Archive for the ‘FAQs’ Category

What Motivates Volunteers?

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

People come to volunteering for nonprofit organizations (NPOs) for as many reasons as there are individual personalities. People can be giving, or needy; altruistic or self-centered. Some volunteers prefer to help guide the organization as a director, while others are more suited to answering phones and greeting visitors.

No matter what they do, all volunteers are motivated by something to serve. That something can be tangible, like adding their service to a resume; or it can be intangible, like feeling good about helping others.

Knowing what motivates volunteers can help you better meet their expectations, making their experience better—and their willingness to continue more likely.

Some volunteers seek a sense of community involvement. Newcomers to a city or town often want to meet people and make friends. A good way to do so is to volunteer in their new community. Those who live alone might need to dispel loneliness and have other humans to interact with—and volunteering is a good way to accomplish both goals.

Volunteer managers can help them achieve their objectives by introducing them to staff or fellow volunteers who are like-minded, and by making them feel welcome and valued. A volunteer looking for connection who is subsequently ignored and left alone will not stick around for long!

The folks looking for an entry on their resume might not be as self-serving as they seem. Sure, they will gain from their volunteer experience if it looks good to a hiring manager; but isn’t everyone looking for something from their volunteer work? The contributions made by people looking to expand their skills or try out a career are just as valuable as those made by people who need nothing but a way to fill the hours from 10:00 to 2:00.

Retired professionals and tradespeople often volunteer to pass their wealth of accumulated knowledge on to the next generation. Appreciating their expertise and finding ways to make use of it can make them feel valued and useful.

Networkers or between-job people might find volunteering a great way to connect with new business contacts. Managing their needs with the needs of your NPO can make for a win-win situation; while the person is unemployed, they’re more likely to keep volunteering for someone who is looking out for their best interests.

The reasons for volunteering might look selfish or self-serving at first glance. But it’s okay to provide feelings of accomplishment, pride, or inclusion to volunteers in lieu of a paycheck. It’s human nature to want to receive when you give! Discovering your volunteers’ motivations will help you know them better, manage them better, and get more out of them!

Knowing what motivates volunteers can help you better meet their expectations, making their experience better—and their willingness to continue more likely.

Count on for your volunteer prescreening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with background checks.

How Can We Recruit Volunteers?

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

There are three basic ways to recruit volunteers, dependent mostly on the type of volunteers needed:

  • Warm Body Recruiting: This method is best suited when you need a large number of volunteers, perhaps for a one-time project, or a short period of time, with the task to be completed requiring minimal qualifications. You can accomplish this kind of recruiting by distributing brochures and posters, speaking to groups, placing notices in local media, and using word of mouth.
  • Targeted Recruiting: This method requires much more careful planning to reach a small audience of volunteers who have a specific skill or some other characteristic not commonly found. By carefully thinking about the needs and the type of person who could fill those needs, you should be able then to determine likely ways to communicate and motivate those people. Your message can then be delivered directly to those people.
  • Sphere of Influence: By identifying populations who are already in contact with your organization and using them to reach out in widening circles, you can reach large numbers of potential volunteers. These might include your clients (and their families and relatives), your alumni, friends and family of your current staff (paid or volunteer), people in the organization’s neighborhood, and others who have been affected in some why by the problem you organization is working to resolve.

Other Than State or Local Laws and Licensing, When Are Volunteer Organizations Required to Screen Volunteers?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

In addition to the requirements of state or local laws and licensing, a volunteer organization may also have contractual obligations for screening both employees and volunteers. For example, your insurer may require that you conduct criminal background screening in order to provide coverage for sexual molestation liability insurance. Additionally, many volunteer organizations use facilities owned by a city or county. The contract for using the facility may require background checks of any person working with youth at those facilities. Another instance of contractual requirement of criminal background screening would be the terms of funding support from government agencies or private charitable foundations.

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Apply to Volunteer Screening?

Friday, December 5th, 2008

If a volunteer organization uses a third party to provide background screening services, that report is considered a ‘consumer report’ under the FCRA and subject to all the regulations governing such reports. Hiring an experienced, professional background screening service will, however, not only provide a comprehensive criminal background report. A good background screening company will also be able to assist you with complying with FCRA regulations.

Is Checking the State Sex Offender Registry Enough Screening?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Checking your state’s sex offender registry is better than no screening, but it has some serious limitations. It would be time consuming to check the registry in each state, and many sex offenders do move frequently. Additionally, most registries rely on sex offenders who voluntarily register their address. Further, many states limit the registries to only the most violent or serious offenses. At the least, a volunteer organization should be sure to understand the limitations of the registry in each state being searched. A more thorough method is to hire a professional background screening service with the knowledge and expertise to provide a more comprehensive background search.

Are There Laws Requiring Volunteer Organizations to Screen Volunteers?

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

A volunteer organization may be required under state or local laws to screen volunteers, depending largely on the nature of the services. Some states require volunteers who will be working with children, the elderly, or persons with disabilities to be screened with a criminal background check. Additionally, licensing requirements in some states may also require criminal history checks for any person on the staff of the licensed organization.

Can I Ask Volunteers for Date of Birth for Background Check?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

If your organization intends to complete background checks on all volunteers for a given position in the organization, it is acceptable to request date of birth for the purpose of a background screening.

Do be sure that you ask for the information on a separate ‘tear-off’ part of the application, and make it clear that the information will be disposed of as soon as it is used for the background check. It cannot become part of any permanent file.