Volunteers play an important role within many charities. Conducting proper due diligence as part of their recruitment and management is an essential part of getting to know them and can also reduce the risk of fraud.
Volunteers are one of the public faces of charity. While most have good intentions and are honest and trustworthy, corrupt behaviour by even one volunteer can reflect poorly on a charity and sometimes the sector as a whole.
By putting appropriate policies, processes and practices into place for the recruitment and management of volunteers, charities will be more likely to identify when fraud has been committed by a volunteer and, even better, prevent it from happening in the first place.
This refers to the practical checks you can make to confirm the identity, credentials and good standing of the individuals who give their time to your charity.
It is important to get to know your volunteers in this way because they may have access to such things as charity funds, personal data and restricted physical locations, all whilst being in a position of trust in the eyes of the public and your charity’s beneficiaries.
Depending on the role a volunteer has applied for, it is important to establish what level of screening you will need to undertake on them. Some volunteer roles may require additional screening, for example if the volunteer is working with children or adults at risk.
Certain kinds of behaviour can be red flags for volunteer fraud.
None of these are clear-cut evidence of fraud, but they might point to the need for further investigation.
If you suspect fraud:
If you suspect volunteer fraud act promptly.
BUILDING YOUR CHARITY’S DEFENCES.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales has produced a range of resources covering this area as part of its compliance toolkit. See chapter 3 in the toolkit, ‘Fraud and financial crime’.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales has produced guidance on how to recruit and manage volunteers. See ‘How to manage your charity’s volunteers’.
Preventing Charity Fraud contains resources to help charities prevent, detect and respond to fraud.
This helpsheet was kindly prepared by Cancer Research UK.
Published 2019. Last updated August 2021.
© Fraud Advisory Panel, Charity Commission for England and Wales and Cancer Research UK 2019, 2021. Fraud Advisory Panel, Charity Commission for England and Wales and Cancer Research UK will not be liable for any reliance you place on
the information in this material. You should seek independent advice.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.