Charities: Get to know your volunteers

Volunteers play an important role in charities. However, due to the cost of living crisis, many charities have seen a decline in number of volunteers. As many people are watching the pennies, charities need to regain volunteers so vulnerable people still have access to the support they need during these harsh times.

Charities must ensure that they have policies and procedures in place for the recruitment and management of volunteers. They are in a position of trust and may have access to charity funds and personal data. It is therefore vital that proper due diligence is undertaken when recruiting new staff to get to know them and reduce the risk of fraud.

What is due diligence and why is it important?

Firstly, due diligence involves checks on the identity and credentials of potential volunteers. This could involve verifying ID, asking for references, requesting a declaration of unspent criminal convictions and undertaking online searches. The charity should also ensure that it has written policies and procedures and that volunteers agree. 

Finally, following the successful recruitment of volunteers, there is a strong need to ensure that they are sufficiently trained for their role.

There are things to look out for about volunteer fraud. These include:

  • Reluctance to provide information or references during the recruitment process
  • Difficulty keeping in touch with volunteers
  • Difficulty in getting information from volunteers
  • Unusual behaviour from volunteers

How to take action against Charity Fraud?

If you suspect fraud you should report this by the charity’s whistleblowing policy promptly. This should then be dealt with in line with the charity’s response plan, explaining how, when and by whom the suspected fraud will be investigated, reported and resolved. The fraud must be reported to the relevant national law enforcement agency and the charity regulator.

Where can I go for more information?

November 27th – December 1st marks Charity Fraud Awareness Week and is headed up by The Charity Commission.

For more information about fraud, cybercrime, how to spot and prevent it and tips on how to protect you and your charity against it visit the Gov.UK website.

For further advice or tips, get in touch with a member of our Charity and Not for Profit team on 01903 234094.