The Yin and Yang of Screening and Onboarding Volunteers

Screening and onboarding interactions are typically the volunteer candidate’s first contact with your nonprofit organization and its goal of bettering communities with the best staff available. It’s essential for both your organization and the volunteer candidate that the onboarding process is organized, efficient, and relatively fast moving. A well oiled onboarding and screening machine means the volunteer candidate starts working to fulfill your organization’s mission more quickly, and you don’t have to worry about a slow and troublesome process scaring off skilled candidates.

Like Yin and Yang, screening and onboarding should be in harmonious synchronization to ensure the success of your organization and new volunteer candidates. Here are some insights into bringing this forceful balance to your nonprofit’s onboarding process.

The Yin of Onboarding

The Yin of volunteer background screening and onboarding involves online and offline research, personal contact and significant manual processing. The volunteering background screening industry is finding new and better ways to automate, but it's still very reliant on people. Organizations will typically select a volunteer screening provider based on the combination of quality of service, turnaround time, accuracy and cost. Screening is often perceived as a necessary evil, a hurdle to overcome as quickly as possible, with very little thought going into the overarching hiring process and how it should be structured to administer screening in a more efficient and consistent way.

The Yang of Onboarding

The Yang of onboarding is a software-driven experience, where process design, branding, forms automation and socialization come into play. It's all about ease of use, workflow compliance and the new volunteer’s time to productivity. It is where volunteer managers understandably spend a large chunk of their time, as they work diligently to bring on top volunteers quickly and efficiently. Volunteer departments need to set-up new volunteers for success and a productive “career” with their organization and local community.

Working Together: The Yin and Yang of Onboarding

Where recruiting volunteers is quite often a marketing exercise for your nonprofit’s mission, the onboarding process at most nonprofits is where reality sets in. It can be complex or optimized under a single volunteer management system (VMS). A VMS has workflows that are considerate of the entire process from application to background screening authorizations. This combined platform brings a single onboarding experience with zero redundant data entry and faster time to engagement and community impact.

The Offer

The first step in the onboarding process is the offer. Most nonprofits issue an offer contingent upon a successful background screen. Background screening requires a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) disclosure, a signed authorization and often some personal information that may not have been collected during the recruiting process (date of birth, SSN, etc.). A smart onboarding process should be convenient and mobile-friendly, for the volunteer candidate, allowing for a greater likelihood that the offer will be accepted.

A New Volunteer’s Perspective

Take a close look at your organization's onboarding process from the perspective of your new volunteer. Count the number of interactions you require of him or her. How many separate logins, emails and notifications are required from the application to the interview to the background screening process, scheduling and more? Look for bottlenecks where the onboarding process comes to a screeching halt while you wait for the volunteer candidate or a solution vendor to respond. Then imagine what a smart onboarding process could bring, reducing the number of interactions, the amount of data entry and the bottlenecks, while allowing the process to flow seamlessly.

Does your nonprofit organization maintain a streamlined screening and onboarding process that attracts top volunteers? We would like to hear your nonprofit’s journey to creating a fast and efficient onboarding process. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and share your comments below.

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