Christina Sbatella, Verified Volunteers’ Vice President, Product Management & Global Operations, and I recently held a webinar where we discussed the potential gaps that can exist in volunteer background screening programs. We focused, in particular, on one gap that many folks do not even realize exists – even if they are running the highest quality check possible on each and every one of their volunteers. What is that gap?

Potentially, your volunteer could be submitting someone else’s name and/or social security number in order to run their background check.

It’s shocking to learn that even if you’re running the most robust check you can you can still be leaving your organization open to exposure. What can you do? You can go beyond the volunteer background check to validate the identification of each volunteer.

Are your peers validating the identity of their volunteers?

We wanted to know how many webinar attendees – a mix of Verified Volunteers clients and prospects – are validating the identity of their volunteers. What we found unfortunately did not surprise us. About 42 percent of folks on the line do not validate their volunteers’ identification at all. Almost 22 percent ask their volunteers for identification when they conduct the volunteer interview. Four percent ask for a form of identification when a volunteer shows up to begin their volunteer work.

So, yes, there is a gap in the screening process for all of these individuals. In fact, just 10 percent of those on the line validate their volunteers’ IDs using a third party vendor as part of their regular background screening process.

All of this lines up pretty well with what we have heard in past conversations we have held with current clients as well as prospects. Organizations are trusting their volunteers to provide legitimate government-issued IDs when they show up for the volunteer interview or when they show up to participate in a volunteer event. What if a volunteer’s ID is a fake? What if the information used to run the background check – the social security number, name, and date of birth – are not accurate? It’s too late to tell now. You might have just let an unscrupulous individual through your door.

Closing the volunteer identity gap

Understanding that this gap exists for the majority of organizations, Verified Volunteers has introduced a new identity validation product, ID Confirm. Learn more about it – info@verifiedvolunteers.com.

In general, what do identity validation products do?

  1. They use advanced photo technologies to verify that an ID used as part of the screening process is a legitimate government-issued ID.
  2. They help extract information from the ID to run the background check.
  3. They confirm that the person whose identity you are checking is the person who the ID is issued to.

Tips for using volunteer identity validation tools

No matter which identity validation tool you choose to incorporate into your screening program, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you use mobile tools for offsite volunteer validation
  • Always pay attention to security – safety and compliance are key and are not to be forgotten
  • If a volunteer changes the Personally Identifiable Information included on their identification in order to run the background check, find out why. Are they being dishonest or did they have a legitimate reason?
  • Sometimes the ID cannot be validated. This does not necessarily mean it’s fraudulent. In this case, check the ID onsite and use your best judgment.
  • FCRA compliance is a must
  • It is always best to use a single vendor for all your screening needs – from ID validation through to the volunteer background check


Want to learn more about ID Confirm – and what makes us different than other identity validation tools on the market?

Email us at info@verifiedvolunteers.com.

Did you miss the webinar?

Watch it on demand – anytime, anywhere: Volunteer Background Screening: What Are You Missing?

Topics focused on:

  • The types of gaps that exist in even the most robust background check
  • How you can fill those gaps and ensure you have the most complete picture of your volunteers, including new products you can use
  • Best practices for using identity validation products as part of your background check – and remaining compliant while doing so

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