Archive for September, 2012

Be Flexible with Staff and Volunteers

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

volunteer screening, volunteer backgound checkInstituting a flexible work and volunteer policy can help you attract and retain top staff and volunteers. Shorter work weeks, flexible hours, job sharing and telecommuting are all appealing to both volunteers and employees.

In the new economy, employees expect to work using new technology, which allows for more at-home situations. 10-hour, 4-day weeks or 12-hour, 3-day weeks are becoming more common. And Gen Y workers prefer to integrate friends and family into their lives—including work, unlike their older counterparts who traditionally keep work and home life separate.

In fact, to attract Gen Y workers and volunteers, nonprofit executives should consider making flexibility a part of the organizational culture, because they expect it. Working remotely and at unusual hours is par for the course to this group.

Flexible workplaces see higher retention and lower turnover. Workers and volunteers who have more control over their work environment are more productive and happier, too. Those who work from home are more focused and dedicated to getting their work done.

For many of your employees and volunteers, this set up may be their only option, whether because of distance, child care duties, elder care duties or the need to care for loved ones with disabilities or illnesses.

Keep your employees’ and volunteers’ needs in mind when working up job descriptions and attendance policies. Ask what they need, and try to work with staff and volunteers to make new ideas succeed, and keep everyone productive and happy.

Can you trust every person who volunteers for your agency? Conduct background checks on all volunteers. Rely on for your volunteer screening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with volunteer background checks.

Volunteer Screening is a Must-Do

Friday, September 7th, 2012

volunteer screening, background checkThe news is filled with stories of volunteers who are accused of stealing money from charities, abusing kids under their care or sexually assaulting vulnerable people. Unfortunately, the perpetrators often gain access to their victims through agencies, charities, schools or religious organizations they volunteer for.

No nonprofit director or volunteer manager wants to be responsible for any harm suffered by an organization or its clients, staff members or other volunteers. That’s why it’s a good idea to take proper precautions and thoroughly screen every volunteer who may have contact not only with vulnerable populations, but with anyone in the organization.

People who prey on others may think that a nonprofit organization won’t follow the same stringent procedures as an employer would. They may be under the impression that because they are giving their time, they won’t be subjected to any background screening or credit check.

Why take the chance of proving them right? Volunteer screening is a quick and easy process that can bring great peace of mind. Requiring every volunteer to fill out an application that states they will be asked to undergo a background check could be your first deterrent. Chances are that someone who means to do financial or other harm will move on to the next organization. Following through will ensure that you are doing everything you can to protect the organization, its staff and volunteers, and the people who depend on its services.

In addition to formal background checks, credit checks and criminal history checks, it’s a good idea to ask for references—and to contact each of them before bringing a new volunteer in.

When it comes to volunteers, there is no such thing as being too careful!