Not too long ago someone could sign up to volunteer as their kid’s soccer coach or at a non-profit, no questions asked. Organizations were so happy just to have someone volunteering to join the cause that they didn’t assume any ill intent or that someone may not be trusted. Today volunteers are held to a higher standard. Some organizations may skip the screening of volunteers due to time constraints or cost. But for the safety of children, elderly, handicapped or even just the finances of a non-profit, a volunteer needs to be someone that can absolutely be trusted. Organizations need to accomplish their missions but at the same time protect the populations that they serve.
Does My Organization Need to Screen its Volunteers?
The quick answer. Yes! According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics, over 60 million people volunteer each year in the United States. They can be volunteering in churches, scouts, camps, homeless shelters, school and other organizations, completing tasks such at coaching, mentoring, serving food, fundraising and more.
In a report by the National Center for Victims of Crime, approximately 12% of organizations do NOT screen their volunteers after beginning their volunteer process.
Most organizations never re-screen volunteers after they have joined the team. This can put the people that an organization is trying to protect at risk. It is the organization’s due diligence to protect who they are serving. Many states have laws in place that require volunteers who work with children to have a background check and sex offender check.
Why Should My Organization Screen Volunteers?
- Comply with legal requirements
- Protect vulnerable populations such as children, elderly and the handicapped
- For the safety of the public
- To avoid public or media backlash in the event of an incident
- Assurance for the customers of an organization
- To avoid loss of customers
What Type of Volunteer Background Check Does My Organization Need?
This check will verify the full name, any aliases, date of birth, social security number, and address history of a potential volunteer.
This five-panel drug test can be taken at multiple locations across the country and will determine the use of opiates, methamphetamines, amphetamines, cocaine, and THC/marijuana.
This check will include searches in the National Criminal Database and a Sex Offender search. It can also include a State-wide, Federal and County criminal search.
If special skills, experience, or previous work experience are needed by an organization, an employment verification can provide any employment records needed by an organization.
For any volunteers that will be driving an organization’s vehicle or transporting the population an organization serves, a motor vehicle report will reveal a potential volunteer’s driving history. This check will verify the driver’s license number and status as well as any violations, accidents and suspensions.
Volunteers involved in an organization’s finance may be required to have a credit check. This will help determine the potential volunteer’s current financial status.
Minimum requirements for a volunteer may include certain degrees or professional licenses. This check will verify any licenses and accreditations as requested.
Our Organization’s Volunteer Passed the Screening. Now What?
Once a volunteer passes an organization’s responsibilities regarding the background check, it does not stop there. Volunteer’s who return year after year are suggested to have checks completed each calendar year. This is because a volunteer who passed the initial check may not necessarily keep their record as clean as when they first started.
Volunteers must always give consent for each background check completed, even for rescreens.