Best Practices

Review Application Carefully

Unclear or suspicious information should be noted and addressed during a phone interview. Also, if any information on the application appears to be falsified make to sure to verify it. Potentially falsified information could include age, work experience, previous volunteer experience, and more.

Conduct Phone Interviews

Conduct phone interviews to determine qualifications and verify all information submitted via the written volunteer application. Phone interviewers should be well-trained on the types of questions to ask as well as how to best interpret the responses of possible volunteers. Several full-time employees should be involved in the interview process in order to obtain several opinions.

Verify ALL References

Call previous employers to confirm employment and determine how the applicants’ skills are best suited for the organization. Ask specifically if they have any concerns about the candidate working directly with children. Checking male and female references may provide different perspectives on the candidate. If the list of references provided by the applicant is suspicious or minimal encourage staff to request different references.

Clearly Explain Policies

Inform potential volunteer candidates of the heightened priority your organization places on protecting children. Discuss the policies and procedures in place to protect children from all types of abuse. Mention to all volunteer applicants the steps involved in the process to identify potential abusers of children. Explaining the emphasis on protecting children from abuse can quickly deter any individual seeking easy access to children.

Don’t Guarantee Anything

Hire all volunteers on a probationary basis and inform them that their ability to work as a volunteer is dependent on job performance, verification of references, and background history checks. Supervise very closely during the probationary period. Trust your instincts. If an applicant or current volunteer makes you uncomfortable, do not hesitate to discontinue their work with children.

Put it in Writing

Draft a written volunteer code of conduct and volunteer agreement and require all new volunteers sign it. Then, create files for all volunteers which should contain the following information in it plus any additional information deemed relevant:

  • Verified application
  • Signed contract/letter of agreement
  • Parental release form for volunteers under 18
  • Signed code of conduct
  • Easily identifiable photograph
  • Confirmation of completed reference checks
  • Completed criminal background checks
  • Documented results of National Sex Offender Public Registry search
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