One of the best ways to protect your organization and volunteers is by doing volunteer background screening.

Volunteers can help you expand your reach and share your organization’s mission. Having a large number of volunteers is valuable, however, the quality of those volunteers is just as important and volunteer background screening can help.

When volunteer background screening is mentioned, your first thought may not be the value it adds to your nonprofit. It is easy to brush it off as too expensive, too cumbersome, or simply unnecessary. There is a wide variety of perspectives on what background screening should entail and the immense value it can add to an organization.

Prevent Fraud and Theft with Volunteer Background Screening

Picture this, you bring a new volunteer into your organization. They earn your trust by always being on time and getting the job done. You need someone to bring equipment back to your office before the end of a big fundraiser. No one from your team has time, so you enlist this volunteer to take the equipment back for you. After being a trusted volunteer for months, why wouldn’t you trust them with this simple task?

Before you know it, you don’t see the volunteer or the equipment again. How could this happen?

This situation happens more often than you think. A prepared organization would have taken the time to properly screen volunteers to prevent this type of situation. Perhaps multiple theft records could have been uncovered through a background check, displaying a pattern of behavior that may have disqualified that volunteer to begin with.

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Brand Representation

It doesn’t matter if you are a for-profit or nonprofit, your brand is a direct representation of your organization. Your team and volunteers play a large role in creating your reputation in the community. Each person you bring into your nonprofit can be a walking billboard sharing the message you are trying to convey.

On top of that, like many others, your organization has likely spent hard earned funds on building and promoting your brand.  But regrettably, many do not allocate any funds to help protect their brand.

Making sure you have properly checked each individual’s background could ensure they are representing your brand in the best light.

Peace of Mind

Knowing your staff and volunteers have been properly screened will allow you to sleep well at night. You will feel at ease knowing everyone you bring into your organization is there for the right reasons and wants to be a part of your mission. Protecting your nonprofit early on will help verify your volunteers have the correct intention with the background to match.

Volunteer Background Screening Made Easy

Background screening adds value by protecting what you work so hard to build. Understanding the value it adds is only the first step to a successful volunteer background screening process. The second step is structuring a successful onboarding procedure.

Having a seamless background screening process will help alleviate frustration and unnecessary worry from all parties involved. Communicating all information upfront and being transparent will allow volunteers to trust your efforts.

“By implementing a volunteer screening program, an organization is taking a critical additional step towards demonstrating its care not only for its cause, but for the people directly affected by that organization’s efforts. It is an often undervalued tool that actually adds value in many ways.  Providing a much needed layer of trust, a background screening policy is an affordable way an organization can take a proactive measure to ensure a healthy future,” said Dave Klotz, Regional Vice President of Sales at Trak-1.

Setting a Clear Goal

Communicating the entire procedure to volunteers during their application process will build trust. Many people are uneasy sharing their private information out of fear of identity theft. If they do not feel comfortable sharing their social security number, you can ease that fear and use a screening company that doesn’t necessarily need their SSN in order to do a criminal and sex offender record search.

Taking the time to create a clear onboarding process will not only save your team time but it will produce efficiency.

Application and Screening

Make sure all of the necessary data is written into the application. Each volunteer might have a different set of criteria that will need to be selected depending on the role they are applying for. For example, creating a section for their driver’s license information if they will be driving a car.

Using a volunteer management software makes this process even easier. The background screening company can fully integrate with the volunteer registration process. The volunteer registration will include a questionnaire, proper disclosure, and authorization to allow the individual to be screened. The results will be automatically sent to the admin’s system.

This makes the entire procedure simple for your organization and the new volunteer. After the results are back, you can proceed with further interviews or bring them on board. The background screening process will take a limited amount of time and allows your employees to feel at ease that you took the extra step to protect your organization. No matter how small or large your organization is, make sure to develop the plan that best fits your needs. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming and tedious to be effective.

Training Program 

Once you are ready to move forward, create a tailored training program for the new volunteers. This is a great way to set the tone and build confidence within your volunteers.

Supervision and Feedback

After the volunteer background screening process has been completed and you feel confident in your choice, continuing supervision is highly encouraged. Observing your team and giving feedback will only make them stronger. It shows that you take interest in them and the well-being of your nonprofit. This also allows for you to be highly aware of any activity taking place inside your nonprofit.

Being aware can assure your team that the organization is secure and you have taken the time to protect it.

Background screening helps protect your nonprofit from fraud, theft, brand destruction, and unnecessary stress. Developing a structured onboarding procedure will make the background screening process simple and quick. If you don’t protect your organization now, it could be very costly later on.

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