It is customary for employers to conduct background checks for potential employees. A comprehensive background screening process can raise the probability that the employer will make the best possible hiring decision. But what about background screening for volunteers? Do nonprofit organizations need to follow the same procedures when accepting volunteers as employers with potential paid employees?
The answer is yes. Volunteers, much like employees, represent the organization they work for. Any issues or incidents that occur can have a negative impact. When it comes to nonprofits, in some ways the stakes can be even higher. Many nonprofits deal directly with many vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly. It’s the nonprofit’s duty to ensure to the best of their ability the volunteers they are utilizing are appropriate and will provide a safe environment.
Another reason to include comprehensive background screening when selecting volunteers is to protect an organization’s reputation. It is critical for a nonprofit to have the best reputation possible. A negative reputation can cause significant harm to any value it is trying to bring to the community or cause it serves. By approving volunteers that are not appropriate a nonprofit may risk their ability to continue their mission.
One best practice for nonprofits would be to select a reputable background screening company, able to provide all the services necessary to complete a thorough screen. Looking for a company that is accredited with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) is a good start. That way the nonprofit can be sure they are partnering with a company committed to following all regulations, laws, and best practices that affect the background screening industry.
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Background Checks Crucial for Nonprofits