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Popular Background Checks for Nonprofits

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

November 11 2022

Nonprofit organizations often need all the help they can get; it’s rare to hear about a nonprofit or charity that struggles from having too many volunteers. However, nonprofits must ensure the safety of their staff, other volunteers, and anyone volunteers interact with – especially because they often work with at-risk populations. While most organizations conduct some measure of nonprofit background checks, exact services vary based on the group’s specific needs. Background checks for nonprofit volunteers protect organizations from risks that could damage their reputations or cost them unnecessary money.

Here are some popular screening services that are essential for nonprofit background checks on volunteers:

Criminal History Checks

A criminal history search is the most common service found on nonprofit background screening packages. It reveals a trove of pertinent information and sits at the core of most screening programs. Criminal history checks are enhanced by an SSN Trace, which reveals the states or cities a volunteer has lived in previously, expanding the scope of a criminal history search.

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Sex Offender Registry

Many nonprofit organizations work with at-risk populations, such as children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. Thus, a sex offender search must be included in background checks for nonprofits. This service checks sex offender lists across the country to ensure a potential nonprofit volunteer’s information does not match any information found on the lists.

Motor Vehicle Records

A motor vehicle record search must be included in background checks for nonprofit volunteers who will be driving or operating vehicles. These records give organizations a picture of a candidate’s driving history, including DUI incidents, accidents, and repeated violations. An MVR search also provides insight into a volunteer candidate’s insurability, current licenses, and upcoming license expirations.

Employment and Education Verifications

If a nonprofit organization needs volunteers with specific skills or experience,  they should run an employment and education verification through a professional screening organization. During these searches, verification specialists consult with educational institutions and previous employers to confirm whether prospective volunteers have the qualifications they’ve claimed to have. This prevents nonprofits from hiring volunteers who inflate their skills, degrees, or experience levels on their resumes.

Social Media Searches

Social media screening is growing in popularity because it alerts nonprofit organizations about volunteer candidates with intolerant beliefs and behaviors. However, social media checks come with a high risk of bias when an organization runs them in-house, which can cause legal issues. Partnering with a screening provider offers a comprehensive, compliant overview of a candidate’s social media. This extra step adds a necessary layer of security to a nonprofit background screening package.

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Continuous Criminal Monitoring

Employee monitoring is a great addition to nonprofit background screening packages for long-term volunteers because it provides immediate, up-to-date information on volunteers’ criminal activity. With continuous criminal monitoring, you receive near-real-time results whenever a current volunteer is arrested. This gives nonprofits the confidence that none of the at-risk populations they serve are put in harm’s way by a volunteer.

The Importance of Background Checks for Nonprofit Volunteers

Nonprofit management teams should be upfront with candidates about their screening requirements. If a role requires specific skills, knowledge, or experience, the details should be specified in an organization’s job posting. They should be prepared to answer candidate questions about how nonprofit background checks work and why screening is necessary.  

Background checks for nonprofit volunteers are vital. Whether they pass out flyers or lead a committee, a volunteer acts as a representative of a nonprofit’s ethics, beliefs, and brand. Even though it sometimes feels like a great inconvenience and expense to screen every volunteer, background checks for nonprofits are crucial to protect an organization and the people it serves; they create a safe environment for everyone involved. Some organizations opt to have the volunteer pay for the background check themselves through a chosen screening company.

A trusted background check provider like InfoMart delivers the security, compliance, and peace of mind needed to get the job done. Create a better work environment by thoroughly screening all members of your organization, including volunteers.  

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About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit www.tammycohen.com.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit www.InfoMart-USA.com, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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