10 Reliable Background Checks for Volunteer Organizations

volunteer background checks for nonprofit organization

Does your non-profit org check your employees and run background checks for volunteers? If not, it may mean problems in the future.

Volunteers are often the “face” of the organization. Without volunteers, non-profit organizations could not function in the same way. However, non-profit organizations that send volunteers into the community without proper background checks have a big responsibility.

How do I choose a volunteer background processor without paying what a commercial for-profit client will pay? Read on.

The Most Popular Background Checks for Nonprofit Organizations

Before placing volunteers, non-profit organizations must conduct a thorough identity verification to ensure the safety of those assisting them. Similarly, background checks protect non-profits from the consequences of improper volunteer placement.

Below is a general list of recommended tests for volunteers:

  • Identity verification (including locating a Social Security Number).
  • Criminal control over violations and administrative offenses
  • Sex-offender search
  • Any government required tests
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These are some of the most popular inspections you can do today:

1. Criminal Checks

You’ll want to run an inquiry on the National Criminal Database and Sex Offender for any suspicious activity. We also recommend national criminal investigations, statewide criminal investigations, and city-wide criminal investigations. Some of these results may be returned immediately, while others may take up to a week or more.

2. Credit/Financial Checks

A credit or financial background check shows a complete credit history and provides information on public records and other matters that are not normally included in voluntary applications. A credit check can give organizations a sense of responsibility and financial stability for the volunteer. Credit checks are a useful tool for reducing potential liability for fraud, theft and various economic crimes.

3. Employment and Education Verification

You’ll want to get a service to contact the former employer’s HR offices and payroll departments to make sure that the applicant’s information is correct. Certificates of training confirm that the volunteers have been trained, including degrees, dates of participation, and area of training. These checks will be conducted to ensure that the training, qualifications, responsibilities, salary, and start and end dates of training are trustworthy in the application form or volunteer resume.

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4. Motor Vehicle Checks

When a volunteer is driving, this investigation reveals a detailed driving history, including violations, accidents and suspensions, as well as checking the number and status of the driver’s license. The response time is immediate.

5. Sex Offender Registry

The Dru Sjodin Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website Registry (NSPOW) includes real-time tracking of registered sex offenders in 49 states. We highly recommend running a check of your applicant through this online registry. It offers full and real-time data of any crimes or offenses.

6. Work with Kids Checks

In some states, organizations working with children are required by law to conduct checks and investigations of volunteers to ensure they are not sex offenders. As with any background checks, there is absolutely a need for such checks.

There is child care licensing courses that would be necessary for most volunteers working with children and, if no license is required, at least run thorough background checks.

7. Drug Test

Volunteer drug use can affect the effectiveness and finances of an organization. Volunteer HR teams rely on drug testing to keep illicit drug users away from potential volunteers and beneficiaries and to discourage current volunteers from using drugs in the workplace.

8. Social Media Checks

Scanning social networking sites can be very valuable for volunteer managers in the integration process because it humanizes the candidate. On the other hand, media profiles can reveal both positive and negative information in the public domain. Media research should be conducted as late as possible in the recruitment process in order to avoid bias.

9. ID Verification

Identity verification provides organizations with an additional level of security to protect them from the possibility of the applicant volunteer providing a fake social security number or government issued identification for identity verification. Today, advanced photographic technology can help verify that the identification used in the screening process is a legitimate government identification.

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10. Re-Screen

Some volunteers may return year after year to help your organization. They may have passed the first test, but things change and so do people. For the same reasons that volunteers need to be accompanied by superiors a part of the organization, it is advisable to test them again.

** Note: Volunteers should also know that they will be tested and that they have agreed to each test. They should know what information is being collected and be aware of their right to privacy.

Guide for Screening Your Volunteers’ Background

The main reason why NGOs do not evaluate their volunteers is because they feel the screening data is expensive and the money could otherwise be spent somewhere else for their needs and the needs of others.

The truth is, the world has changed since your parents or grandparents volunteered their time in the community. There are reasons for organizations to do a background check on their volunteers; history has led us to believe this is true.

The trick is to continue building trust between volunteers and your non-profit organization. A good start is a well thought out selection process and a professional screening platform.

If you’re interested in partnering with CreativeVolunteer and having one of our carefully selected volunteers create beautiful content for your cause, please email partner@volunteer-opportunities.org.

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