Although volunteers might not be paid, from a workers'compensation perspective they might be better called “workers.”

State laws vary widely on the insurability of volunteers underworkers' compensation. Some states do not allow it, while othersspecify that certain types of volunteers must be covered and othersmay be covered at the option of the organization for which theyvolunteer.

But workers' compensation coverage can be expensive, especiallyfor nonprofit organizations that depend on volunteers but whosebudgets are tighter than ever before. As the weak economytranslates to declining financial support and sharper competitionfor fewer available grants, nonprofits are looking for every waypossible to reduce their expenses, including what they must pay forinsurance.

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