Invest in Background Checks for Nonprofit Boards
A nonprofit background check for supervisory board members is not only prudent in the name of good hiring practice, but also in the name of protecting the nonprofit from toxic leadership that can rot the organization from within. Luckily, a private investigator can provide the intelligence needed for full transparency.
When it comes to nonprofits organizations, knowing who to put in charge is paramount to the organization’s mission. When executives or professionals who serve in a supervisory capacity misbehave, it can have devastating consequences for the organization. From litigation to bad public relations, misconduct has the potential to damage the name of a nonprofit organization for years. That’s why it’s so imperative to run comprehensive, thorough nonprofit background checks on supervisory board members and executives.
United Way recently came under fire in the news after allegations surfaced regarding a hostile work environment. An anonymous letter allegedly authored by former employees of Untied way cited instances of racism, harassment, and nepotism on the part of leadership and failure to act on those abuses by leadership. This ended with a Untied Way board member stepping down after she intimidated one of the alleged authors of the letter.
However isolated individual instances of this type of misconduct may seem, the phenomenon of identifying and curing toxic workplace cultures is becoming more urgent. Corporations and nonprofits alike across the country are starting to take a more comprehensive look at how the internal operations of their entity can manifest in harmful ways. Lack of oversight and accountability are two ways in which toxic work environments flourish. That’s why many charitable organizations are opting for nonprofit background checks on their proposed leadership to ensure that the true mission of the nonprofit remains intact.
Private investigators are ideal professionals to conduct nonprofit background checks. They can review the relevant items on a subject’s background check that might interfere with their ability to supervise a nonprofit, such as criminal history, work history, and litigation history. Private investigators have diverse experience in evaluating human behavior and performing a risk assessment regarding their capacity in a supervisory role. Private investigators are able to place such relevant items in context. For example, a long address history might indicate a history of transience, which can translate to lack of dependability and lack of accountability. However, if the subject was forced to move again and again by virtue of their employment, that is important context that is needed in the investigation summary.
There are obvious items that would appear on a background check for a nonprofit board member that would pique interest, such as criminal history and work history. However, a background check does not have to be limited to what’s on paper in a nonprofit background check. Private investigators are adept in reviewing facts found, but they are also adept in searching for what’s outside the databases. Private investigators can locate and speak with former employers, former supervisors, and former supervisees who have worked with the prospective board member. By getting to the human sources during fact-fining in a nonprofit background check, private investigators can illuminate the professional and personal impact of that person on others. This creates a more transparent picture of how a prospective board member may impact the nonprofit.
An internal investigation of United Way’s internal operations downplayed the allegations proffered by those who authored the letter. However, given the misconduct from board members following the allegations, United Way might invest more in nonprofit background checks going forward. If your organization is experiencing pervasive issues with misconduct, including racism, harassment, and discrimination, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit program and learn how you can improve your organization from within.