Non-profit organizations rely on their volunteers to enable them to deliver on whatever the non-profit’s mission is for the constituents that they serve. These organizations typically operate on a slim budget, often with little professional staff. Volunteers frequently are the backbone of these organizations, without whom they could not be effective.
However, too often, these same non-profit organizations, neglect to perform proper, “best practices” background checks on their volunteers. Some may perform an inadequate non-compliant criminal database check. Others do not even perform this minimal level of background check.
The risk to the non-profit organization, its donors, employees, volunteers, and constituents is great, particularly when the non-profit organization serves a vulnerable population, such as children, the elderly, individuals with special needs, or similar types of people. Predatory individuals will seek out non-profit organizations that serve whatever group they are targeting, under the guise of being a benevolent caring soul, when in fact these predators are preying on the types of people that the non-profit is trying to help.
Performing a “best practices” background check on volunteers (and employees) is critical for all non-profit organizations. “Best practices” generally means checking for criminal records under all legal names and for all counties that the individual has lived in over the past seven years. If the mission of the non-profit is truly to be fulfilled, it cannot be accomplished without evaluating the backgrounds and ensuring the integrity of the staff and volunteers that serve the constituents of the organization.
When hiring a company to perform the volunteer and/or employee background checks for your non-profit organization, be sure that you use a reliable background screening company, and one that is also a reputable consumer reporting agency (CRA). A trustworthy CRA understands the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the federal law that not only regulates employee and volunteer background checks, but imposes very specific disclosure requirements, both upon the CRA and the employer, including non-profit organizations.
Posted by: Rudy Troisi. President, Reliable Background Screening.