The first step to becoming a volunteer is to read and agree to our Volunteer Waiver. Then fill out the Volunteer Application and submit online. We will review your information and confirm you as a new volunteer.

Once you have been confirmed as an Orphans of the Storm volunteer, you will be added to our volunteer database and begin receiving the weekly Call for Volunteers emails. These emails list the scheduled upcoming adoption events and describe the volunteer opportunities at each. All volunteers are required to start at the off-site adoption events. When an event interests you, simply reply to that Call for Volunteers with your choice. Before the date of that event, you will receive a second email with details and your specific assignment.

Volunteers requirements:

  1. At least 16 years of age.
  2. Have 10 hours each month to dedicate to Orphans.
  3. Complete the volunteer application and submit from the Orphans website.
  4. Receive confirmation and welcome from an Orphans of the Storm volunteer coordinator.
  5. Read, become familiar with, and sign off on the volunteer manual.

All volunteers begin at the off site adoption events. Here the team leaders can become familiar with you and what specific qualities you have to offer.

The types of events that may be offered are:

Adoption events — These are events where we take the animals out to specific locations within the community. The animals are introduced to the public with a goal of finding adoptable homes as well as raising awareness of the shelter and its work.

Volunteers are expected to be familiar enough with the shelter’s basic policies to answer questions from the public. 

Our volunteer guide will be provided and includes all details.

Fundraising events — Some events do not involve animals on-site but are just as important to network and connect with the community. An example of a fundraising event would be a corporate volunteer fair where a team of Orphans volunteers would man a table to answer questions from the corporate employees. Or you may find yourself gift wrapping for donations during the holiday season. You never know what opportunities will come up.

Other volunteer opportunities

By volunteering at these events, you will become familiar with us and our shelter programs. Gradually volunteers may choose to move into the shelter to join one of our in-house dog or cat programs.

There are volunteer opportunities beyond the off-site adoption events and fundraisers that you may well be suited for. Many volunteers find their niche at the off-site events and have no desire to move into the shelter. Other volunteers may move on to join a team that performs a specific task at the shelter. Movement into the shelter and on to one of these teams will be by invitation, or the request will need to be approved by the shelter director and the volunteer coordinator. To volunteer at the shelter working directly with the animals, you must be at least 18 years old.

Other opportunities may include joining our shelter photography team, assisting our bio writing team, greeting visitors, blogging, guiding tours, becoming a feline friend or going through additional training to walk and exercise shelter dogs.

Shelter photography — Our shelter dog photography team is headed up by Michelle Shields. Photos of all new arrivals are usually taken on Weekends at the shelter. Michelle is always looking for assistants who are willing to get down and dirty while helping get that most photogenic angle of each dog.

Dog and cat biographies — Connecting with one of our dogs or cats on social media is huge. We need not only do a photo that is a show-stopper, but also a bio connected to that photo that will lure the potential adopter into the shelter. Our bio fact collectors shadow the photography team on Sundays to gather information on each dog and write it up in the most creative yet accurate way.

Cat blogger — We have the most awesome dog blogger, Amy, but our cats don’t get the same treatment. We are looking to put together a cat blogging team to get the exposure that our felines deserve.

Feline friends — Join our feline friends to socialize, groom and get to know our fabulous felines.

Greeters — We have found that when visitors are greeted upon arrival, they stay longer and adopt more often. Our customers are golden, so we need more trained greeters. If you have been volunteering at the off-site events and have mastered the shelter policies, have a positive attitude and are a real people person, you may be just right to be a greeter.

Tour guides — Once again, this takes a person who is completely familiar with the policies, history and workings of the shelter. A fun job!

Community outreach presentations — Each week we head out into the community to present to groups of students, campers, clubs, and just about any group that you could imagine. Our presentation tells our story, but still the volunteer needs to be able to answer any questions concerning the shelter. So study up and join this team.

Other ways to support

Other ways of supporting our work are through fundraisers; sponsoring an event at your school, work, or community center to benefit Orphans; collecting newspapers and blankets; or inviting a representative of Orphans to come speak to your group or company to help spread the word about our life-saving work.

You may even have your own exciting ideas that we could work with you to help further our mission!

Orphans of the Storm relies on the generosity of its volunteers to further our mission of finding forever homes for the stray and abandoned dogs and cats of Lake County and beyond. We could not do our crucial work without you. We look forward to meeting you!

For questions, please contact us at volunteer@orphansofthestorm.org.