aware they should take plenty of movement breaks.
  • Consider using additional software for collaboration and communication (such as MS Teams, Zoom and similar)
  • Support the teams with appropriate communication, which may need to be more frequent than is usual because of the likelihood of people being physically separated and dealing with the general uncertainties due to the crisis.
  • The guidance from NCVO on Supporting staff and volunteers to work from home  may be helpful for remote working arrangements.

How can I support Staff and Volunteer with their Mental Wellbeing?

Image courtesy of Wheelpower