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Should You Get Background Checks for Volunteers?

Posted by Ryan Howard on Tue, Mar 11, 2014

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You probably know that it's wise to run an employment criminal background check for any employee you hire, but what about your volunteers? If you hire volunteers, should you run background checks for them too? The answer is yes.

Why do you need to run employment background checks for volunteers? Let's take a closer look:

To protect your business

If you're going to allow volunteers access to anything valuable or proprietary about your business, such as sensitive data like customer information or money, you'll want to avoid any potential problems that could arise if the volunteers you accept have criminal records.

To protect your customers

Your customers have a right to expect that if they patronize your business, those who serve them will do so safely and effectively. It's especially true that if your business serves particularly vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly, you need to be sure that you're not putting them at risk by allowing volunteers with records of abuse to serve in your organization.

To protect yourself

In some cases, you may be required to run employment background checks on volunteers before you accept their help. States have increasingly adopted new laws in recent years that either suggest or require background screening for both volunteers and employees. Check with your own state laws to see if you are required to do so – but again, even if you're not actually required to do so, it's still a good idea to protect you, your customers, and your business.

Volunteers must consent to employment background checks

You cannot simply run an employment criminal background check on volunteers or employees without their consent; they must give permission to do so.

How to run an accurate background check

The Internet has made it very easy to run background checks on employees and volunteers alike today, but you must be careful not to rely solely on criminal background database searches. While it's important to save money whenever possible, it's wise to choose a service that will run criminal background checks very effectively. This is where VeriFirst can help.

Why use a service like VeriFirst to perform an employee criminal background check?

Accuracy

So-called "free" employee criminal background check services or results pulled up by search engines won't always be accurate. Public records can also give inaccurate information, including false positives. False positives occur when potential volunteers are screened and shown to have criminal records when in fact they don't. This of course is unfair to potential volunteer in question, but it also means that you miss out on the kind of qualified help you need for your business or organization. An accuracy service like VeriFirst verifies the results of your background check searches, thus assuring you that the results you get are as accurate as possible.

Cost-effectiveness

It's imperative to your business or organizational success that you control costs and make the best use of your budget. VeriFirst knows:

  • you need to select the most efficient criminal record search based upon your budget
  • it can be very expensive to run every County or State a particular volunteer applicant has lived in – impossible, perhaps.

By partnering with VeriFirst, you receive access to a strong criminal database and the expertise necessary so the results come from relevant searches of specific county courts and other judicial bodies as necessary.

Protect your organization, yourself, and those you serve by running employment criminal background checks on everyone who has a role in your business – including your volunteers. Let us know how we can help.

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Topics: Employment Background Screening