You probably already know the dangers of not screening employees during the hiring process. But did you know that screening volunteers can be just as critical? Just because they’re offering you their time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be safe – a volunteer with an unsafe background could jeopardize your mission and do more harm than good. Here are 4 reasons you’ll want to consider performing a background screening check on your volunteers:
1. The law requires it.
In some situations, a background check may be required not just for employees at your organization, but also for your volunteers. If you work with children or the elderly, your state could require you to perform background screening checksbefore accepting your volunteers.
2. It builds trust inside your organization.
Just like in an office, background screening checks in a volunteer-based organization help build trust. By providing a mechanism to guarantee safety and encourage honesty, you’ll ensure that your volunteer groups trust each other and your organization.
3. You can screen for job-related shortcomings.
If you plan to have a volunteer drive a van or handle money, for example, you can use a background check to ensure that they’re qualified. A person who has a history of traffic violations may not be the best choice to drive, while a person who has theft-related charges on their background check might not be a good person to handle money. When you’re giving volunteers specific jobs, a background check can help you find patterns of negative behavior that may be related to these jobs.
4. You’ll ensure quality volunteers.
In some cases, you may wish to verify that your volunteer has the experience they may claim on an application or in an interview. For example, if you’re seeking out volunteer SAT tutors that have graduated from college, you may wish to screen to ensure that this is legitimate. While most volunteers are honest, you can help protect your organization’s image by double checking the information you’re given.
Of course, how you choose to vet your volunteers is up to you. We recommend looking for patterns, just as you would during the hiring process. In many cases, a single incident that occurred years ago may be in the past. However, a pattern of “bad behavior” may affect your volunteer’s behavior at your organization. Much like hiring an employee, you’ll want to take a look at problems that affect what the volunteer will be doing with your organization.