Why is there a minimum time requirement to volunteer?
As an animal shelter, there are a lot of moving parts and safety/health considerations. All of our policies are aimed at keeping our shelter animals happy, healthy, and adoptable. During volunteer training, you will learn all of our safety protocols.
We require two shifts per month at our shelter for each volunteer to ensure that all of our safety protocols remain fresh in your minds. Depending on what you would like to sign up for, these shifts range from 30 minutes to all day, so we can accommodate virtually any schedule!
If you are interested in volunteering in an aspect of our rescue that does not require the animal safety training (like laundry transport, outside event fundraising, or lawn care), we can be much more flexible about our minimum time requirement.
How does volunteer training work?
Animal safety and care is our number one priority, so all new volunteers must take volunteer training. This is completed in two stages: classroom orientation in a large group, and then hands-on training individually or in very small groups.
Classroom orientations are generally held on weekends. There are two orientations scheduled each month. You will receive details of the orientation schedule for the month and be able to choose which is best for your schedule after your application is submitted.
The classroom orientation will teach you the basics of the history and philosophy of our organization, a tour of the facility, and the highlights of our volunteer program and safety protocol. The hands-on training will take you step-by-step through our safety protocols so that you get hands-on experience with them while working with the animals.
How do I volunteer after training?
We use an online volunteer management software called Volgistics. Once you complete your training, we will email you all the information you need to log into your individual profile.
On Volgistics, you can sign yourself up for whatever shifts work for you—either at home on your computer, or on the go with your smart phone! You will be able to sign yourself up for volunteering shifts whenever your schedule best allows. It is an extremely flexible program once you’ve received your training, with opportunities seven days a week from 9 am to 10 pm.
The major requirement that we ask of all volunteers is that you’re sure to keep your commitments once you’ve signed up for shifts. We very much depend on our volunteers showing up when they have signed up. Signing up for shifts and then failing to show can cause animal care schedules to be pushed back and thrown off. Please take your volunteer commitments seriously!
What tasks do volunteers do at the Stafford SPCA?
Volunteers do a little bit of everything! Here are just some examples on the daily system:
- Dog walking
- Cat care (cleaning litter boxes, sweeping, etc.)
- Laundry folding
- Lawn care
- Dog one-on-one enrichment
- Office volunteering
In addition to daily tasks, we need volunteers to help us with special events outside of the shelter like these:
- animal transport
- community adoption events
- fundraising and donation drives
- Angel Tree donation drive
- community engagement events
As we continue to grow and thrive, we look forward to our volunteer program growing with us!
Do you accept court-ordered volunteers?
We accept volunteers who need to accumulate hours for presentation to a court, lawyer, parole board, etc. on a case-by-case basis. This program is separate from our regular volunteer program. We do not send letters to the court, to lawyers, to officers of the law, etc., for any volunteer hours performed outside of our established community service program.
Please call our offices at 540-242-0608 for more information on this program, and read all about our community service program here.
What are the age requirements for volunteers?
All shelter volunteers must be at least 13 years old in order to work with our cats, and at least 16 years old to work with our dogs.
All volunteers between the ages of 13-16 must have a parent/guardian accompanying them at the shelter at all times while volunteering. Volunteers age 16 and up may volunteer at the shelter without parental supervision.
Additionally, we cannot allow volunteers of any age to be dropped off at our shelter without reliable transportation on grounds. This is a point of liability and safety since we have a very small staff. Regardless of age, all volunteers must have transportation on shelter property for the entirety of the time you volunteer, each and every time.
What about group volunteering events?
We can accommodate groups of various sizes for one-time volunteering events. Usually these volunteer service days involve yard work, building maintenance, or big outdoor projects, with an opportunity to socialize and play with our animals as well!
In order to get details and set up an event, please email [email protected] to find out what opportunities are currently available for groups.
I have already volunteered at another shelter in the past. Do I have to receive training to volunteer again?
Most animal rescues are set up independently of each other and have different policies. In order to learn our policies and safety guidelines, you’ll need to take our specific orientation and hands-on training class. This is all with the health and safety of our animals and our volunteers in mind!