Volunteer Background Screening Made Better. An Update from Verified Volunteers Partner Hands On Nashville.
Posted Thursday, December 18th, 2014 by Verified Volunteers Staff
We met with Brian Williams, President & CEO of Hands On Nashville, to get his perspective on the state of Hands On Nashville’s partnership with Verified Volunteers. It’s been a while since we launched our partnership with the goal of making volunteer screening better and easier in the Nashville area…what’s up?
VV: When did the Hands On Nashville / Verified Volunteers volunteer screening partnership launch?
HON: Hands On Nashville unofficially launched our partnership with Verified Volunteers in the beginning of 2013. We had heard about and looked into the screening platform, decided we wanted to move forward with a more formal partnership, and wasted no time in communicating out to our agencies. We told them all about the platform and how it could revolutionize screening in the area and across the country. We also got the word out to the Nashville community at large; we were so excited about it.
VV: What was the impetus for launching the partnership?
HON: That’s an interesting one. There are actually three that I can think of off the bat.
First, we took a look at the platform and the Verified Volunteers process. Verified Volunteers offers the highest quality screen you can get – plus, Verified Volunteers offers fair pricing. It’s more affordable than most of the other screening providers out there. One specific feature we were thrilled with was the monthly updating. If you screen someone and they are clear initially and then go out and get convicted of a crime (which happens!) you’ll find out about it if you’re using Verified Volunteers. That’s awesome! So, in sum, we thought – and think – that Verified Volunteers has an excellent, unique offering and we were excited by it.
Second, we had been looking for a screening partner for some time. We understand how important volunteer screening is and that, considering our position in the volunteer community, we have a responsibility to facilitate screening for volunteer programs. Up until we looked at Verified Volunteers as a potential partner though, we were never happy with any screening vendor. Either they offered a low-quality product, were way too expensive, their system wasn’t easy to use – or a combination. So when we heard about Verified Volunteers from Points of Light, our ears perked up. We were introduced to Tom Klein, Executive Director at Verified Volunteers, and the rest is history.
Our last reason for getting this partnership going is that we have a unique opportunity on the horizon to partner with the school district in Nashville. Part of this partnership involves running anywhere from 10K-30K screens each year. We need a solid screening partner in order to make our work with the school system flow smoothly. We identified Verified Volunteers as that partner.
VV: How have your member agencies responded to Verified Volunteers?
HON: There has been such an extremely positive response to Verified Volunteers. What we know about Nashville volunteer programs is that screening is, historically, a low priority for them. It’s also a new conversation for many of them, who know little or nothing about screening. So it takes a little while to get them to understand the basics. That said, I’m very happy with the traction we’ve seen in the area. Nashville Public Library will be jumping on board soon, which I’m pumped about. The dialogue has been so rich and enthusiastic and I think it’s getting better and better as Verified Volunteers gains clients in the region and throughout the United States.
VV: What were your agencies doing previously as far as volunteer screening is concerned?
HON: I would say many of our agencies were not screening at all, which is why I previously stated that screening was a low priority. Of those that were screening some or all volunteers, the large majority were using any of a thousand different firms out there. Now screening is becoming the norm. Volunteer agencies are weaving a screening process into their onboarding process. The problem many of them have encountered, however, is that their vendors are increasing their prices without increasing their service or quality. They are in the market for a better screening vendor.
VV: How do you see thinking about screening transforming in your region? Is there more of a positive mindset about it?
HON: It’s becoming a higher priority – slowly but surely. Having an efficient, cost effective tool like Verified Volunteers helps with that for sure.
VV: What has your experience been like working with Verified Volunteers?
HON: Wonderful. From the very beginning when we were introduced to Tom and his team right up until today, we have had nothing but positive interactions. Their customer service, communications, hard work and persistence in getting in front of the right people and doing what it takes to make our agencies happy…it’s all been great. The team has also done a terrific job of honoring who Hands On Nashville is – our unique position in our community and our relationships with our agencies and other nonprofits in our region. They have respected that. We are nothing short of proud to partner with Verified Volunteers.
VV: Do you have any specific examples of member agencies using Verified Volunteers and loving it (perhaps they have sent you a note about their experiences so far)?
HON: YWCA and Family and Children’s Services are two that immediately jump to mind. But honestly, there have been lots of folks that have sent notes my way thanking me and Hands On Nashville for introducing them to Verified Volunteers. I am sure they will keep rolling in.
We are so excited to count Hands On Nashville as one of our partners. A special thanks to Brian Williams for taking a few minutes to check in with us!
Verified Volunteers supports volunteer programs and their volunteers nationwide and is partnered closely with many volunteer centers. For more information, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.