How Background Screening Can Help You Get to Know Your Volunteers

March 16, 2022 by Verified First

ACS Nonprofit Blog

Getting to know your volunteers is a great way to improve your nonprofit’s company culture. While you could already be on a first-name basis with many volunteers, truly knowing those you’re inviting to serve in your organization goes beyond face value. There is more to a person than a name. Ask yourself, “how well do I really know my volunteers?” 

This important question must be answered in order to promote safety within your organization. No matter the size of your team, selecting volunteers is an important process. Many organizations allow volunteers to choose a specific department to donate their time. However, allowing volunteers to select how they serve without understanding more about them could risk the safety of your staff, volunteers, and your community. 

We’ve compiled a list of tips for utilizing background checks to gain insight into your volunteers. By knowing a person’s past, you can determine if they’re the right fit now for your volunteer team. 

The Use of Background Checks

It’s easy to rationalize reasons not to look into a volunteer’s background. In theory, they share the same values and are generously donating their time, so they must be a good person…Right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. According to recent statistics, those convicted of violent crimes neared record-breaking numbers in 2021, meaning potential safety threats are prominent across the U.S. in any organization.

Good and trustworthy volunteers are identified through background checks and screens. When running a background check or screen on volunteers, you gain information on their:

  • Previous convictions - Whether major or minor, screening a volunteers’ background will uncover previous convictions.
  • Identity checks - A background check will prove that a volunteer is who they claim to be.
  • Overall character - Understanding their past will help determine whether they’re presently fit to serve.
  • And more

A background check will provide a comprehensive picture of a person’s life inside and outside of your organization. It’s a trustworthy method to vet volunteers before they serve and protect others within your nonprofit.

Specific Background Checks to Your Organization

Whether serving with members of your community or providing information for visitors, your volunteers are people-centered. Because of this, all volunteers should be vetted through a basic screening package that gleans a general understanding of their history. 

From that point, you can assess further background screening needs by evaluating the opportunities for volunteers within your organization’s departments. There are specific searches that can help determine a volunteer’s fit for any role. Here are some common background searches that many organizations utilize:

  1. National Sex Offender Registry - checks information on sex offenders that are required to register within their state as sexual/violent offenders
  2. Motor vehicle records - checks the driving records of an individual whose position requires driving
  3. Criminal history - checks an individual’s past criminal convictions 
  4. Education references - checks an individual’s academic references 
  5. Consumer credit report - checks an individual’s credit reports for those working with finances 

Running a Background Check

Once you’ve determined if additional screens are necessary, you’re ready to start. Finding the resources to screen volunteers on your own can be time-consuming and expensive. 

Instead, utilize a background screening provider to handle all of your screening needs for you. Verified First not only provides you with a screening solution, but our solution allows us to integrate within your nonprofit management software to better manage and maintain background checks all in one place. You can find our platform currently integrated within these volunteer management solutions.

  • Volgistics
  • ACS Technologies
  • VolunteerLocal
  • VolunteerMark

We’ve helped nonprofits cut their background check processing time by 67%. When you screen with us, we can offer peace of mind that those who join your volunteer team have been screened to serve your nonprofit. Our volunteer management case study details how organizations (like you!) have utilized our screening packages to continue their mission and serve their communities. 

In Conclusion

You want to trust that those you place on volunteer teams hold the same values as your nonprofit's. In order to identify the best fit for your volunteer needs, screen your candidates with background checks. Background checks are a secure way to understand a person’s past and determine their present character. Chat with us to learn more about how Verified First can help you understand your volunteers through screening. 

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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