How to Onboard New Volunteers Safely and Efficiently This Summer

By Background Investigation Bureau | Posted on May 6, 2021

BIB May 2021 blog 410

What you need to know to be efficient in your on-boarding practices and keep your community safe

This past year has looked nothing like anyone thought it would. Instead of managing park and recreation centers from your office, you’re hosting Zoom calls and overseeing things via online resources. And instead of preparing for the summer with your usual processes, you’re creating an entirely new path, including screening new volunteers during a time when extra precautions need to be taken and budgets may be tighter than ever.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has produced a unique set of circumstances for park and recreation centers, their staff, and all the people who visit. With all these changes and uncertainty as well as necessary restrictions that limit you from operating how you normally would, we have provided some tips and solutions to help you safely onboard new volunteers moving forward.

Virtually onboard new volunteers

Facilitate background checks, assessments, and other pre-volunteering screenings online, rather than in person. Once you’ve selected your volunteers and how you plan to utilize them, establish a system for digital onboarding. Send out any information needed via email and trade physical onboarding paperwork for PDFs and e-signatures.

When using Background Investigation Bureau for background screening we provide our client's volunteers with a private portal called Secure Volunteer. Secure Volunteer will automatically email volunteers personalized login credentials once the order is placed by your organization. Once your volunteer logs in they can initiate the background check themselves as well as view the progress and status of their background checks, physical exams, or drug testing. This includes if an order is awaiting a decision from your park and recreation center.

Offer your volunteers the option of “self-pay”

Lean on your volunteers.  We know that budgets are tighter than ever and finding funds to screen your volunteers might be a challenge you are facing. Parks and Recreations can help their bottom line by asking volunteers to pay for their background checks. We have done research on "Volunteer Self Pay" and have found that 95% of volunteers are willing to pay for their own background check. This can go a long way in saving your organization money.

Prioritize the health and safety of everyone involved

The CDC recommends using technology as much as possible to complete tasks that would have previously involved the exchange of paper or had volunteers onsite. This includes things like using an electronic application, conducting assessments remotely and holding training sessions over video instead of at the organization.


When onboarding new volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond, parks and recreation centers can:

  • Adapt onboarding/training strategies and embrace digital recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding.
  • Help your organization make the most of their budget by utilizing “Volunteer Self Pay”
  • Prioritize the health and safety of everyone involved.

We hope you found this article valuable as well as helped realize you have all the tools, technology, and strategies you need to succeed in onboarding new volunteers for your park. Helping you to take care or your community and do your job strongly and confidently, despite the uncertainty. For more information visit:

Background Investigation Bureau (BIB) is dedicated to helping you protect what matters and delivering quality screening at a fair price and with ease. BIB is the exclusive background screening provider of NRPA. Click here to learn more about accessing your member discount with BIB.