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:

I’m eager to start volunteering and came in to fill out an application but was told I have to do it online. Where is it located?

Our interactive volunteer application can be found on our website under our “Join the Team” page. The application will take you between 15-20 minutes to complete. The application can not 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.

I’m available to volunteer this coming season but can’t make the full one year commitment. Can I still volunteer?

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. Our off-site volunteer programs or special projects, do not have a commitment minimum so are a great fit for people who can’t come in for a full year.

I’m considering volunteering with a few different organizations. What are the benefits of volunteering with you?

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, all while ensuring visitors have a positive experience.
  • Assist our staff team by helping on-site and spreading the message of care and compassion.
  • Receive a 10% discount in our retail store as well as on our School of Dog Training classes.
  • Develop personal and professional skills by cross-training into our advanced volunteer programs.
  • Meet other animals lovers and help us build  a community of caring throughout Chicago and beyond.

Do on-site volunteers have to complete their 5 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 5 hours a month.

I’m torn in deciding which on-site program I want to volunteer in. Can I choose more than one?

We ask all incoming volunteers to choose just one program to begin their service within. This is to ensure that you are receiving proper training in that specific area and have time to develop your personal knowledge and skill within that program. Once a volunteer completes 25 hours within their first program they are given the option to cross-train into another area.

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 between 1-2 months before you’re working on your own autonomously. We’ll need some time to review your submission. After that you’ll need to complete all three steps of our volunteer training. This includes attending a volunteer orientation, completing program-specific training, and then coming in for your first autonomous solo session. After attending orientation some new volunteers are able to complete the final two steps of training within 10 days. It’s all about your availability and scheduling flexibility.

I’m looking to complete court-ordered community service hours – can I do them at the shelter?

At this time The Anti-Cruelty Society does not have any volunteer opportunities available to people who are looking to complete court-ordered community service hours. We recommend contacting Chicago Animal Care & Control if you are looking to complete your service hours at an animal shelter.

I have a child who is under 18 who wants to volunteer. How can they become involved?

Our on-site 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 Other Ways to Give and Teen Opportunities pages for more details.

My family is interested in volunteering together. How can we schedule a visit?

At this time we do not have on-site family volunteer opportunities available. We would, however, 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.

I’m looking to coordinate a group volunteer outing. Where do I start?

We have a number of 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 number of help from home programs, as well as computer-based volunteer projects, with which you can get involved. Explore our current off-site volunteer opportunities here.

Thank you to our partners whose support makes our work possible