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E-BOOK: Enhancing the Volunteer Lifecycle

Do you want to better understand how to manage your volunteers more effectively throughout their entire “lifecycle” with your organization?

With this e-book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Better develop and define volunteer positions so both your organization and your volunteers benefit.
  • Get the right people in the right volunteer roles, and set volunteers up for success with proper training and support.
  • Keep volunteers engaged by clearly communicating volunteer impact and outcomes.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices

We surveyed more than seven hundred volunteer experts to find out how they are managing their volunteer programs and how they conduct their volunteer screening. Who are they screening? How much are they spending? How are they developing risk management policies to protect their organization?

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REPORT: Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices: 2017

Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices Report: 2017, researched and produced by Verified Volunteers, offers essential insights on the practices, challenges and concerns of organizations that rely on dedicated volunteers. See how your organization compares.

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Article: 5 Tips to Better Volunteer Screening

Get more from your volunteer screening program with these five tips based on the practices of over 350 U.S. nonprofit organizations.

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Article: Practical Recommendations for Validating Volunteer Identification

Even if you’re running the highest quality criminal background checks available, there still may be a gap in your volunteer screening program. It’s possible that your volunteer could be submitting someone else’s name and/or social security number in order to run their background check. Going beyond the background check to validate the identification of each volunteer provides you with confidence that you know who you’re working with. Here are six simple but important recommendations to consider when incorporating identity validation tools into your current screening program.

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Article: Your Adverse Action Checklist: Getting It Right

Adverse Action is an important process organizations are required to follow under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when a position is denied as a result of a background check. It’s a confusing process. Learn about recommended Do’s and Don’ts.

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REPORT: Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices 2016: Religious Organizations Edition

Verified Volunteers’ recent research report, Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices Report 2016, revealed some compelling statistical differences between religious organizations and all other types of nonprofits in terms of how they operate. We dive into those differences here.

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REPORT: Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices 2016

Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices Report 2016, researched and produced by Verified Volunteers, offers essential insights on the practices, challenges and concerns of organizations that rely on dedicated volunteers. See how your organization stacks up.

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RESOURCE: Sample Volunteer Background Check Policy

Many organizations do not have a documented volunteer background screening policy. If you are one of them, you could be leaving your organization open to lawsuits, fraud, litigation, outrageous insurance premiums and reputation damage.

Make sure you have a comprehensive, documented policy in place.

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WHITE PAPER: Risk Management for Your Volunteer Program: 2015-2016

No organization is immune to all risk. In fact, all organizations are exposed to risks on a daily basis. It’s how leaders choose to manage those risks that can make or break an organization. Most nonprofit organizations have a lot at stake – physical assets, intangible assets, brand, reputation, grants, people and relationships. With all of that on the line, building a solid volunteer risk management program is in the best interest of all organizations that utilize volunteers in any capacity.

The key to your risk management success is planning and more planning. You must strive to account for all possible risks – even those that are highly unlikely. Recognition and identification forms the foundation of your risk management program. From there, you can effectively evaluate the severity of risks and prioritize them accordingly.

This whitepaper will:

  • Introduce you to the four components of a risk management program – plans, processes, policies and practices;
  • Explain how you can identify potential threats to your organization and take actions to mitigate or eliminate them using a risk assessment matrix;
  • Outline the three essential elements that any volunteer organization’s risk management program should incorporate: background screening, training and insurance;
  • Help you understand how you should be thinking about your organization’s potential liability, and what you might be responsible for should something go wrong in your organization.

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ARTICLE: Getting Your Volunteer Screening Right: Using the Tools of the Trade to Build a Better Background Check

There are thousands of data sources throughout the country, including over 3,500 county databases, hundreds of state repositories, and thousands of sheriff's offices and corrections facilities. There is no centralized U.S. system that you can pull from to get comprehensive, up-to-date criminal record information from all of these sources. Instead, there are a number of screening locator tools that can be used separately or together to build a reliable background check. The more you use, the more thorough your check.

Read Getting Your Volunteer Screening Right to learn what tools you need to get the most comprehensive background check.

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ARTICLE: All Background Checks Are Not Created Equal

Have you been paying around $2 or less for volunteer background checks?

If your check is instant or costs almost nothing, your check is almost certainly a “Nationwide” database search or “Super Search.” These terms sound great, but unfortunately they’re not. They depend on county or state jurisdictions to report their data. There are no rules around reporting, so only some local jurisdictions report data while others wait many months before reporting. Long story short, the data has huge holes and gaps and, if you are relying solely on these searches, you are likely missing critical information or relying on inaccurate information.

Read All Background Checks Are Not Created Equal to learn what you should be watching out for when evaluating screening solutions.

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ARTICLE: Dispelling the Myths around FBI Background Checks

1 in 2 FBI records is flawed, inaccurate,or missing critical information. But many organizations think FBI background checks are the “gold standard.”

Read Dispelling the Myths around FBI Background Checks to learn the 5 myths that exist about FBI checks and to get the facts.

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ARTICLE: Your Volunteers Want to Give Back – Let Them

Many organizations think volunteer screening is too expensive.

It’s true – background checks can be a major line item for an organization that already has to stretch inadequate funding across many programs. But volunteer screening is necessary. If you are reading this, you likely know that.

Here’s an idea that you’ve likely considered but have decided against for one reason or another: have your volunteers pay for their own background checks. You might think that asking these individuals to actually pay to work for you for free will send them running. But you’d be surprised how many volunteers will elect to pay for all of part of their background checks when given the option.

Read Your Volunteers Want to Give Back to see how many volunteers actually contribute to the costs of their checks – and how to broach the subject with them.

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ARTICLE: Not Using Verified Volunteers?

You might be missing out on criminal history

There are many things we do here at Verified Volunteers that differ from the rest. Just to name a few:

  • We run our Complete Criminal Locator, which includes county searches based on address history, Alias and Maiden Name Searches, and more.
  • With all 3 of our standardized background check levels, we run free monthly updates for a full year.
  • We run the 50-State Department of Justice Sex Offender Search (Dru Sjodin) – the only real-time, up-to-date comprehensive sex offender search.

Because we do these things, we find more criminal history.

Read Not Using Verified Volunteers? to see what you might have missed if you weren’t running a Verified Volunteers screen.

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FOR VOLUNTEERS: Why Do I Need To Be Screened?

Like many of your fellow volunteers, you might be asking this very question. After all, you are giving up your free time to help an organization you care about work toward a greater good.

Unfortunately, not all volunteer applicants have pure intentions like yours; we frequently hear accounts of volunteers harming one another, staff members, or the people they seek to help. That’s why, even though you mean no harm, you – and every other individual that wants to donate their time – must undergo a screening process. It’s the only way to ensure your safety and the safety of everyone around you.

Read Why Do I Need to be Screened? to learn more.

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FOR VOLUNTEERS: Your Fast-Pass To Volunteering

If you’re like over half the volunteers in America, you give your time to more than one organization. Whether it is coaching a child’s sports team, volunteering with the Girl Scouts, or delivering Meals on Wheels, it seems like there’s no limit to the need for your time and energy within the community.

Beyond scheduling and time constraints, one of the biggest volunteer complaints is the need for background screening. It feels intrusive, it requires you to give up your sensitive personal details and it can delay your volunteering. And when you have to do it every time you join a new organization, it can be repetitive and annoying.

Read Your Fast-Pass to Volunteering to learn about the Volunteer Fast-Pass, the first background check that you own and can share with multiple organizations to reduce the number of times you need to be screened.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Do You Know Who Your Volunteers Are?

Did you know that 1 in 4 U.S. adults has an arrest or conviction record?

People are arrested for or convicted of crimes each and every day – people we live next to and work with. How can you be sure they are not volunteering for your organization? The short answer – volunteer background screening. But if you are using FBI background checks alone for your volunteer screening, you might be missing some key data.

Check out the Do You Know Who Your Volunteers Are? infographic to see what FBI background checks are missing.

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WHITE PAPER: Counting The Cost Of A Bad Volunteer

Why volunteer screening is the most critical step of the onboarding process.

Volunteers “work” for your organization for free. So how can they end up costing you money?

A bad volunteer can result in a number of painful and costly outcomes, including:

  • Theft or embezzlement
  • ​Damaged volunteer relations and morale
  • Endangerment of employees, volunteers and other constituents
  • Litigation
  • Public scandals and negative publicity 

The main challenge for volunteer managers is that the volunteer pool is peppered with people who appear to be suitable candidates but who, in reality, may not be.

Read a free white paper, Counting the Cost of a Bad Volunteer, to learn about some red flags to look out for and how you can avoid onboarding some less than stellar volunteers.

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WHITE PAPER: To Screen Or Not To Screen?

Four Reasons You May Not be Screening Your Volunteers...And Why You Need to Start

Some service organizations believe that volunteer screening is costly, time-consuming and inconvenient. Where do you stand when it comes to screening your volunteers? Do you also believe that screening is an unnecessary step in the volunteer onboarding process? We have developed a white paper outlining some of the common reasons you might not be screening your volunteers…and why you need to start.

Read the To Screen or Not to Screen? White paper

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FROM POINTS OF LIGHT: Service Enterprise Characteristics

Research shows that organizations operating as Service Enterprises exhibit ten specific characteristics. Access a list of those characteristics and ideas for ways your organization can demonstrate these practices.

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