Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

Construction site volunteers must be at least 16 years old.

ReStore volunteers must be at least 14 years old, and any volunteer at the ReStore under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or adult group chaperone.

All minors, regardless of volunteer activity, are restricted from high risk tasks, such as working on ladders or using power tools. All minors will be prompted to print off and have a parent or guardian sign a minor permission form upon signing up for an event. These forms cover volunteer activities for 365 days from their completion. Please check opportunities carefully for specific age-related restrictions.

 

What should I wear to volunteer?

Close-toed shoes are required to volunteer and hard-toed boots are recommended. You will be turned away if you wear open-toed shoes, such as flip-flops. We recommend dressing in layers including long pants, such as jeans; a t-shirt that you would not mind getting dirty; and a hat and sun-block.

 

What should I bring when I volunteer? Is it okay to bring tools?

Bring a water bottle, hat, sun-block, and lunch, unless your group is arranging for lunch to be delivered. Lunch break is only 30 minutes and having everyone stay on site makes it easier for us to get back to work in the afternoon. You can bring hand tools and gloves if you would like. We have all the personal protective equipment you will need onsite, as well as all of the tools we need for the work we have planned that day. We ask that you do not bring power tools to site as our superintendents would need to inspect each tool for safe operation.

 

Where do I park when I volunteer?

When you sign up to volunteer, you will receive a confirmation email that includes information about the event, including where to park. For some sites, parking may be limited, so we recommend carpooling or taking public transportation.

 

What will I be doing when I volunteer at a construction site?

The stage of construction determines what you will be doing. Volunteers assist in all phases of construction, from framing to finishes. Do not worry if you have never participated in building a home before. Our superintendents and volunteer crew leaders will teach you everything you need to know and make sure you feel comfortable in the task you are assigned.

 

What will I be doing when I volunteer at the ReStore?

Tasks at the ReStore include helping to organize the store, receiving donations, pricing items, light construction, furniture assembly, and helping customers. In addition to in-store shifts, there are shifts available to be a driver’s assistant. Driver’s assistants go on the truck with our drivers to make deliveries and pick up donations.

 

Can I arrive late or leave early?

At our construction sites, you must arrive prior to 8:15am in order to volunteer. Our morning welcome and safety briefing begins at 8:15am and our superintendent cannot be taken away from supervising the site to give safety briefings to late volunteers. Since volunteer slots are at a premium at our construction site, it is important that volunteers that sign up commit to attend the full day. At our ReStores, the shifts are more flexible. Make sure the volunteer supervisor is aware if you need to leave early.

 

What does it mean if a volunteer opportunity says “Reserved” or “Full”? Can I still come volunteer?

An opportunity that is “Reserved” or “Full” means that a group or individuals have reserved the volunteer slots. This is usually a sponsor group that has donated in order to reserve the day for members of their organization. If you are not able to sign up online, please do not try to attend the opportunity, we will not be able to accommodate you. Our supervisors plan work for those who have signed up online, and having additional volunteers onsite puts a strain on supervision, negatively affecting the volunteer experience. We never like to turn volunteers away, so please find another open opportunity that fits your schedule to sign up for.

 

An opportunity has the option to “Join Waitlist”. What does this mean?

Joining the waitlist for an opportunity will automatically add you to the event if a volunteer slot opens. Those who have been waitlisted in the past are usually the first to be notified for any new opportunities.

 

Do I need to attend an orientation?

Yes, we ask that you attend an orientation prior to or within the first month of volunteering. This helps to introduce you to all of the opportunities available to volunteers at San Diego Habitat. If you are volunteering as part of a group, one member of the group should attend and pass along the information to the rest of the group.

 

What do I do if I can no longer attend an opportunity I signed up for?

Please navigate to your registered events and click “Cancel Registration” for the opportunity you can no longer attend.

 

What is the time commitment for volunteering? Do I need to commit to volunteering every month?

There is no minimum commitment for volunteering. San Diego Habitat has many opportunities for you to get involved, and we encourage you to get as involved as you would like.

 

How do I sign up to volunteer on a regular basis?

Please fill out this survey to tell us about your interest in volunteering on a regular basis.

 

How do I bring out a group to volunteer?

We offer opportunities for groups at our construction sites and ReStores. If you are part of a company that is interested in building with us, please visit our Corporate Groups page. If you are part of a civic, faith, military, or school group, please visit our Group Volunteer Interest Form.

 

I have been ordered to do community service hours by the court. What is the process?

Please fill out our court-mandated community service application to apply to fulfill your community service requirements with San Diego Habitat.

 

How do I view the hours I have contributed to San Diego Habitat?

You can check your hours on VolunteerHub. You can narrow this down to certain dates, which is useful if you intend on itemizing your mileage on your tax return. If you need a certification letter, you can email volunteerservices@sandiegohabitat.org.

 

What happens in the event of rain?

Our Construction and Volunteer Services staff monitor the weather prior to every build. If the tasks for the day can be done in the rain or are indoors, we will continue as scheduled. If the work is outside or unsafe because of rain conditions, we will inform all volunteers of any changes or cancellations to the event a day or two prior.

 

How do I give feedback on my volunteer experience?

We love hearing from our volunteers about their experience with us. Please fill out our volunteer survey.

 

More questions?

If your question was not addressed here, please contact us at volunteerservices@sandiegohabitat.org.