Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you’re looking to help hands-on, off-site or with special projects, you may have questions about what volunteering with us is all about. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Our interactive volunteer application can be found on our website under our Become a Volunteer page. The application will take you between 15-20 minutes to complete and cannot be saved mid-way, so be sure you are following it through to the very end. Due to the application’s interactive nature, it is not possible to physically mail it in.
The Anti-Cruelty Society offers a variety of volunteer programs that include long-term, short-term and special projects opportunities. All of our on-site programs require a minimal one-year commitment. If you’re not able to commit to a full year of service at this time, check out some of our other volunteer opportunities here.
The Anti-Cruelty Society is Chicago’s oldest and most comprehensive animal shelter. If you love animals, and are looking for a practical way to help, then consider joining our team! There are many benefits to volunteering with us. These include:
- Play an integral role in helping us care for and socialize shelter pets, while ensuring visitors have a positive experience.
- Assist our staff team by helping onsite and spreading the message of care and compassion.
- Receive a 10% discount in our retail store
- Develop personal and professional skills by cross-training into our advanced volunteer programs.
- Meet fellow animal lovers and help us build a community of caring throughout Chicago and beyond.
Do onsite volunteers have to complete their five monthly hours in one shift or can I spread it out over a few days?
Volunteers are welcome to schedule their volunteer shifts for whatever length of time suits them best. We do require volunteers to claim their chosen shift in advance – but the exact duration of the shift is up to the individual volunteer. Volunteers are also welcome and encouraged to come in for more than five hours a month.
We ask all incoming volunteers to choose just one level 1 program to begin their service in. This is to ensure that you are receiving familiarity in that specific area and have time to develop your personal knowledge and skill within that program. Once a volunteer devotes 25 hours, they may seek entry into the level 2 tier or cross-train into a different level 1 program.
I just sent in my volunteer application and am excited to start! How long will it take before I can start working in my chosen program?
Once you’ve submitted your volunteer application it may take up to six weeks before you’re working on your own. We’ll need some time to review your submission and send you Volunteer Orientation opportunities to attend. After orientation, you’ll need to complete the 5-hour, in shelter Core Commitment and become Fear Free Certified to become eligible to engage in a level 1 program training.
Some trainees may be able to complete their Core Commitment and attain Fear Free Certification within 7 days of their Volunteer Orientation. It’s all about your own availability and schedule flexibility.
Court Ordered Community Service Hours in Animal Care Duties are available for documentation from The Volunteer Resources Manager. Please submit your Volunteer Application, making sure to note your court-ordered service hour need on the application.
Our onsite programs are reserved for individuals who are 18 years of age or older. We do, however, have a number of ways in which children and teens can help out. Visit our Kids and Families, Teens, and Other Ways to Give for more details.
Learn more about kids and family opportunities on the website. We also offer special opportunities for families to help at different times of the year. Sign up for PetConnect, our enewsletter, on the homepage to keep up on all the opportunities.
We would encourage you to visit during our public hours at either the main Adoption Center at 510 N. LaSalle or our Everyday Adoption Center at 1101 S. Canal.
We have volunteer opportunities available to groups. For more details on projects and scheduling a session, click here.
I love the work you’re doing and want to help out but travel frequently. Are there any at home or virtual volunteer projects I can help with?
The Anti-Cruelty Society has a few computer-based help from home projects, Explore our current off-site volunteer opportunities here.