Alli Zaro Fitzgerald
How important are background checks to a nonprofit?
Background checks are key to avoiding risk in the nonprofit world. Recently I connected with a nonprofit organization in Silicon Valley. A San Francisco-based CPA introduced me to his client, a Tech VP who sits on the nonprofit’s board. This organization has several Board members who were concerned about the exposure of the organization’s assets and reputation. The organization serves thousands of members of their community providing vital health education services. Therefore, their operating funds are accessed by staff and overseen by several board members. Because of this, well over a million dollars are at risk. In addition, operations are lean and every dollar goes into operations. Any loss of funds to fraud would disrupt their ability to provide services AND to attract future donations and background checks will help avoid these losses.
Volunteers for the organization and other staff members represent the nonprofit.
These individuals represent the organization publicly in the community as well as on various social media channels. Failure to screen the employees & volunteers of a non-profit causes a huge problem for the organization. The result exposes donors, board members and fellow staff to un-needed risk, exposure and liability. For instance, we have all read horror stories that have occurred and have negatively impacted large nonprofits when background checks were not conducted.
What should a nonprofit do?
One board member reached out to me to inquire if there were any background check options available for their nonprofit board members and staff. She felt that doing background checks would limit their risk of potentially losing assets to fraud. Therefore, they would be doing their due diligence by performing them. I advised the organization that we conduct checks on seasonal volunteers (self-paid) as well as new hires to the staff.
If you have any questions on background screening please feel free to contact us.
– Alli Zaro Fitzgerald – Business Development