Volunteers play a vital role in organizations. Because many of them work with children, people with special needs, and others, volunteers require background checks for the same reasons as paid employees. However, because of their roles, their screenings are typically different from those of paid employees.
You should consider many aspects when conducting a volunteer background check. Background check companies can help ensure the process is error-free and legally compliant. In this article you will learn about what a volunteer background check involves and how long it usually takes.
The Importance of Volunteer Background Screening
Generally, healthcare facilities, K-12 schools, and many non-profit groups depend on hard-working volunteers to carry out programs, serve the public, and keep operations running smoothly. Hospitals need volunteers to greet visitors, sit at information desks, and assist nursing staff. Elementary and high schools benefit from volunteers who serve as chaperones and help with fundraising.
The National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) reports that more than two-thirds of charities rely on the contributions of volunteers. This figure is probably larger for smaller local non-profits.
Although they generally aren’t paid, volunteers provide essential services and spend considerable time with staff, the public, and many vulnerable populations. If you enlist volunteers, you need to do background checks before they work or interact with children, people with special needs, patients, and other individuals. Protecting your workplace and the general public depends on it.
How Long Does a Volunteer Background Check Take?
Your search methods can often affect how long your background check takes. Some databases and registry searches yield results in a matter of minutes. In contrast, court records investigations can take several days, depending on the county or system.
No matter how urgent your need is for reliable volunteers, getting them screened should never be a rush job. No matter the roles your volunteers might play, a check of their backgrounds should yield specific types of information, each of which might take some time, depending on court records:
- Trace of name and address: Using their social security number, search for all known addresses within the last 7 years and all known names, surnames, and aliases.
- County court criminal records: Explore their criminal history in each county where they resided within the last 7 years.
- Criminal databases: Expanded the search to one or more criminal databases can catch information that doesn’t come up in county court records or name and address traces.
- Sex offender registry searches: Does the prospective volunteer appear on any of the 50 states’ sex offender registries?
Some background checks won’t take as long as others, depending on the role a volunteer will serve or whether they’ll work with children, patients, or other vulnerable groups. Also, unlike searches for paid employees, you won’t need to check some volunteers' educational and employment history, which can save some time.
Ensuring Efficient Volunteer Background Checks
With most background checks, some factors are beyond your control. However, you can take specific actions during your volunteer screenings to save some time and ensure a more streamlined process:
- Partner with a reputable background check company that specializes in conducting timely, high-quality volunteer background checks and understands the most efficient ways to collect criminal history information from courts and databases.
- Develop a clear volunteer screening policy. It should clarify what information or criminal offenses you screen for and what would disqualify individuals from volunteering for your group.
- Be transparent about what your screening policy contains and be able to describe it to prospective volunteers clearly if asked. This transparency will enable prospective volunteers to be prepared and provide the necessary documentation.
Build a Trust Group of Volunteers
Although they’re not paid employees, volunteers generously give their time to provide crucial services. Many organizations can't operate without them. Because some volunteers perform tasks similar to those of paid staff, they shouldn’t pose a risk to the individuals they work with or the public.
To streamline your volunteer screening process, you shouldn’t have to navigate the process alone. Get help from a company that can ensure you get accurate background checks that are comprehensive and streamlined. BIB is an experienced provider, and we’ve helped organizations maintain staffing security since 1995. With SecureVolunteer, we can help you order and complete thorough volunteer background checks, whether you’re in education, healthcare, the arts, or any other sector.
Speak to someone on our team today to learn more about BIB’s volunteer background services. Call (704) 439-3900 or visit www.bib.com to book a demonstration. You can also download Staffing Pro’s Guide to Better Background Screening.