Do you know your volunteers? Background checks aren’t just for prospective employees. The Great Recession has proven that thesechecks are necessary for volunteers in civic groups as well.
Anyone who handles money for a company or organization should have a background check conducted on them. Sometimes the temptation of easily accessible money with no immediate accountability to too much for some people.
Many times the people who are entrusted with this money can go months without anyone knowing that something is awry. Even though volunteers aren’t on your payroll they are still representing your company. If they’re working with your clients, you want to make sure that your company is being represented properly, in the best light possible.
Recently, an incident near my hometown of Dayton, OH makes it all too clear why you need to conduct criminal background checks on the volunteers within your non-profit organization and specifically why you need to ask for credit histories on those that have unrestricted access to the funds obtained through donations and fundraising.
According to an article in the Englewood Independent dated Dec. 15, 2011, the former volunteer treasurer for the Northmont Band Boosters has been indicted on a felony charge of one count of grand theft over $5,000.
The article states, “On June 28 members of the band boosters reported questionable transactions on the association’s checking and credit card accounts to Englewood Police. The total loss reported amounted to more than $26,500. Following a lengthy investigation (the former treasurer) could only be held accountable for stealing slightly more than one third of that amount.
Englewood Police stated that between Jan. 14 and June 11 (the former treasurer) stole more than $9,500.”
Furthermore the article states the Band Boosers President, Linda Kididis, assisted police with the following information, “After the June 14 board meeting, a booster member spoke to Kididis privately and alerted her that Hatfield was going through a divorce. Kididis conducted an Internet search for court records and came across records showing that Hatfield had allegedly embezzled money from a previous employer as well as other court records showing that he had allegedly been arrested for theft and identity fraud in the past.”
The sad issue here is that the kids of the Northmont Band are the real victims in this alleged crime. Obviously, a detailed background check would have revealed a lot about this individual, prior to him accepting the position of treasurer for this organization.
Unfortunately, as the Great Recession drags on into its fourth year, these stories become more and more common. HR ProFile recommends that background checks be conducted on all volunteers who work with children and especially those entrusted with a non-profit organization’s money.
HR ProFile, Inc.