A nonprofit business is often working to do the impossible – serve a community or cause while operating on as little money as possible. Employees are often told to work with what they’ve got, stretching supplies and welcoming any and all people who wish to help.

However, even on this shoestring budget, a nonprofit company is still a business at the end of the day. This means that as much as a nonprofit would like to lay out a welcome mat for all, negative people can still bring negative aspects to a business, making volunteer screening a necessary part of this donation-based world.

Whether a person is passing out flyers or heading a committee, a volunteer that is acting as a representative of a nonprofit should meet certain requirements, such as being able to pass a background check. However, some nonprofits are a beacon of second chances and rehabilitation and looking into a volunteer’s background might seem like the wrong choice for that cause.

But even if your nonprofit welcomes those with a less-than-clean past, there are still situations where it is crucial that volunteers are screened, such as if your nonprofit deal frequently with children, the disabled or the elderly. In these cases, a screening is not only vital to the happiness and health of your community, but can be required by the state a company resides in or the insurance company the business uses.

These requirements have been put into place for good reason. With 46% of child molesters non-family members who are known to their victims, a children’s activity or event is a prime place for sexual abuse to occur. Additionally, 42% of current offenders with a child victim and a prior criminal history had a past conviction for a violent crime, which can put all of the participants in danger.

With an estimated 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse already in America today, no nonprofit wants to add to these numbers. This is why it is essential to not just screen volunteers, but ensuring that a high quality background check has been run.

These thorough screenings should include checks into multiple areas. A volunteer’s name should be run against the National Sex Offender’s list to ensure that there are no past convictions for harming minors.

Additionally, a criminal background check can help uncover issues that are not on the sex offender’s list, but are still indicative of an individual that should not be a volunteer. For example, if a volunteer has been convicted of assault or battery, it may not be the best idea for that person to work within a stressful or combative environment.

Even if the crime is not one that can physically harm others, a person’s past can still be an issue. If a volunteer has been convicted of embezzlement or theft, this person should not be involved with the delicate budget of a nonprofit as it could jeopardize the health of the business.

Even though it might seem like a great inconvenience and expense to screen every volunteer, resorting to online methods that promise cheap and fast results is not the ideal option. These searches can offer outdated or limited information, putting your business and community at risk.

There are reputable background screening companies that have experience checking volunteers and often work with a nonprofits, meaning they know how to provide exceptional service even in the hectic, low-budget, ever-evolving environment. Securing the services of one of these companies can not only save you money in the long run, but also ensures that the community you are working to serve is safe and happy with your volunteers.

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