Most volunteer organizations agree that screening, vetting and re-screening their volunteers yearly is the best practice when it comes to keeping their volunteers and the populations they serve safe. Volunteer screening has become the norm among many nonprofits, sports groups, and other organizations across the United States.
Most volunteer organizations that screen consistently have said that their main motivating factor is their desire to ensure a safe and secure environment for their volunteers. Another large motivating factor is protecting their organization’s reputation as well. Having a “scandal” of any kind occur due to a lack of screening on an organization’s part can cause serious damage to an organization’s reputation and lead to financial fallout.
It’s also important to note that screening volunteers doesn’t mean that you are against hiring individuals with any kind of criminal history. Organizations who perform volunteer screening are interested in finding individuals who have been put on the sex offender registry or have committed violent crimes. From there, an organization can choose to find out more about this individual and whether they could be a potential risk for their organization. Another key thing to remember is that you should never just screen “some volunteers”, but screen everyone. Being selective about the screening process can open your organization up to risking your assets, reputation, and the safety of others. These consequences can also be detrimental to your ability to fundraise and qualify for grants.
As more volunteer organizations and nonprofits screen their volunteers, there is one thing that they are completely missing out on. Most volunteers are screened when they first apply and that’s it. Not every organization continues to re-run those background checks on a consistent basis to see if anything has changed. If the organization does decide to re-run the background checks on current volunteers, they often don’t do it for an entire year. A lot can happen in a year. A person could be convicted of a domestic violence incident or they could have a gotten DUI; the fact is it leaves an organization open to liability.
But there is a solution! Constant Monitoring. Constant Monitoring continues to ping an individual’s record for an entire year to see if there are any changes in the volunteer’s record. If there is a change, another full background check is run and reported out to the volunteer organization. After a year, as a part of the constant monitoring best practices, the organization will need to run another complete background. But constant monitoring allows an organization know that their volunteers are safe all year long and protect themselves from any potential liabilities. Best of all, this service costs less than 70 cents per month for each volunteer! And a couple cents to have piece of mind that that volunteer is still compliant and safe to work your constituents is a pretty sweet deal.