Nonprofit organizations choose Checkr for
Nonprofit organizations often run lean teams, making it critical to find the right volunteers to staff projects and initiatives. These nonprofit and faith-based organizations trust Checkr to streamline background checks for volunteer work for improved efficiency and faster onboarding.
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Transform your volunteer screening
Checkr connects with the ATS and HRIS systems you’re already using to streamline your
volunteer background screening and onboarding workflow.
Frequently asked questions
Learn more about nonprofit background checks
Why nonprofit organizations run background checks
Nonprofit organizations may use background checks to ensure the qualifications and eligibility of the individuals looking to volunteer or join the organization as an employee. Nonprofit background checks are often part of due diligence which helps maintain the integrity of the organization to foster trust with donors, beneficiaries, and the community. Background checks for nonprofits help mitigate risks which could negatively impact the organization and the vulnerable populations they serve, such as the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and special education, elementary school, and high school students.
What shows up on a nonprofit background check?
A nonprofit background check typically reveals a wide range of information about an individual, encompassing both criminal and personal records. Depending on the level of detail required by an organization, background checks for nonprofits and volunteers could include criminal history, driving records, employment history, education verification, personal references, and drug screening.
However, many nonprofit organizations place emphasis on criminal histories, which is often a volunteer background check requirement. This search may include local, state, or federal offenses and can give organizations a detailed understanding of an individual's past behaviors. The information obtained through these searches enables nonprofits to make informed decisions when onboarding new employees or volunteers.
How far back do volunteer background checks go?
The lookback period covered by a volunteer background check depends on several factors: the jurisdiction, regulations of the population the organization serves, type of check being conducted, and the organization’s background check policy. For example, a church looking for volunteers to interact with children at their Vacation Bible School might conduct a criminal record check to ensure eligibility and safety. Generally, volunteer background checks that include a criminal history go back seven years.
However, if certain criteria are met, such as hiring candidates for a paid position with the nonprofit organization offering a salary above a certain threshold, the background check could go back further. It's important for organizations to understand these parameters to ensure thorough and compliant background check practices.
Compliance laws for volunteer background checks
Compliance laws may not only apply to how your organization conducts volunteer background checks, but also how you engage with job candidates looking to join your team as an employee.
- The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires organizations using a volunteer background check service (like a CRA) to provide the individual with proper disclosure of the intent to perform a background check, obtain written consent to do so, and follow the adverse action process if the results of a background check impact your decision to move forward.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides guidance to ensure that background check services for nonprofits do not discriminate against potential job candidates or volunteers based on race, color, national origin, sex, or religion.
- Ban the Box laws, which vary greatly by state, city, and county, prohibit organizations from asking about arrest or conviction history on initial job applications and may also impact when you are allowed to conduct a volunteer background screening.
- Many states have also enacted laws that establish new requirements, such as background checks for church volunteers. For example, California AB 506 requires churches to train volunteers and mandatory reporters to recognize signs of abuse and neglect and to conduct regular fingerprint-based screens of volunteers and ministry employees.
The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.