A recent study revealed that non-profit institutions, such as schools and religious organizations, rely on volunteers to remain in operation. Volunteers are increasingly necessary during the current labor shortages and skyrocketing inflation. The public has high expectations regarding background checks for these volunteer staff.
The Church Mutual Insurance Company, an insurer of non-profit organizations named “State of Volunteerism in America,” performed this study. Over half the survey respondents who regularly attended or interacted with organizations that use volunteers ensured that volunteers underwent criminal background checks. However, only 33% of these volunteers stated that criminal background checks were part of their screening for the positions.
There is a significant gap between what the public expects from the volunteer workforce of non-profits and the reality. Despite the public’s expectations, volunteers generally lack basic background checks, including criminal and sex offender history screening. Despite this, it is more than likely that volunteers will continue playing a crucial role for non-profits if the economy continues to apply pressure.
The study found that 52% of survey respondents expect criminal background checks, 46% expect employment background checks, and 41% expect National Sex Offender Public Registry screening. Unfortunately, the number of volunteers who underwent these checks does not reflect these expectations. Only 33% of volunteers report having undergone criminal background checks, 24% employment background checks, and 16% National Sex Offender Public Registry screening. The public’s expectations and the reality clearly show a significant divide.
However, with the large number of individuals who frequently interact with non-profit organizations, these organizations must take steps to ensure the safety and responsibility of their staff, volunteers, and the populations they serve. To do this, it is crucial for these non-profit organizations to:
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