Online Background Checks Boon to Nonprofits

By Michael Klazema on 7/5/2012

Nonprofit agencies throughout Massachusetts are already seeing the benefits from the state’s implementation of iCORI, the online Criminal Offender Records Information system last month. Agencies such as Catholic Charities South in Brockton were having difficulties with making volunteers wait for two weeks for their criminal background checks to pass. According to Development Coordinator Nikki Draves, “when volunteers give their time, they want to get to work right away.  If you ask them to wait two weeks, they can sometimes lose interest or they’ll go somewhere else where they can get going quicker.”

Catholic Charities and other nonprofits statewide are very satisfied with the iCORI system, which as cut down on wait times for CORI results from a few weeks to as little as a few minutes. “We couldn’t be happier,” said Jeanette Paul, vice president for human resources of the South Shore YMCA in Quincy. According to Paul, her staff is able to get some results immediately, with others taking one day at most. Nonprofit agencies are required to conduct CORI checks on those who would have unsupervised access to the elderly, disabled, or children. Quick turnaround time for background checks is important when agencies are hiring college students for summer employment, says Kay Brodesky, senior vice president of Human Resources for the Old Colony YMCA in Brockton.“The applicants will say, ‘Look, I only have a small period of time to wait on this; I’ve got to get moving on other employment opportunities,’” Brodesky said. By using the new online system, the Old Colony Y has been able to complete its hiring for the summer without any delays.


The iCORI system offers restricted information on applicants’ backgrounds for employers required to perform the checks. Nonprofits meeting certain criteria can have the fee for the search waived. Paper-based searches are still in place for requests from the general public and employers not required to conduct background checks. Interfaith Social Services in Quincy would like to use the iCORI system for their food pantry and thrift shop employees, but are not allowed. Executive director Rick Doane says because those jobs aren’t involved in direct activity with children, ISS doesn’t qualify. With an average of five CORI checks per month at a cost of $35 each, the costs add up for a small nonprofit.

Having online background checks available for nonprofit agencies, or any business, is a good idea. However, why limit checks to only the geographically restricted CORI system? There are many more criminal record search options available that a reputable background check company could make available to you. A company like offers several affordable options for a more thorough multi-jurisdictional check with near instant turnaround times like the CORI system. With access to countless criminal databases nationwide, they provide several options for instant results. Their US OneSEARCH provides you with information from more than 430 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 11 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports. For more specific information on sex offenders, their US Offender OneSEARCH includes information contained in their comprehensive US OneSEARCH. Plus, this data includes sex offender information from 49 states (plus Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico) with photos. Don’t put limits on safety by using limited search results – try today.


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