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Blog » VBS Safety Check: How to Background Screen Your Volunteers

VBS Safety Check: How to Background Screen Your Volunteers

Can you believe it’s already April? Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and ministries like yours are planning for another summer of Vacation Bible School (VBS)! While you’re in the midst of gathering fun decorations, organizing engaging activities, and recruiting your VBS leaders and volunteers, there should be one key step at the forefront of your plan: background screening

VBS offers a unique opportunity for your church to share its faith with children of all ages, and provide them a safe space to learn about the gospel in a fun, memorable way. Kids are excited to attend, parents are thankful for a few hours alone, and leaders and volunteers are ready to teach. That’s why it’s crucial to implement volunteer background checks into your VBS plan. 

With so much on your plate, properly recruiting and screening volunteers can sound intimidating. With help from our friends at Verified First, we’re sharing the importance of background checks for VBS staff members and how your church can easily integrate screening into its VBS summer planning. 

Background Screening for VBS: A Vital Necessity

Background checks are essential for safeguarding your congregation, community, and church. Your staff and volunteers work with vulnerable populations within your community, and therefore your church has an obligation to protect these people to the best of its ability. Beyond that, it’s vital to protect your church’s mission, too. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through efficient background screening. 

You might be thinking background checks are excessive for a one-week event, or unnecessary because you know your community of volunteers. The safety and security of these children and your church is not something you can be too careful about. While you may know your church’s staff and volunteers well, you may not know everything about their history or capabilities. Even though VBS is often a short event, it is critical to keep your children and community safe. 

The Right Background Checks For Your Church

Before you can create your ministry’s screening program, it’s important to understand the different types of background checks available to you. Quality, efficient background checks are necessary to properly safeguard your church and its community. 

You may be tempted to utilize an inexpensive, instant background check you found somewhere online. These checks do not typically include the most up-to-date and accurate information, and likely do not measure up to compliance standards in the event of an incident. 

A high-quality background check will let you learn more about your staff and volunteer’s identity, character, and prior convictions to help you determine if this person is the right fit for your needs. Your church should look for background checks that provide the following, at a minimum: 

Other common checks that ministries like yours utilize are education and employment verifications, reference checks, and drug testing. 

How To Implement Background Screening for VBS

Implementing a new process like background screening can be easy! Let’s explore four steps to help your church create a background screening program to prepare for Vacation Bible School: 

Step 1: Define Your Church’s Background Screening Policy

A well-written, thorough screening policy helps ensure your background checks are uniform, consistent, and compliant while also protecting your church and its people. Your background screening policy provides guidelines for how volunteer information will be investigated and considered throughout the process. 

This policy will also help your church determine the necessary steps and procedures to properly and effectively safeguard your community and mission. Your screening policy should include: 

  • Reasons for screening your volunteers
  • Scope of your screening policy
  • What your background checks will include
  • Procedures of your screening process

A solid screening policy for your church should apply across the entire congregation and be consistent about who you screen and what type of screens you run.  

Step 2: Streamline Volunteer Processes and Communication

In order to create and implement an efficient background screening program for VBS, you need to streamline volunteer processes and provide clear, transparent communication. It’s critical that volunteer onboarding and communication align with your church’s mission and needs. 

Be transparent with your VBS staff and recruits about the volunteer process. Clearly inform potential volunteers about what is expected of their role and the volunteer onboarding process. Transparent, direct communication during the volunteer onboarding process will help create a positive volunteer experience while providing structure for your VBS screening program. Here are a few ways to improve communication and streamline volunteer onboarding at your church:

  • Create volunteer resources (one-sheets, guides, etc.)
  • Host volunteer Q/A or information sessions
  • Utilize volunteer mentorship opportunities 

Step 3: Consider Church Management Software and Tools

If your ministry is not already utilizing church management or outreach software, it might be time to consider investing in technology. The right platform will help you stay organized, streamline various administrative tasks, and give you more time to focus on engaging efforts like VBS activities and community outreach. 

The church management software that you select should be customizable, user-friendly, and grow with your organization’s needs. Oftentimes, you may be working with a small or constrained budget. To maximize your investments to their fullest potential, opt for technology that helps your church manage operations, engage with your community, and create authentic opportunities to grow your ministry. 

Step 4: Partner with a Background Screening Provider

Now that you have done all the work to establish an efficient, safe background screening program for VBS, the final piece of the puzzle is partnering with an accredited, reliable screening provider. 

Recruiting, onboarding, and managing your VBS volunteers is challenging enough without the right tools and processes in place to support your needs. To alleviate some of the work on your plate, we recommend partnering with a background screening provider that integrates with your chosen church management platform

Manage Your VBS Screening Program with Realm and Verified First

Managing your VBS summer plans can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! Taking the time to check and safeguard your church and its people will create a better VBS experience for the entire community.

Partnering with the right church management and background screening providers is essential to creating and maintaining a safe and fun Vacation Bible School. Verified First, ACS Technologies’ trusted background screening provider, seamlessly integrates with Realm, ACS, and Ministry Platform, making the recruitment, background screening, and onboarding process simple and compliant.

Get Started With Verified First! 

Verified First 

Verified First is the leading comprehensive background screening processor partnered with ACS Technologies. Together, we lead the market in knowing how best to help churches manage, grow, and protect their church with easy-to-use, integrated solutions. Verified First has received accreditation and is a National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) member. This accreditation means Verified First has dedicated itself to providing the highest level of standards. These standards include information security, legal and compliance, client education, researcher and data standards, verification services, and business practices.