Providing safe and vetted volunteer resources is important for today’s nonprofits and the people they serve. Verified Volunteers was founded three years ago with the goal of transforming the screening process for America’s nonprofits.
Tom Klein, Executive Director of Verified Volunteers, leads the organization’s mission to propel service organizations and nonprofits by empowering volunteers. Prior to launching Verified Volunteers, Tom handled acquisition and business development activities for SterlingBackcheck, one of the largest background screening companies in the world. Previously, he worked for Calera Capital Partners, a leading middle market private equity firm. Tom began his career with Goldman, Sachs & Co. and spent a year with American International Group in Thailand as a Princeton-in-Asia fellow. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an A.B. from Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Tom volunteers actively in New York and works closely with Harlem Academy, an independent school serving grades 1-8. Tom is based in New York City.
For years now, Human Resource departments have been running background checks on potential employees. What prompted you to build a company based on verifying volunteers in the nonprofit and social sector?
Statistics tell us that as many as 50% of volunteers give their time and resources to three or four organizations or volunteer programs. If each of these organizations screen their volunteers, this can become extremely frustrating for the individual who wants to serve – and it can delay their onboarding with each organization. This can also become very expensive for nonprofits (or for volunteers if they are expected to pay for their own background screens).
Having identified these problems, we decided to conduct focus groups with nonprofits to learn more about how they were verifying volunteers and the obstacles that nonprofits face when bringing people onboard. We found out a lot. For instance, nonprofits were receiving poor background checks, lacked the tools they needed to perform the checks and were undergoing arduous screening processes.