Volunteers are just like any other staff member that comes into your organization. Volunteer screening is essential if not legally required. It is important to know as much as you can about each volunteer; just as you would if they were an employee. The safety and strength of your organization depends on proper screening.
Background screening reveals the prospective volunteer’s integrity, identity and true background. In addition, screening may reveal a criminal past that simply makes a volunteer unsuitable for some or all volunteer positions.
This is the most important reason to screen volunteer’s; to keep dangerous people away from your clients, the public and other organization staff members where they could do harm using your organization as a convenient means.
If your organization serves the public, the entire organization is at risk whenever and wherever a volunteer is placed; especially with at-risk populations such as children or the elderly.
Nonprofits that depend on federal and state funding are usually required to perform background screening on employees and volunteers. In addition, many states mandate screening of all individuals who have contact with certain classes of vulnerable individuals.
Volunteer screening allows a nonprofit to enjoy a good reputation in the community, which can lead to more support.
Often, just knowing your organization conducts background screening will be enough to keep away volunteers who might be seeking an opportunity to do harm.
Volunteer managers and nonprofit organizations are vulnerable to financial loss and inappropriate or dangerous behavior of volunteers. Screening can protect your organization, staff, and clientele from harm.