Volunteer Background Checks for Nonprofits

Background checks for volunteers working at nonprofits have always been essential. Just as criminal background checks are important for businesses, as they mitigate risk, particularly risk from Negligent Hiring and Retention Liability laws, nonprofits often have an even higher level of responsibility.

Nonprofits commonly serve vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. It is unfortunate but true that predators seek their victims, often by volunteering at nonprofits for the express purpose of abusing the very clients that the nonprofits serve. These nonprofit clients are the targets of their prey, giving these predators a plethora of individuals for them to choose as potential persons they can next abuse. For this reason alone, it is critical for nonprofits to perform volunteer criminal background checks.

Regrettably, too frequently nonprofits — if they perform any type of background check — only perform a cursory criminal database check because of their concern for cost. However, no criminal database exists that covers the entire country. Even the “FBI files” only have about fifty percent of all the crimes in the country (and many nonprofits rely on fingerprint cards obtained from this source, believing they have sufficiently protected their organization and the clients they serve — a false sense of security). It is important for nonprofits to also perform county criminal record searches on their volunteers, based upon the address and name history of each volunteer candidate, in order to obtain a “best practices” criminal background check.

Volunteer Background Checks for Covid-19 Vaccination Centers

In the pandemic environment that the world exists in today, Covid-19 Vaccinations Centers have been, and will continue to be established. Individuals receiving these vaccines are required to provide their Government ID and hence their PII (personally identifiable information — name, date of birth, address, and often social security number), to verify that they are in fact eligible and are the individual for whom the vaccine appointment was made.

These Covid-19 Vaccination Centers are requesting volunteers — both medical and non-medical volunteers — to staff this herculean effort. Some of these centers are open 24/7, making the need for continually seeking more volunteers an ongoing, difficult process.

Performing volunteer criminal background checks is essential, not only for safeguarding the PII of the people being vaccinated, but also for protecting all the volunteers and staff, as well as the individuals coming to the Vaccination Center to be vaccinated.

Volunteer Criminal Background Checks Continue to be Important

Volunteer screening is nothing new. Performing criminal background checks on volunteers has always been crucial to safeguarding the clients of nonprofits and helping these nonprofit organizations to successfully complete their respective missions. Of course, too often, nonprofits are performing only a criminal database check, which does not sufficiently protect them. Nonprofit organizations also need to perform county criminal record searches to obtain a “best practices” volunteer background check.

However, in the pandemic world we all live in today, obtaining “best practices” volunteer background checks on the myriad of volunteers that Covid-19 Vaccination Centers around the country require to operate, is also critical. If these Covid-19 Vaccination Centers do not implement thorough volunteer screening programs, they are placing the safety of the program, as well as the safety of the individuals being vaccinated, their staffs and their volunteers at risk.

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

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