A current story in the online Nonprofit Times, Another bookkeeper, another arrest, brings perfect clarity to the reason organizations need to perform background checks. A bookkeeper was arrested for taking $200,000 in donations from her place of employment, a nonprofit organization, and depositing the money in her personal bank account. However, this was not a first offense. She has five prior arrests for various issues dating back to 2000. Obviously, the organization did not perform a background check.
Background checks satisfy two important principles of nonprofit organizations, including churches and ministries: internal controls and governance. Internal controls assure that your organization has checks and balances in place to maintain financial integrity. Governance is required by the board and governing officers to maintain the integrity of the organization as a whole. Background checks, if not already part of your standard hiring procedures, need to be included in your list of due diligence for potential employees.