Background Checks on Volunteers

Volunteering for a nonprofit organization, charity, or local community can involve interaction with all types of people. Donating countless hours to a variety of good causes, volunteers selflessly contribute to the betterment of youth programs, retirement communities, education, and environmental protection, just to name a few. With this work comes the importance of verifying each volunteers’ credibility. Seeing as they work with children, senior citizens, and the disabled, allowing an individual to take control in these situations without confirming his or her integrity can be dangerous.

All sharing the common goal of wanting to help others, it may seem senseless to conduct a background check on those who generously donate their time and efforts. However, it is never a guarantee that volunteers are capable of handling these tasks. Though many nonprofit organizations operate on a shoestring budget, this is not an aspect of business to disregard. These are important for reasons like potentially undisclosed criminal histories, severe lack of experience in positions that require a fair amount, or potential health problems that may arise.

For charities like the Boys & Girls Club of America, an organization dedicated to providing programs and out-of-school safety for children, verifying the reliability of volunteers is an absolute must. Luckily, many crimes committed against children are public knowledge for the prevention of these ever happening again through a number of websites. However, depending on the thoroughness of the screening done, those who have committed such crimes may be able to avoid being made known. Volunteers in these positions should have background checks run by state and federal criminal records repositories, or by commercial background screening companies.

Meals on Wheels is another program that gives care and attention to the elderly who may be unable to care for themselves after a decline in health. Delivering meals door-to-door to communities all across the country, compassion and empathy is vital for volunteers. Unfortunately, many senior citizens are taken advantage of due to their decreased mobility or mental sharpness. Allowing an individual access to their homes who has committed such crimes would be careless. Another consideration is the volunteer’s ability to drive. Those convicted of DUI’s or reckless driving for example, should not be given the opportunity to get behind the wheel in situations that call for extreme care; another reason why verifying these individuals is extremely important.

Volunteer firefighters are assigned the task of responding to residential, business, or other structural fires, while also providing emergency medical service should the circumstances call for it. EMT certification is required, as well being certified in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This is an area that calls for a great deal of experience. While the certification requirements alone hinder those unqualified, volunteers who meet these requirements may still possess a negative background. Screening these individuals for criminal history, past mental health issues, and more is crucial, as they are relied upon for the care and treatment of those in distress.

For nonprofit organizations and charities, running background checks on volunteers is just as important as doing so for corporate employees. Confirming the trustworthiness of these charitable people should be done before allowing them to take part in the organization’s goal in order to provide a guarantee of safety for those in need.

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