Four Reasons Volunteer Screening Is Essential for Nonprofits
Posted Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 by Verified Volunteers Staff
Volunteer organizations help create a positive transformation in today’s world by positioning volunteers at the center of change. While most volunteers are honest individuals who genuinely want to help, ten percent of all background screens come back with previously undisclosed criminal history. This ten percent can drastically affect the safety of your organization or the reputation of your brand and programs. Organizations need to stay ahead of the curve and maintain processes that protect the communities they serve. Approximately two out of three nonprofits currently screen their volunteers. This practice helps protect not only nonprofits’ valuable assets, but also the people they intend to help. Here are four reasons why volunteer screening is so important for nonprofit organizations. 1. Safety of Your Participants The safety of your volunteers, staff, and those you serve comes first. Nonprofit organizations often work with vulnerable members of society. The last thing any nonprofit wants is to inadvertently place these individuals in harm’s way. While you are working to fulfill your mission and help those in need, make sure you are also taking care to ensure their personal safety. 2. Protect Your Assets Volunteer screening helps to protect nonprofits – which are often already working with very limited resources – from becoming victims of theft. According to an investigation by the Washington Post, more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations reported a “significant diversion” of assets since 2008, most of which are attributed to theft or embezzlement. 3. Protect Your Reputation The nonprofit circuit is no stranger to media outlets calling attention to criminal charges being brought against volunteers. One negative incident involving a volunteer can damage your program’s credibility, fundraising, and recruitment of new volunteers. On the flip side, if volunteers and individuals you serve know that your organization works hard to foster a safe environment, it will build trust within the community. 4. Recruit Quality Volunteers Volunteer screening helps nonprofits to ensure that they are recruiting reliable, trustworthy volunteers to help fulfill the mission of their organization. Finding quality volunteers up front improves volunteer retention, which reduces the amount of time and resources needed for recruitment and training. Taking the simple precaution of screening your volunteers can help to create a safer environment that allows your organization to focus on fulfilling its mission and making a positive impact in your community. Does your organization run background checks to vet potential volunteers? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below or feel free to join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Learn more about our screening platform tailored to the unique needs of the volunteer sector and how monthly, automatic updates help to safeguard nonprofit organizations and reduce redundant screening. Tom Klein founded Verified Volunteers and leads their mission to propel service organizations and nonprofits by empowering volunteers. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn or Google+.