Popular Background Checks for Nonprofits

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

May 11 2020

Volunteer organizations often need all the help they can get—literally. Few nonprofit or charity organizations can say they’ve had a history
of dealing with too many hands on deck. But volunteer organizations still need to ensure the safety of their staff, other volunteers, and anyone volunteers may interact with. While most organizations conduct some measure of screening, exact services vary based on
the group’s specific needs. Background checks for volunteers are important.

Here are some of the more popular screening services among volunteer organizations.

Criminal History Checks

A criminal history search is the most common form of background check run by volunteer organizations. It can reveal a trove of pertinent information and is the core of most screening programs. Criminal history checks can be enhanced by an SSN Trace, which can reveal the states or cities a volunteer has lived in previously, expanding the criminal history scope as appropriate.


ID Verification

ID verification provides an added layer of security to nonprofit groups. This verifies that a candidate has not submitted false personal identifiers or use a fraudulent government-issued ID. Facial recognition technology can also now be used to help verify a volunteer’s identity.


Sex Offender Registry

Many organizations work with at-risk populations, such as children, elderly, and the disabled. It’s no surprise that many volunteer organizations choose to run a sex offender search. This service checks a potential volunteer’s information against sex offender lists across the country.

Motor Vehicle Records

A motor vehicle record search (or MVR) is a necessity for any volunteers that will be driving or operating vehicles. These records give organizations a picture of a candidate’s driving history, including accidents or repeated violations.

Employment/Education Verification

If you need volunteers with specific skills or experience, it’s often necessary to run an employment and education verification. These searches consult with educational institutions and previous employers to confirm whether they have the qualifications they’ve claimed to have. This helps organizations avoid volunteers and employees who could potentially be inflating their skills, degrees, or experience levels.

Social Media Searches

Social media screening is growing in popularity. While social media can alert organizations to intolerant beliefs and behavior, it also comes with a high risk of bias. Partner with a screening provider to receive a comprehensive, compliant overview of a candidate’s social media.

The Importance of Background Checks for Volunteers

Management teams should be upfront with candidates about any screening requirements that they feel are necessary. If a role requires specific skills, knowledge, or experience, be sure to specify them in your organization’s postings. Be prepared to answer candidate questions about the nature and need for screening.  

Background checks for volunteers are vitally important for many organizations, from nonprofits to businesses. Whether a person is passing out flyers or heading a committee, a volunteer that acts as a representative of a nonprofit should meet certain requirementsEven though it might seem like a great inconvenience and expense to screen every volunteer, these searches are vitally important; they create a safe environment for everyone involved.  

trusted background check provider 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—from employees to volunteers of
all kinds. 

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

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, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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