At first glance, the concept of country club member applicants welcoming the opportunity to pay for their member background checks may seem implausible.  However, when positioned properly by country club staff and the Club’s marketing materials, country club member background checks can be viewed as a valuable benefit by prospective club members for many reasons.

While some members might initially hesitate at the prospect of paying for these checks, when appropriately educated, these applicants will recognize the long-term advantages and added value that such checks provide, particularly when the average cost of a thorough member background check still pales in comparison to the five and six figure membership fees that are common at private county clubs.  Here’s how background checks can be perceived as a benefit:

  1. Enhanced Safety and Security: Background checks help ensure that all members have undergone a screening process, reducing the risk of individuals with problematic backgrounds, criminal histories, or other security concerns gaining membership. Prospective members appreciate the club’s commitment to their safety and peace of mind.
  2. Preservation of Club Culture: Country clubs often have specific values, traditions, and a unique social atmosphere. Background checks help maintain the club’s culture by ensuring that new members align with these values. Prospective members may be attracted to the idea of joining a club with a cohesive and like-minded community.
  3. Improved Social Experience: Prospective members may see background checks as a way to enhance their social experience within the club. Knowing that other members have undergone similar screening processes can foster a sense of trust and compatibility, making it easier to form connections and build relationships.
  4. Maintaining Reputation: Exclusive private country clubs often take pride in their reputation and image. Background checks can protect the club’s image by helping to prevent individuals who could engage in behavior detrimental to the club’s reputation from gaining membership. Prospective members will recognize the value of paying for this added protection to maintain the club’s prestigious image, and more importantly helping to insure their substantial investment in the club.
  5. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Country clubs that conduct thorough background checks demonstrate their commitment to legal and regulatory compliance. All organizations are prohibited from doing business with anyone on various Government “Watch Lists” such as OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control).  The criminal and civil penalties of allowing an SDN (Specially Designated Nationals) to become a Club member are significant – up to ten years in Federal Prison, and up to a $1 million civil fine.
  6. Exclusive and Secure Environment: Background checks contribute to maintaining an exclusive and secure club environment. Prospective members who value the exclusivity and privacy of the club will see the cost of background checks as a worthwhile investment.
  7. Long-Term Sustainability: Members understand that background checks contribute to the long-term sustainability of the club. By screening members for financial stability and compatibility, the club can better plan for the future and invest in improvements and upgrades. Prospective members will appreciate the club’s financial prudence and stability.
  8. Transparency and Trust: Communicating the value of background checks and the transparency of the screening process can build trust with prospective members. When individuals understand the benefits and the reasons behind the checks, they are more likely to see them as a valuable service.
  9. Efficient Screening Process: Country clubs that handle background checks efficiently, using online platforms or streamlined procedures, can make the process convenient for prospective members. Also be sure to utilize a reliable background screening company to ensure your Club is providing proper disclosures that are needed to perform these background checks.  This efficiency can be an attractive feature for those considering membership.
  10. Peace of Mind: Knowing that all members have undergone background checks can provide a sense of trust and confidence in the club’s membership, contributing to a more enjoyable experience.

To effectively convey these benefits, country clubs can include a clear explanation of the screening process in their membership materials and during the application process. They can also emphasize the advantages of being part of a community that prioritizes safety, security, and the preservation of a unique club culture. By doing so, prospective members are more likely to see the cost of background checks as a reasonable investment in their overall club experience.

Remember, it is not just the affluent who have the money for exclusive country clubs.  Criminals and terrorists are also flush with money.  The cost of a thorough member background check is truly insignificant when compared to the overall investment members make when joining your Club.  The type of member your Club wants to have will recognize the value of paying for their background check.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, L.P.I., President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening

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