Posted by Ryan Howard on Tue, Jul 03, 2018
As a non-profit, volunteers are often the face of your organization. Volunteering may appear to be selfless dedication of time, but the individuals must also be trustworthy and honest. Instead of opting out of background checks for volunteers due to time restraints or cost, consider the value of working with someone who is a truly helpful and powerful representative and who has been vetted thoroughly.
Don't skip background checks. Save money with a volunteer background check policy.
Why Are Volunteer Background Checks Important?
Let's consider many types of volunteer opportunities:
- Community service
- Chaperones for school field trips
- Sports league coaching
- Summer camps
- Unpaid internships
- Animal shelters
- Aging, elderly or disabled care, in-home or at a facility
In many of these situations, the volunteer is working with a vulnerable population - children or those who may be unable to speak up for themselves. When considering unpaid internships, businesses are also putting themselves at risk by sharing company data and allowing access to resources normally available to employees. Volunteers are being trusted as employees in all of these situations and should be treated as such, including running background checks.
How Does a Volunteer Background Check Policy Save Money?
Depending on how often volunteers are accepted to work for an organization and who's coordinating them, their experiences may be different. A volunteer background check policy can help ensure a consistent process for attracting, screening and coordinating volunteers. A background check policy provides assistance so that if you're bringing in one volunteer a year or several volunteers in a month, the procedures have been documented and will be followed closely. An online applicant consent portal will also help reduce the time spent obtaining background checks because of the reduced likelihood of data entry errors. The consistency in procedural "hiring" of volunteers will reduce the time spent figuring out paperwork and what background checks to run, ultimately saving both time and money.
What is Included in a Volunteer Background Check Policy?
The volunteer background check policy will include:
- The purpose of the background checks
- The guidelines for obtaining the background checks
- How to obtain consent to run a background check
- Which screens will be conducted at a minimum
- Which additional screens will be needed for certain job requirements
- Which background check results will immediately exclude a volunteer
- How to follow adverse action procedures if the volunteer will be exluded
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other state and local laws that apply to volunteer background checks
Because not every background check needs to be conducted on every volunteer, non-profits and other organizations can also save time and money. There should be a minimum background check requirements such as identity verification, criminal background check, sex offender search and any other state volunteer requirements. If the volunteer will be driving as part of the job responsibility, they should also be screened for drugs and any moving violations.
Adhering to employment laws such as the FCRA can help keep your organization out of a courtroom or paying harsh penalties for not informing applicants of their rights and why they are being denied the opportunity. Any state audits of the non-profit may also look for proof that the organization is following laws that apply to those that work with children or the elderly.
How to Save Money on Volunteer Background Checks
A volunteer background check can help save money but so can working with the right background check vendor. A reputable background screening company will have experience in background checks for volunteer and will also be accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. They should provide guidance on which background checks apply, best practices for selecting volunteers, how to comply with federal, state and local laws, as well as opportunities to save more money with discounted rates for non-profits and other volunteer organizations.
Building trust with your constituency means accepting trustworthy volunteers who will best represent you. Consider working with a professional background check company who understands your time and financial constraints and can still help you find the best volunteers for your organization.
VeriFirst offers discounted rates for volunteers and non-profits.
Click to request a quote
Topics: Types of Background Checks