3 Reasons to Conduct Volunteer Background Checks

By Adam Robinson,
July 20, 2012

Do you have volunteers involved in your business? Do you conduct background checks on them? If not, it’s probably time to reconsider. Last year, former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky applied to become a volunteer football coach at a local college. When the college ran a background check on Sandusky they found he was under investigation for illegal contact with children, and they denied him the opportunity. A year later Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse against children. Now are you rethinking your stance on giving your volunteers background checks?

Background checks are important for all individuals involved with your business. Whether they volunteer daily or once-a-month, the reputation of your company is in their hands. Don’t make the mistake of thinking because they are unpaid, they won’t affect your company’s credibility. Here are three reasons why you should order background checks on your volunteers today.

1. Liability Protections

If Juniata College did not check Sandusky’s background, they could have been liable for his actions during his time there; no one can predict the future but it probably wouldn’t have been pretty for the school. The point is you are responsible for your volunteer’s behavior and actions in the office, at events, and wherever else your volunteers are handling business. Avoid lawsuits and take responsibility when hiring your volunteers to ensure they all receive thorough background checks.

2. Your Company’s Reputation

In recent months we have seen what happens to a company’s reputation when background checks aren’t conducted. Yahoo! was embarrassed when it was discovered that the CEO lied about his education and background; which would have been easily exposed if he was given a background check. Instead the company had to face the grueling public and admit their mistake. The reputation of your company is at stake when you hire volunteers. By checking the background of every volunteer, you are reinforcing the fact that your company cares about putting the best possible people in volunteer positions.

3. They are cost effective

There is a common misconception that background checks are expensive. This is simply not true and should not stand in the way of implementing a background check policy in your business. Hireology’s ‘QuickSearch’ background check gives the candidate’s criminal history, criminal records, and a social security trace. The best part is the check is only $29.95! If you hired 10 volunteers a year, you would be paying less than $300 to ensure your company’s reputation is held up. Worth it to those who understand that 30% of small businesses fail because of employee theft.

The bottom line is: background checks are important whether you are hiring the CEO of a global search engine or an individual to work your events. Don’t get caught in a lawsuit, put a volunteer background check program into action today.

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About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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