Millions of volunteers across America make a positive impact by donating their time and talent to causes that are close to their hearts. These organizations wouldn’t be possible without their selfless dedication, but just because a person says they want to help doesn’t necessarily mean you can take them at their word.
While hopefully it would never happen to your nonprofit, we’ve all heard terrible news stories about selfish volunteers that gained access to resources, money, or people for their criminal pursuits. It only takes one horrible incident to completely ruin a nonprofit.
That’s why volunteer background checks are so important. Personally vetting volunteers is a good first step, but by having a partner like Trusted Employees run background checks for your nonprofit, you can feel confident that the people who are donating their time are doing so to further your mission and not just for their own personal gain.
Here are five reasons for investing in volunteer background checks that can’t be ignored:
Public safety: Protecting people is the leading reason for running volunteer background checks. You want to protect everyone who is involved with your nonprofit. This not only includes the people you may be helping, but also employees and other volunteers.
Legal requirements: Some cities and states may have specific regulations for what vetting processes must occur for volunteers who do certain types of work. If you live in one of these locations and do not follow protocol, you could face steep fines and legal action.
Liability: Volunteer background checks are especially important for people who have access to vulnerable populations such as children or the elderly, as well as those who will manage financial or confidential information. If an incident occurs and you didn’t run a criminal history report or background check, you could be liable for negligent selection of volunteers.
Reputation management: Why would people continue to donate to the cause if a volunteer embezzled tens of thousands of dollars? Why would they attend your gala if lack of due diligence in vetting volunteers caused harm to a child? It takes just one incident to ruin the reputation of an organization. To maintain a high level of donors, you must have trust. One of the fundamental aspects of that trust is having a team of ethical volunteers who are dedicated to doing the job right.
The future: The worst-case scenario is when a nonprofit goes under due to an incident with a bad volunteer. While this is the extreme, it has happened numerous times. Nonprofits dissolve for all of the aforementioned reasons. A terrible incident, bad press, legal action, and lack of trust no longer allow you to focus on doing good. Is that worth skipping the simple step of running volunteer background checks? With so much at risk, it’s certainly a worthwhile investment.