Background Check FAQ

What is Sterling Volunteers?

Sterling Volunteers offers volunteer screening services to nonprofits and volunteer programs across the country. They provide a secure online volunteer screening platform that allows the volunteer to enter and control their information when ordering a background check. If desired, once a volunteer is verified, he or she has the option to use their background check to apply and volunteer with other volunteer organizations both within and outside the Sterling Volunteers community. It’s the fastest, easiest and most affordable way to connect volunteers with the causes that inspire them most.

Do I have to create a Sterling Volunteers account?

Yes, you will need to create an account in order for the background check to be processed. The email address that is utilized for Sterling Volunteers needs to be the same email address that is utilized in RobotEvents.

You must have a user specific account, rather than a generic organization account, for this purpose.

How often will I need to undergo a background check?

You will need to undergo a background check every 2 competition seasons.

If I am a Coach and an Event Partner, will I need to have two separate background checks?

No. As long as you utilize the same RobotEvents account for both roles, a single background check will apply to both roles.

Is consent required prior to completing a background check?

Yes. Sterling Volunteers will request your consent before completing your background check. Certain state laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law that regulates who is permitted to access a person’s consumer report information and how it can be used, generally require that you must obtain written or electronic consent from the applicant prior to a third-party screening company like Sterling Volunteers conducting any criminal record search, credit history check, or reference check.

Is there a minimum age to undergo a background check?

Yes, you must be at least 18 years of age.

How secure is the website used to collect information on the volunteers?

The Sterling Volunteers platform is extremely secure. Sterling Volunteers complies with all national and local regulations with respect to the storage and transmission of sensitive data and is hosted in ISO 27001-audited data centers. The Sterling Volunteers platform is audited regularly throughout the year with external vendors. These audits include a network perimeter security assessment, an application penetration test, and a physical security assessment.

What in my background is being checked? What are my rights?

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act was enacted in 2003 and amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FACT Act entitles consumers to obtain one free copy of their consumer files from certain consumer reporting agencies during each 12-month period. If Sterling Volunteers has prepared a background screening report in your name for one or more of their clients, you have access to that report at any time via Sterling Volunteers’ platform. Log in to your account to read your report.

Does Sterling Volunteers sell my information to third parties?

Sterling Volunteers will not share your personal information with third party marketers for direct marketing purposes. They may use and share the information internally to provide and improve the site and the services; deliver correspondence, communications, or services; solicit your feedback; and inform you about the site and the services they provide.

What information is required for an accurate, thorough background check for the REC Foundation?

Your first name and last name correctly spelled and exactly as it appears on your birth certificate or other legal documentation and your date of birth are required fields. Your Social Security number is an optional field.

Can I use a multi-user email address for a Primary or Secondary Coach Contact?

No. Generic or multi-user email addresses are not permitted for these roles. The email address used to create the RobotEvents account for any Primary and Secondary Coach must be associated with a single user that matches the name on the account, and only that account holder should know the password.

Do I need to add my Social Security Number to complete the background check?

No. Criminal records are not tied to Social Security Numbers. Criminal records, unlike SSNs, are part of the public record, which means they are typically filed based on name. If you would not like to include your Social Security Number, simply check the “No Social Security Number” box when it prompts you for it.

What does the REC Foundation volunteer background check consist of?

We will specifically be running a SS Trace, Government Watch List search, Nationwide Criminal Database search, and DOJ National Sex Offender Registry search.

Will the REC Foundation be checking my credit as well?

No. The names “Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act” and “Fair Credit Reporting Act” are misleading. They do not only cover credit checks. Background checks are also covered under these acts. The REC Foundation does not require a credit check meaning your credit will not be affected by the background screening process.

How much does background screening cost?

The background screening costs $7.00 and is 100% paid for by the REC Foundation. Sterling Volunteers gives you the option to donate a portion or all of the cost of the background check if you would like to, but it is not mandatory.

What if I am a teacher and have already undergone a background screening process?

While we understand that you may have undergone an extensive background screening process to become a certified teacher or for other reasons, background checks are not transferable from state to state or between entities. For this reason, we will need you to complete a background check via Sterling Volunteers so that we can keep record.

Do REC Foundation employees undergo a background check?

All REC Foundation staff undergo an extensive background screening process upon hire.

How do I share my background check with other organizations?

Volunteers can share their background check report with other organizations who are registered within the Sterling Volunteers community. Follow the steps on this Sterling Volunteers page to start sharing. If you experience any issues with your background check status in RobotEvents updating after you have shared your background check, please please reach out to the Regional Support Manager for your location.

Why is the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation requiring me to undergo a background screening?

The REC Foundation’s top priority is the safety of its community. In the best interest of our students, and for the safety of everyone participating in REC Foundation events, we require all Coaches, Event Partners, Event Administrators, and other key volunteer personnel to undergo criminal background screenings that comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

What happens if I do not complete my background check?

  • If you are a Coach, you will not be able to register your team for the season until you have completed a background check. Primary and secondary team coaches must undergo a background check.
  • If you are an Event Partner, you will not be able to have your event approved until you have completed a background check. The REC Foundation reserves the right to take ownership and/or un-approve an event if the Event Partner and all Event Administrators have not completed a background check within 30 days of the event.

When does my background check expire?

All background checks expire on June 30th. If your background check is completed before March 1st, your background check will expire on June 30th of the next calendar year. If your background check is completed on or after March 1st, it will expire on June 30th two competition seasons away (add 2 to the current calendar year). For example, a background check completed on 02/28/2024 will expire on 06/30/2025, but a background check completed on 03/01/2024 will expire on 06/30/2026.

What should I do if I am experiencing problems with my background check?

If you are experiencing problems with your background check, please reach out to the Regional Support Manager for your location.

What if I have more questions?

Please email