Volunteer FAQs

How much of a time commitment will I need to make if I volunteer?
Volunteers are asked to commit to 6 hours per month for at least 6 months.  This ensures that volunteers have a good understanding of shelter policy and procedures and also ensures the well-being of the shelter animals through consistent care.  Shifts are typically 3-4 hours long, are available every day of the week.  The total of 6 hours can be split into separate shifts to fit your schedule.

How old do I have to be to volunteer?
Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer at our shelter. Younger folks are encouraged to get involved in community outreach as Shelter Ambassadors. Check out our DIY Service Projects section.

I have a community service project due for my school; can I fulfill my requirement at HSC?
Most community service projects are too short-termed to be fulfilled at our shelter, but outside projects, like organizing donation drives for items on our wish list, are often a perfect fit for projects that only require a few hours.

Can I come in just to play with the puppies and kittens?
Taking care of all our animals is a LOT of work, and socializing them is one small part of a big job. We need to provide for their physical wellbeing first, and that means cleaning up after them and making sure all our adult dogs have been walked before we have time to play with any of the animals. We hope that volunteers will be able to spend some of their time socializing during each shift, but due to a large number of animals we are often responsible for, that is not always the case.

Does the Humane Society of Charlotte have volunteer opportunities for groups?
Our group opportunities focus on the immediate needs of the shelter and/or projects. Because of the size of our shelter, we have limited opportunities and only small groups will be accommodated on site. If you have a group that is interested in volunteering at our facility for a project, please contact us for more information.

Why do you charge a fee for volunteering?
We have a very large volunteer program that requires resources to coordinate.  By charging for volunteer orientation, we can offset these costs and ensure that more of our resources can go directly to the care of the animals. The fee is paid at orientation and can be paid with cash, check or credit.  It also covers the cost of your initial volunteer T-shirt.

Is there a dress code for volunteers?
We ask that our volunteers wear long pants, close-toed shoes, and our green t-shirts. We do not permit volunteers to wear running shorts, flip-flops, tank tops, or bare midriff shirts. If you are dressed inappropriately, you may be asked to leave.

When can I volunteer?
The shelter is open to its volunteers from 8 am to 6 pm seven days per week. These hours are not the adoption hours for the public, only hours for the care of the animals at the shelter.  We open to the public at 11 am, Wednesday – Monday for adoptions!

Can I volunteer for the shelter at other locations?
We are an independent shelter located in Charlotte, NC and are unaffiliated with any other shelter, rescue, or group. HSC has a variety of off-site events that volunteers can participate in.

Can I serve in multiple volunteer roles?
Yes!  We highly encourage volunteers to try out multiple volunteer job opportunities in hopes they will find two or three roles they enjoy.  There are also opportunities to go through additional training for volunteer duties that require specialized training.

Do you have a program for court-ordered community service hours?
Because of a large number of requests for court-ordered community service hours, we can only accommodate DUI offenses with a minimum of 20 hours.  Please email volunteer@humanecharlotte.org for more information.

Can I begin volunteering tomorrow?
We appreciate the enthusiasm of our volunteer applicants and we want to be sure every volunteer gets the information they need to start off on the right foot.  Orientations are typically scheduled twice monthly, conveniently with a weekday and a weekend opportunity.  Waiting a short period for orientation means that everyone receives safety information, details of our programming, tips on connecting with the greater HSC Volunteer Community, and the answers to many frequently asked questions.  Volunteers tend to feel more connected to our shelter and the work we do and get the confidence they need to perform the tasks at hand.  Going through Orientation also leaves volunteers in a position to successfully spread the word about our work, thereby increasing adoptions and donations!

My schedule is unpredictable and I can’t guarantee availability. Can I still volunteer?
A volunteer’s options will be limited by their availability. Some positions (such as Kennel and Customer Service volunteers) require a structured time shift, whereas others (like Special Projects) are much more flexible. Whatever your availability might be, there is a volunteer program to fit your schedule and interests.

I want to help Community Cats in my neighborhood. Do I need to be a volunteer?
If you want to help a colony of cats in your neighborhood through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), you do not need to be a volunteer. We loan out cat traps to members of the public. We do have a larger TNR program and welcome volunteers in a variety of roles.