Should organizations background check volunteers?

We’ve heard the arguments why organizations choose to NOT run background a check on volunteers. Here’s some of the common reasons:  

  • It costs money and we’re a non-profit with a limited budget
  • It takes time, so it restricts people from volunteering at the last minute when we need someone
  • It is an inconvenience for the volunteer
  • And one of our favorites: If we background check volunteers, it will limit the number of people who will volunteer.

Think about that last one. Background checks will limit the number of people who will volunteer. Why? Will it stop people from volunteering because they are not willing to submit to a background check? Why? Does your organization really want someone volunteering who won’t submit to a background check?  

You can guess where this is going. The organization that wants to be stringent in protecting children will background check ALL staff and volunteers, not simply those they think will be in official unsupervised roles. We’ve known organizations to go so far as to require external vendors to background check their employees, e.g. the soda machine vendor or construction crews, as they can easily be in an environment where they interact with children frequently.

Don’t sacrifice children’s safety by cutting corners on best practices. Click here to download the FREE 10 step check-list for protecting your organization.