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Volunteer Background Checks: Guide for Screening Volunteers in 2021

By on 2021-09-10 10:06:02, 0 Comments

Volunteers screening check

Volunteers, especially those who are truly dedicated and highly competent, can significantly help an organization, particularly in its day-to-day operations. In the same way, volunteers also grow from their time and experience in an organization. As beneficial as volunteerism is, or since it could be beneficial for many people, thorough volunteer screening is a must.

Every reputable organization surely has a volunteer screening process in place. Still, some don’t go beyond the surface when they verify potential volunteers. For instance, not every organization conducts a volunteer background check beyond education and work background. This article is meant to provide important information about conducting proper and effective background checks.

 

Why Do Volunteers Need To Be Screened?

Surely, people who volunteer their time and skills to any organization only have the best intentions. Well, as much as we’d like to believe this, unfortunately, this is not always true. There are instances that people are not fuelled by the right intentions in volunteering. This could lead to several problems for the organization. At the same time, a volunteer’s full potential might not be properly utilized.

Volunteer screening is in place for the sake of the organization, the public, and the volunteers themselves. A thorough volunteer background check is therefore crucial to ensure the best interest of the various people affected by the work of any organization.

  • The Organization

Background checks for volunteers help ensure the organization’s reputation and integrity are not jeopardized. They will be the ones who interact with the public. They, like your regular employees, will therefore be representing your organization. For example, with fundraisers, the volunteers will be the ones helping in setting up the event, collecting funds, and more.

The volunteers will inevitably be associated with your organization. This means their actions, especially when dealing with people, will reflect on you and have an impact on the way people see your organization. Whether it’s rude behavior or criminal misconduct, your organization’s reputation will definitely suffer. This would affect your integrity and consequently, the people’s trust in your organization.

Moreover, since volunteers are part of your organization, you might be held liable for any misconduct or negligence on their part. A volunteer background check is an excellent way to ensure someone is fit or suitable for your organization. This is especially when you cater to more vulnerable groups of people like seniors, children, and the sick. A volunteer background screening is also crucial if the said volunteer will be dealing with sensitive data such as financial information.

Background checks for volunteers at schools and hospitals are required by law due to the aforementioned reasons. For instance, non-paid employees or volunteers for hospices are required to undergo a criminal background check to ensure they are fit to deal with the sick and the elderly. This also ensures they will not conduct criminal activities targeting those they work with.

  • The Employees; The Public

Keep in mind your organization is not just you but also your employees. A careful and verified volunteer background check will ensure the safety of your employees and protect the reputation of your organization. For one, it would weed out those who have violent tendencies who could cause instances that would physically harm your employees. Also, remember any negligence of the volunteer that would damage the reputation of the organization might also put your employees’ jobs in jeopardy.

Screening volunteers is also about ensuring the safety of the people you cater to and the general public. A comprehensive background check will help ensure a volunteer can do a job without risk to the public. For example, a person who has been involved in multiple vehicular accidents should not be driving the bus during an outing for the residents in an assisted living home. It will also be irresponsible, not to mention against the law, to hire a convicted sex offender to be put in charge of organizing activities for kids.

  • The Volunteer

As mentioned, volunteerism is beneficial for both the organization and the volunteers. In connection to this, the proper screening will ensure the organization is a good fit for the volunteers. Aside from wanting what’s best for your organization, you must also look out for what’s best for your aspiring volunteers.

The information you get from a background check like education and work history will help in placing the volunteers in the best position. Take note that the best position is not only about where your organization would benefit most. The best position is also where the volunteer could use and improve their skills best.

 

Most Common Types Of Volunteers Background Checks

Types Of Volunteers Background Checks

Volunteer background checks are for the benefit of all parties involved. Mostly, background check types or requirements depend on the company’s industry. In general, the industries that would require background checks are Education, Health Care, Law, and Financial Services. Keep in mind although there is no single law that covers volunteer background checking, there are still certain laws, particularly at the state and local levels that might cover it.

To reiterate, volunteer background check requirements will most likely be based on the duties that the volunteers will perform. For instance, many states require some form of screening for volunteers for state activities in addition to those who volunteer in state-funded facilities, hospices, and schools.

Three federal laws apply to screening volunteers, namely:

  • National Child Protection Act of 1993 (NCPA) or Oprah’s Law

This allows schools, daycare facilities, and other organizations that cater to the youth to access criminal records from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  • Volunteers for Children Act of 1998 (VCA)

This expanded on the NCPAS to allow volunteer organizations to access federal criminal records by requesting them through a state agency.

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

This mainly deals with credit reports which could be one of the types of background checking that an organization may require. The FCRA also governs third-party background checks which might be utilized by organizations.

Volunteer background checks consist of several types. Again, this might depend on the industry your organization belongs to and the organization’s preferences. Here are the most common or popular types of background checks included in a thorough volunteer background check or screening process.

Employment and Education Verification

Unfortunately, there are volunteer applicants that attempt to embellish their educational attainments and work achievements. Some might even make use of someone else’s credentials and identity. Employment and education verification is most crucial for organizations in the health care and financial services industries. Overall, you’d want to ensure the volunteers are qualified for the job.

Criminal Checks

Volunteers criminal check

This is typically the type most associated with background checking and is at the core of a thorough volunteer screening. Criminal background checks pull up data across various criminal databases. You will also access national, state, and county court records. Although not exactly required by law, it’s a wise move for an organization to undertake.

Sex Offender Registry

If your organization caters to children whom volunteers will closely work with, then you should always check the Dru Sjodin Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website Registry. It complies with listings of registered sex offenders in real-time which is helpful for schools and other youth-serving organizations.

Drug Tests

Substance abuse not only speaks of irresponsibility but also greatly impairs one’s sensibilities. A volunteer who takes illegal substances is most likely not fit to do volunteer work especially for positions requiring an emphasis on safety. Moreover, it will not only negatively impact the safety of everyone but also the reputation of your organization.

Credit/Financial Checks

This is most fitting for organizations in the financial services industry. However, this can also be done even if you’re not exactly in finance. Financial and credit history can speak of how stable and responsible prospective volunteers are as individuals.

Social Media Checks

A person’s social media posts and activities say a lot about their character. For instance, someone who is prone to ranting or posting negative comments or even bullying others on social media is most likely not fit for working well with other people.

Motor Vehicle Checks

This will allow you to see any untoward incidents in someone’s driving history. This is a crucial background check for someone who will end up driving a vehicle as part of their responsibilities.

 

Is It Possible To Check A Volunteer Through The Kiwi Searches Service?

Checking volunteers by KiwiSearches

Organizations can perform the aforementioned types of volunteer screening individually. For instance, they can request records from the concerned agencies and/or look up websites for information. They can also opt to utilize third-party search engines like Kiwi Searches to perform background checks for volunteers.

Kiwi Searches offers two payment options – one-time payment for a single search ($3.95) or monthly payments for 10 searches ($24.95). It’s very easy to use – go to their Online Background Checks page, enter the person’s name and state, then click the search icon.

The streamlined report may include the following:

  • Cell Phone and Landline Numbers
  • Present and Previous Addresses
  • Maiden Names and Family Members
  • Educational Attainments
  • Employment Records
  • Professional Licenses
  • Financial Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Traffic Records
  • Property Details

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