Conducting a background check at non-profit organizations involves volunteer screening to have access to information, such as their work experience, a record of nonprofits or other organizations they have worked for, and criminal conduct background checks to maintain a safe work environment.
It is an ongoing process that helps in identifying volunteers who may potentially cause harm to people at work, whether other volunteers or children, youth, elderlies, or other vulnerable individuals. Here’s more about why it’s important to screen volunteers.
Need for Volunteer Screening in Background Checks
Volunteers are a valuable addition to society as they donate their talent and time to various causes. Their selflessness and dedication to step up and help make a difference to the lives of people is a valuable asset not only to non-profit organizations but also to the lives they impact.
However, when having volunteer work for your organization, it is extremely crucial that you make sure that you work with people who genuinely care about contributing to your nonprofit. This is where volunteer screening can prove to be immensely useful for your organization. With that said, here are some of the reasons why you should make background checks for volunteers a mandatory screening requirement before volunteers start working with you.
There have been several instances wherein volunteers with ulterior motives have gained access to people, money, or resources for their selfish gains and, worse, criminal pursuits. Therefore, a background check for volunteers is extremely essential before you allow people to work for your organization.
6 Important Reasons for Volunteer Screening
Any mishap that takes place because of letting an undeserving individual work for your nonprofit can impact your organization and people in several ways. However, volunteer screening can be a simple addition to your interview process that gives you the peace of mind of having hired the right person with good intentions. Here are some of the key reasons why you should conduct volunteer screening.
Your nonprofit organization’s reputation is extremely important to ensure clients and people who are a part of it feel safe and comfortable. Further, maintaining a good reputation also helps attract more volunteers to join your organization. Volunteer screening helps offer people the assurance that you do your due diligence when recruiting volunteers and that volunteers joining your organization are safe to work with.
Reduces Risks for the Public
When you don’t have a proper protocol in place to verify the identity of volunteers you recruit, it might put the safety and lives of people in your organization at risk. When you perform a background check for volunteers, it helps you find out about the past behavior of the individual and also serves as an important factor when making the decision to recruit them. You can match what volunteers mention about their dedication to working with your nonprofit with their background check report to ensure they’re reliable and trustworthy.
Preserves Integrity and Liability
When you work with vulnerable populations, volunteer background checks become an indispensable part of your recruitment process. The vulnerable population comprises children, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those who manage confidential as well as financial information.
If a mishap takes place in your organization, chances are high that you will be held liable for negligent selection of volunteers if you didn’t conduct a criminal history and background check before recruiting.
Ensures Secured Future
Any terrible incident has the potential to cause your nonprofit organization to be dissolved. While it might not be a common occurrence, it is also not worth the risk. While the central reason for this could be a bad volunteer who might have tried or accomplished to harm someone at work or gained access to confidential information, there are secondary reasons because of which your nonprofit might go under, such as bad press, negative media attention, and legal action.
These factors cause a lack of trust, and your intention of doing good might be completely overshadowed. Therefore, it is always better to take preventive steps so that the safety of your organization and the trust people have in your nonprofit is uncompromised.
One of the reasons why you must make volunteer background checks mandatory for every volunteer who expresses their interest in working with you is that some cities and states have laws and regulations concerning the vetting process for volunteers, especially for those who work with vulnerable groups. If your organization is in one of these cities or states, you are legally required to follow these regulations. Further, not complying with these regulations can attract steep fines and legal action.
Retaining volunteers who have been working with your nonprofit for several years can benefit you in many ways. Since these volunteers already have a good rapport with the clients and are thorough with the day-to-day work, it helps you in running your organization smoothly. It can be a great value addition for your nonprofit in the long term, and it also eliminates the need to recruit new volunteers too often because of drop-outs. Background checks and volunteer screening also help ensure you recruit volunteers who are the right fit for the position. It also helps create a better experience both for the volunteer and your organization, which is more likely to encourage the volunteer to stay in the role longer.
Given there are multitudinous reasons why you should perform a background check before recruiting a volunteer, it only makes sense that you incorporate volunteer screening into your recruitment process right away.
Volunteer screening can prove to be beneficial for your organization, your clients, other people working at your organization, as well as the volunteers you decide to recruit.
Familiarizing yourself with the responsibilities you may have to undertake when performing a background check on volunteers is extremely crucial to ensure you’re following all the right steps in doing so. You can find various resources online that cover the details of performing background checks for selecting suitable volunteers.