background screening on their employees to mitigate negligent hiring risks, meet regulatory compliance and to improve the overall quality of hire. This is especially true for those organizations assisting the youth, elderly, disabled and other vulnerable populations.
However, many non-profit organizations fail to background check their volunteers. Like employees, volunteers may have direct contact with financial resources, property, other workers and the community. Failing to background screen volunteers can expose an organization to increased safety, legal and reputation risks.
Benefits of Volunteer Background Checks
1. Protect Your Community, Members and Reputation
If a person has a history of criminal behavior, then depending upon a number of factors, there could be a risk that person will repeat such behavior in the future. A crime committed by an organization’s volunteer could discredit the organization and negatively impact its ability to raise funds and continue your work in the future. Background screening for previous offenses can help protect an organization’s property, workers, volunteers and community members.
2. Comply with State and Federal Laws
An organization should consult with its legal counsel to understand current and pending state and federal legislation that may affect its volunteer background screening program. Some states, including Virginia and Georgia, require background screening for volunteers working with vulnerable members of the community, such as children, the elderly and the disabled. There are also a variety of state and federal laws that establish restrictions and requirements related to conducting certain types of background screening, such as criminal history and credit checks.
3. Mitigate Legal Risks
A comprehensive volunteer background check program can help protect an organization from costly lawsuits. Criminal records searches, sex offender registry, motor vehicle records and other background checks can help prevent hiring unsuitable volunteers, which in turn can help avoid incidents from occurring that could result in potential negligent hiring claims. An organization should consult with its legal counsel to determine which types of background checks can help prevent legal risks for the organization.
Organizations that rely heavily on a volunteer workforce but do not conduct background checks could be putting themselves and the public at risk. Background screening, in partnership with a reputable on-demand employment screening provider, is a solid investment in your organization’s success.