Gransnet forums


Claiming expenses.

(27 Posts)
kittylester Tue 15-Nov-16 15:23:18

What do other Gransnetters do about claiming expenses when volunteering for a charity?

The last charity for which I volunteered (and left amidst lots of acrimony) initially was very generous in the amount one was allowed to claim and we were encouraged to claim for everything and then had the opportunity to donate it back. They then became very penny pinching and changed rhe criteria which caused lots of 'unrest' among the volunteers. It was the reason I left but was indicative of the attitude.

Now, I have to drive to places when I volunteer, I've been given a claim form but no one has asked for me to fill it in and submit it.

I have a dilemma, anyway, in that I don't need the money and I love the volunteering so it's almost a hobby. But, should I claim to set a precedent or not claim?

I should say that my role is fairly newly set up, I'm the only one at any venue so cannot ask any other volunteer. And, I have that British thing of hating to talk about money.

Teetime Tue 15-Nov-16 15:42:57

We can only claim for things like printing or photocopying but are encouraged to use the office faciltities. We have a parking permit for a couple of car parks owned by the charity but are only supposed to use this when on charity business. I do however use mine at other times as I put in a lot of hours and don't claim any expenses at all despite spending a fortune on printer ink and paper and a fair bit of petrol. I think its an individual choice. For minor things as I've mentioned I wouldn't claim but probably would for something like a train fare for example.

Maranta Tue 15-Nov-16 16:09:34

For one volunteering job I do I never claim for petrol even though I drive a few miles there and back again. Its too much faff to keep a record of it and I'm very pleased to have something to do which I enjoy. I've been doing it for a few years now!

For another, I get a few perks, such as free entry + guest, a nice fleece to keep me warm and reduced prices in the excellent cafe.

tiggypiro Tue 15-Nov-16 16:15:31

Not claiming for expenses is fine if YOU can afford not to. The problem is if it sets a precedent for others who may not afford to forego legitimate expenses and makes them feel as if they shouldn't claim. I have been in that position some time ago and it was not comfortable.

Im68Now Tue 15-Nov-16 16:17:59

Oh God, this one is so simple, DON'T VOLUNTEER.

annsixty Tue 15-Nov-16 17:04:58

I was asked to claim and then donate back "to keep the books staight". It also helped the people who really needed to have their expenses covered.

kittylester Tue 15-Nov-16 17:53:46

Donating back doesn't seem to be an option that is on offer. I know it helps to display the true cost of running the organisation.

Wobblybits Tue 15-Nov-16 17:55:38

Having worked for a charity, I am very jaundiced as the one I worked for wasted so much money through poor amateurish management.

M0nica Tue 15-Nov-16 18:11:53

I absolutely believe in claiming expenses. In the past in organisations where the culture was not to claim, the organisation failed to recruit a lot of potentially good volunteers because they could not afford to subsidise the costs attached to their volunteer role.

I think it is socially exclusive not to claim expenses and not a good thing to do. I would not work for an organisation that expected me either not to claim expenses or to donate them back to the charity. Mind you I am not very good at keeping track of exactly what my expenses are, but I can afford to be like that.

grannypiper Tue 15-Nov-16 18:22:43

MOnica I think the OP was about volunteering not paid work.kittylester i wouldnt claim for mileage or small one off costs but if you were asked to pay for something every week then it may be time to claim

Jalima Tue 15-Nov-16 18:27:39

DH tends not to claim for anything at all officially although he has to go quite some distances for meetings although that is only a couple of times in a quarter. He used to do more correspondence and occasionally he was given a ream of paper and some stamps but that's all.
It's the printer cartridges that cost the money!!
He looks on it as part of his contribution.

It depends if you have to travel regularly, ie a couple of times a week.

kittylester Tue 15-Nov-16 18:40:22

Up to now my mileage has only been about 20 miles per week but could be 60. As I said, I really enjoy the work and would do it for nothing but would that be the right thing to do?

Jalima Tue 15-Nov-16 18:42:48

That does add up to quite a bit; if it is a large charity yes, you can always donate it back again if you wish.

M0nica Tue 15-Nov-16 21:15:44

I was talking about volunteering, not paid work. I just assumed, given the subject, that it would be understood that when I referred to organisations and work I was referring to charitable organisations and volunteer work. I will make things clearer in future.

Anyway my point was that if charities develop a culture where volunteers do not claim expenses they may well lose the opportunity of recruiting many new volunteers because these volunteers may be willing to volunteer their time, but they cannot afford to pay for the pleasure by not claiming the money for any expenses they incur while undertaking their volunteer work.

kittylester Tue 15-Nov-16 21:23:27

I knew you were talking about working as a volunteer, MOnica

That is what I meant by setting a precedent and why I got cross when my previous charity changed the goal posts even for long standing volunteers which meant some had to stop.

glammanana Wed 16-Nov-16 09:23:55

The Charity I am employed by pays £2.10 towards lunch costs if you work more than 4 hours and also pays bus fares if you don't have a bus pass,we provide all tea coffee & soups and once a month provide all the cakes and sandwiches for a customer meet & greet afternoon staff are also treated to Christmas Lunch and drinks on the Company including any transport that is required,my Company really values the time my volunteers give.

Jayh Wed 16-Nov-16 09:46:29

I don't claim for expenses because filling in the expense form reminds me too much of work but that is my choice. However, expenses should appear in the charity accounts as part of the running costs. Claiming and donating back is the preferred option but no one knows, or is interested in, who claims what.
Volunteers are donating their time and expertise but should not be out of pocket as well. It is up to the Board of Trustees to set the tone.

felice Wed 16-Nov-16 14:30:27

I host monthly meetings here, suits me as I have space and saves me going out, especially on winter nights. I provide light refreshments, beer, wine, tea, coffee a bit of cake.
We have got around the embarrassment of me asking for payment by the treasurer putting 200€ into my bank account then I use it, give him the receipts and he puts more in.
With the Church they advance me money and again I hand in the receipts and any change.

gettingonabit Wed 16-Nov-16 19:02:32

I volunteer for two charities; a local small one and a well-known national one.

It wouldn't occur to me to claim from the small one as it needs every penny.

The large national one is different; I can claim some travel expenses back. However I have chosen to volunteer at a centre 20 miles away, so I guess it's my lookout if it's costing me!

gettingonabit Wed 16-Nov-16 19:07:00

Meant to add that there should be something in it for the volunteer, as well as the charity.

This thread has got me thinking!

vampirequeen Wed 16-Nov-16 19:11:55

Claim your expenses because, as was said earlier, you don't want to set a precedent. However, if you feel bad about taking the charity's money and you don't need it then why not donate it back to the charity. If you gift aid it they will get back more money than they paid you. A win situation for all concerned.

GrandmaKT Wed 16-Nov-16 22:31:56

Going off on a slight tangent - I was talking to my sister recently about expenses. She is head teacher of a nursery school and never claims expenses for travelling to meetings, events etc. because the budget is so tight. It is very unusual for any of the staff to claim travel expenses either (although they very rarely have to travel on work business). I was really surprised, I thought everyone claimed expenses and while she can afford to pay for herself she is setting a precedent for other staff members who might not be able to.

kittylester Thu 17-Nov-16 07:13:17

It's a flipping minefield isn't it?

I rarely claimed when I was on the village library committee unless it was 'capital' Eg tables and chairs for the coffee area.

And, I feel uncomfortable claiming now but feel I should.

cornergran Thu 17-Nov-16 07:29:03

When I was a paid worker for a national charity it was very clear that volunteers were expected to claim travel expenses and any other out of pocket expenses if taking our project users out and about. Our approach was that no volunteer should be financially disadvantaged or precluded from volunteering because of financial constraints By insisting everyone claimed there was no embarrassment, part of my role was to make sure the system was straightforward and worked. My personal experience of volunteering has been mixed, the small organisation I currently volunteer with has just introduced a similar policy and it seems all appreciate it. We also get a once a year thank you meal which is great fun and goes a long way to boosting flagging spirits. kitty is right, it is a minefield, not only do volunteers hold differing beliefs so do organisations, for myself I still believe no one should be disadvantaged financially as a volunteer.

kittylester Thu 17-Nov-16 07:36:47

Ive just remembered a great quote

'volunteers are unpaid, not because they are worthless but because they are priceless'