Volunteer Agreement

Volunteer Agreement

Pint of Science Volunteer Agreement

1. Introduction

Pint of Science is a non-profit social enterprise that bring researchers into local pubs, cafes and public spaces to share their findings with their local communities. We offer a platform that supports: researchers by providing them with public engagement opportunities, organisers by empowering them to curate their own science events, and our audience by giving them the opportunity to engage with research happening in their local area.

Pint of Science wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of our volunteers, which includes both our organisers and our speakers. We’re determined to make sure our organisers and speakers gain something from taking part in Pint of Science, be it learning new skills, making new friends or gaining new opportunities (hopefully all the above!).

As an organisation, we want to make the following commitments to our volunteers. Pint of Science will:

  • Support all volunteers by providing an organisational framework within which they can work effectively
  • Only use volunteers in roles that we feel offer valuable experiences and opportunities, and do not make excessive demands of a volunteer’s time
  • Ensure that all volunteers have a means by which to have their concerns or complaints heard and addressed
  • Provide regular opportunities for our volunteer community to provide feedback that will influence the activities we offer and the direction we take as an organisation

For any part of this document that refers to contacting the Directors, we can be reached using [email protected].

2. Guidelines

(I) Recruitment

Pint of Science recruit volunteers based on enthusiasm and commitment, and we will never discriminate based on background (including age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity or religious belief). If you want to help communicate research to the public and you’re willing to give up your time to do so, we will do our best to find you a rewarding role where one exists.

We are typically approached by people looking for a volunteering opportunity, under which circumstances we will put them in touch with their local team who will be able to provide more details on available roles. In the rare situation that we are seeking volunteers, we will advertise via relevant channels (including social media, our own mailing list and locally within universities).

(II) Expenses

Given the scale of Pint of Science, it is not possible for us to cover all associated expenses and teams are required to seek funding for their local festival. We will provide support in the form of ideas and advice for fundraising, and we never expect Pint of Science to be funded by volunteers personally. In the rare situation that a volunteer is required to travel long-distance for Pint of Science business or organise a special event on our behalf (this does not include standard events taking place over the main festival period in May), we will cover expenses. We have an official expenses form for this process, please ensure that any expenses you intend to claim have been agreed in advance by the Directors.

(III) Induction and training

We induct and train all volunteers via two main channels; firstly, an organised hierarchy of knowledge and responsibility (see diagram below) that ensures there is always somebody to provide information and advice. For any part of this document that refers to informing a manager, please refer to this diagram when deciding who to contact. Secondly, all volunteers have access to our Organisers’ Website, a repository of information that contains all the resources to create a Pint of Science festival from scratch.

Event Managers > Coordinators > Chapter Managers >Directors


(IV) Grievance policy

Pint of Science is run by volunteers who are constantly learning and trying their hand at new things, so it’s inevitable that occasionally things won’t run exactly as planned and, consequently, working relationships can sometimes be strained. Our aim is to resolve any disputes by establishing a dialogue and ensuring all parties feel their voices have been heard.

We encourage all volunteers to make their manager aware of any concerns or complaints. These can then be passed on as necessary, where immediate resolution is not possible. Event Managers and local team members should inform their City Coordinators in the first instance, who in turn consult their Chapter Managers, who in turn consult the Directors. Should a volunteer feel uncomfortable following this chain of reporting (for instance, because the grievance concerns the manager in question) then they are very welcome to contact the Directors. We will discuss your grievance with you and come to a mutually agreed decision over action that should be taken.

               (V) Data protection

We expect all volunteers to comply with our privacy policy, which can be found here online at https://pintofscience.co.uk/privacy-policy/.

Appropriate consent should be obtained for any personal data that you collect as part of festival organisation (e.g. contact details of organisers/speakers, photographs taken at events). Contact details should be deleted once they are no longer required by local teams. We have forms for obtaining photography consent available on the Organisers’ Website, allowing us to keep photographs and video for use in future publicity materials. Please contact the Directors if you have any queries.

               (VI) Insurance

Pint of Science has public liability insurance that covers our events. It is expected that these events will take place in pubs, cafes, lecture theatres and office spaces, with an average of 50 – 100 people in attendance. All activities undertaken are considered low risk in nature, with adequate risk assessments taken (available to download from our Organisers’ Website), and appropriate safety equipment used, and correct procedures followed. Interval activities and demos must not use flammable, toxic or hazardous chemicals, and organisers must make use of appropriate safety equipment/procedures.

If for any reason you believe your event may deviate from the above expectations, please inform the Directors immediately. Failure to do so may result in the event being uninsured.

If you intend to use your personal vehicle for your volunteering (e.g. transport of merchandise etc.), please ensure this has been cleared by your insurer – most insurers cover volunteering activities for free but will need to be informed.

               (VII) Health and Safety

Volunteers are to run their events in a safe and responsible manner in line with good health and safety practices. Our Organisers’ Website offers risk assessment forms (along with common risks to consider when planning events), lifting techniques and advice for securing cables at events. We expect events to be low risk in nature, with adequate risk assessments taken (available to download from our Organisers’ Website), and appropriate safety equipment used, and correct procedures followed. Before each event, organisers need to make sure that the venue is visibly clean and risk free, and make sure when setting up equipment that it is done safely and correctly. Organisers also need to make sure that the fire safety doors are within reach and not blocked. Risk Assessment forms need to be completed before events and kept until after the events have concluded. If you have any concerns around risk and need advice on how to mitigate risk at your events, you can always contact the Directors.

               (VIII) Branding and satellite events

Our main festival takes place in May, but some teams may wish to put on satellite events outside of the main festival period. We kindly request that you consult the Directors (via Chapter Managers) before putting on any satellite events as we will want to check the event content aligns with our organisational aims. Only events that are uploaded to the Pint of Science website are considered Pint of Science output – providing sound research is at the heart of the event, we’ll be happy to host it on the website. Volunteers agree to refrain from using the Pint of Science name or branding at any events that are not pre-agreed and ticketed via the website.

               (IX) Reward and recognition

Pint of Science aims to recognise the hard work of volunteers by running celebratory events and/or awards when we can. We are also happy to offer volunteers certification of their Pint of Science involvement where required - please email [email protected]

3. Volunteer Conduct

Below we outline our expectations of our volunteers. We like to think they are reasonable and mostly common sense, but if you have any questions or issues let the Directors know. Failure to meet these expectations may lead to dismissal as a volunteer (this is extremely rare and in almost all cases we will have a conversation with you before this is considered).

(I) Regular communication and general conduct

We expect that volunteers maintain good communication with the rest of their team, including any managerial contacts including Coordinators and Chapter Managers (where appropriate). We don’t want Pint of Science to overwhelm any volunteers in terms of workload, which is why it’s important that volunteers are willing to commit to maintaining regular contact throughout the year. If you know in advance that you won’t be able to commit to the role for a period of time, please let your Coordinator or Chapter Manager know in advance.

We want Pint of Science to be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved, so please always be civil with your team-mates and sensitive to the fact that everybody is a volunteer and ‘learning on the job’. We outline our grievance policy above, but we hope that most minor conflicts can be easily avoided or quickly resolved by all team members treating one another with respect.

(II) Ambassadors for the organisation

As a Pint of Science organiser, you are the face of the organisation – in any emails you send or face to face meetings you conduct during the organisation of the festival, you are acting as an ambassador for the community at large. As such, please always be polite and courteous, even if the situation is stressful. If any issues arise and you aren’t sure how to deal with them, don’t suffer in silence – always let your Coordinator or Chapter Manager know and we can help resolve the issue.

At events, please ensure you wear the Pint of Science t-shirt (provided) so attendees know you’re on hand to assist. When hosting events, volunteers should be sensitive to the diversity of the audience – please avoid saying anything that could offend or cause upset, and if you accidentally do so please apologise.

(III) Speakers

When organising an event you will have the freedom to select speakers who you think are engaging, exciting and will speak on a topic that is of interest to the wider community. We ask that you take the time to properly research these speakers to ensure the legitimacy and relevance of their research to your event. Speakers do not need to have prior public engagement experience, although we expect you to work with your speakers and use the training provided by Pint of Science to ensure that they are as prepared as possible for the festival.

Speakers are volunteers too and we ask that you treat them with the same courtesy and respect that you would for any other team member. Please remember to thank your speakers on the night and with a follow up email after the festival. As always, if any problems arise that you are uncomfortable with, please escalate them to your Coordinator or Chapter Manager.

(IV) Confidentiality

As a Pint of Science volunteer, you will have access to documentation that is confidential in nature, including sponsorship packages and evaluation data. Please consider any material that we have not placed in the public domain as sensitive and confidential, and refrain from sharing it publicly. 

(V) Sponsors

Pint of Science are very open to collaboration; we believe that working with others is the best way to maximise impact. We request however that you inform your Coordinator/Chapter Manager before reaching out to a prospective partner organisation for sponsorship. We have certain guidelines regarding sponsorship, and to ensure fairness to all our partners it’s essential that we can review any sponsorship offer centrally before agreeing to terms. The same applies if you are contacted directly by a sponsor. University funding grants are an exception to this; you do not need to inform the central team before applying. Please inform your Coordinator/Chapter Manager if you are applying for any society or public engagement grants, as other cities may be doing the same and we can advise where necessary.