Frequently Asked Questions
- How to search and sign-up for volunteer opportunities
- How to register on this site and manage your volunteer account
- I forgot my username. How do I retrieve that information?
- I forgot my password. How do I retrieve that information?
- Do I need to have an email address to register?
- Can I volunteer with my family and friends at Chicago Cares?
- I am a youth volunteer. How do I get started?
- I have been waitlisted for a project. Now what?
- My hours are not accurate. Why aren’t my hours showing up?
- Why is it important for me to show up to the volunteer opportunities for which I register?
- I signed up for a Volunteer Opportunity and now I cannot make it. What should I do?
- Do I need to make a long-term commitment to volunteer?
- I need help finding a volunteer project, what should I do?
- Do you provide some sort of documentation that I volunteered for your organization?
- Why do I have to become a member on your website in order to volunteer?
- I am a new Chicago Cares volunteer. How do I get started?
- I work for a nonprofit organization or school that needs volunteers, how do I become a community partner?
- How do I register my school as a possible site for Serve-a-thon?
- Why don’t you provide the whole address for the opportunity on the sign-up page?
- What is a volunteer leader? How do I become a volunteer leader?
- What kinds of volunteer opportunities can I expect from Chicago Cares?
- My youth group would like to organize a volunteer day. Who should I contact?
- Who provides funding to Chicago Cares?
- How do I know if Chicago Cares is using donations responsibly?
- I would like to hold a fundraiser or learn how I can raise funds for Chicago Cares.
- My company is interested in having our employees volunteer together several times during the year. Can you help with that?
- Can I volunteer with my family and friends at Chicago Cares or put together a team of volunteers?
- My company would like to organize a volunteer day. Who do I contact?
- My company would like to sponsor Serve-a-thon or Celebration of Service. Where can I find more information on these events?
How to Use This Website
The following videos are provided by the national HandsOn Connect Team and are used as tutorials for all HandsOn Connect websites. Their contents may not be applicable to every aspect of this website. If you have a question that is specific to Chicago Cares and is not answered here, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your username is the email address you used when you created your account. If your email address does not work at login, please contact us at email@example.com and a Chicago Cares representative should be in contact with you within 1 to 2 business days.
Click the green "LOGIN" button on the top right of the website. Enter your username and click "Forgot password?" An email with a temporary password will be sent to you.
Yes. Our website uses your email address to identify you and send you important information about any opportunities for which you sign up. If you do not have an email account, you can get one free of charge from Yahoo or Google. Free Internet access is also available at most public libraries. If setting up an email account is not an option, please call Chicago Cares at 312-780-0800 for assistance.
Yes, you can sign up as a volunteer team and serve together. Chicago Cares welcomes volunteer teams at most of our ongoing calendar programs. To sign up for these programs, your team must not make up more than half of the volunteers at the project (for example, a team of 4 can sign up only for projects that need 8 or more volunteers). The team function can be found on any program sign-up page. Teams of 5 or more are encouraged to break into smaller groups to serve at multiple ongoing programs or to check out our annual Serve-a-thon event, which is built for groups that include as few as 2 or as many as 50 volunteers per team (sponsor organizations can have multiple teams).
Chicago Cares has volunteer opportunities for youth volunteers 8 years old and older. Youth volunteers 16 and older can create a member account and sign up for volunteer opportunities that they can attend on their own. Youth volunteers aged 15 and under must volunteer with a parent or guardian (up to two youth volunteers per adult). The parent or guardian will ensure there are enough available volunteer spaces for the project, sign up themselves, and then provide the youth’s name, date of birth, and email address in the special question portion of the sign-up process. (Use the filters on the left side of the Search page to find age-appropriate projects.) Everyone under the age of 18 must bring a signed youth waiver to each project they attend.
When (and if) a space opens up, you will be notified via email. Open spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you are still available for and interested in the volunteer opportunity, make sure you login, return to the sign-in page, and claim one of the open spaces. PLEASE DO NOT JUST SHOW UP FOR THE PROJECT.
Please give the volunteer leader one week to verify attendance for each project. However, if it takes longer than one week for your hours to show up on your Account Overview page, go to your Volunteer History, view the opportunity listing for the project at which you served, and click the "Report Hours" link.
At Chicago Cares, we’re committed to ensuring the best experience for volunteers and the clients they serve, and your participation is key to our collective success. We tailor our projects around goals, needs, and tasks, basing the number of volunteer slots we offer on these factors. As a result, your attendance at projects for which you sign up is critical.
If you are no longer able to attend an event for which you registered, please remove yourself immediately to allow another volunteer to sign up for the opportunity. (To remove yourself, log in, click “My Account,” the “Overview” link on the left, and then “Remove Me” for the appropriate entry in the “Upcoming Opportunities” box.) We request you remove yourself at least three days prior to the opportunity. If you sign up for but do not remove yourself from three or more projects you are unable to attend within a six-month period, your Chicago Cares account will be deactivated.
As a volunteer with Chicago Cares, there is no specific amount of time that is required of you. We do ask that you make a commitment to service. If you sign up for a volunteer opportunity, the volunteer leader is expecting you to arrive prepared and on time, ready to stay for the entirety of the project. If you enjoyed your experience, we would love to have you return to projects as many times as you would like. Just visit the project calendar and sign up for future dates. Providing consistent volunteers at our projects helps to build relationships and better meet the needs of each community.
Visit the search page and use the keyword box to list the types of programs you think you would enjoy, along with your zip code. If you experience difficulty locating the right volunteer opportunity for you, please contact Maura York, Coordinator of Volunteer and Leader Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.780.0800 ext. 163 to discuss available opportunities.
Yes, we can provide official documentation on Chicago Cares letterhead for the hours you have served with us. To request the letter, please contact Maura York at email@example.com or 312-780-0800 ext. 163 at least three business days in advance, so your hours may be verified.
Why do I have to become a member on your website in order to volunteer?
To make your volunteer experience easy and fun, Chicago Cares makes signing up for a volunteer opportunity as simple as a click. You must register with our website to receive reminder emails, manage your volunteer hours, and contact volunteer leaders. Your personal information will remain secure and will never be sold to a marketing firm. Chicago Cares is strongly committed to personal privacy.
The only requirement Chicago Cares asks of you is to attend and participate in the projects you sign up for and to have fun. Once you become a Chicago Cares member, you will be able to sign up for any volunteer opportunity we have available. If you would like to meet other newly registered volunteers and gain more information about Chicago Cares, then we encourage you to sign up for one of the “Just for Starters” volunteer opportunities. Search “Just for Starters” in the Keyword function.
Chicago Cares has more than 100 active nonprofit organizations and schools with whom we work to help meet both of our missions. View our Community Partner page and follow the instructions.
If you know of an organization that could use volunteers interacting with clients, painting, landscaping, organizing, and more, please visit our Community Partner page to find out more.
Chicago Cares is dedicated to personal and organizational privacy. Some organizations with whom we work request that their addresses remain anonymous for their clients’ protection. Use the zip code on the volunteer opportunity sign-up page to get a better understanding of the opportunity’s location. Once you register and sign up for the opportunity, you will receive an email with the project address, directions, where to meet the volunteer leader, and the volunteer leader’s contact information.
Chicago Cares projects could not happen without our corps of dedicated volunteer leaders. A volunteer leader can commit to lead the same project throughout the year or can help with our one-time projects such as Serve-a-thon, Corporate Volunteer Programs, and Youth in Service. Find out more about becoming a Chicago Cares leader.
We have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities that meet critical needs across the city, allowing you to work with children, adults, and seniors; at food pantries and meal programs; or at outdoor restoration and gardening projects. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities.
Our Youth in Service Program empowers youth to make positive changes in their communities through well-rounded volunteer service projects. We believe that by educating youth on social issues, engaging them in meaningful service and empowering them to be agents of change, we are fostering a generation grounded in the ethic of community involvement. Through this program, Chicago Cares will fully develop and coordinate all aspects of your school’s volunteer project. For more information, contact Joyce Cruz.
Chicago Cares is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To support our programs, we rely on a diverse array of funding from private individuals, foundations and corporations. We do not receive United Way grants or direct governmental funding. Donate today to support our programs across the city.
A very high percentage of the funds we raise go directly back into programming (between 83-88% every year). We also recently received our fourth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for our ability to responsibly and efficiently manage and grow our finances (an award given to only 9% of all charities). Our most recent IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements are available on our website if you wish to review them. For additional information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to have your company join us as a year round partner in service to Chicago! Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Yes, you can sign up as a volunteer team and serve together. Chicago Cares welcomes volunteer teams of 2-4 members for our ongoing calendar programs. To sign up for these programs, your team must not make up more than half of the volunteers at the project (for example, for a team of 4, you can sign up for projects that takes 8 or more people). The team function can be found on any program sign up page. For groups of 5 or more, please review information on our Annual Celebration of Service and Serve-a-thon events. These events are specifically designed for groups, which can include as few as 2 or as many as 50 volunteers per team; sponsor organizations can have multiple teams. In addition, companies and organizations can volunteer together at a service project customized just for them through our Corporate Volunteer Program. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Chicago Cares can create a custom service project for your group.
Our Corporate Volunteer Program offers expertise in community service to corporations by creating customized, hands-on group volunteer projects that complement team building, leadership development, and philanthropy initiatives. Through this program, Chicago Cares will fully develop and coordinate all aspects of your company’s volunteer project. Corporate Volunteer Programs do require a donation, which helps enable us to create, manage and lead the ongoing programs you see on our volunteer opportunities calendar. Contributions for a Corporate Volunteer Program vary depending on the size of group, length of project, etc. and range from $5,000-$300,000, plus the cost of non-reusable supplies, food and transportation. We request at least 60 days to successfully plan a custom project. Please visit our CVP page to learn how Chicago Cares can create a custom project for your company or contact email@example.com for more information.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for both Celebration of Service and Serve-a-thon with marketing benefits varying based upon the level of support provided. All sponsorships provide an opportunity for employee participation in the event with no individual registration donation required. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about sponsorship opportunities for your company.
Still have questions? Email us at email@example.com.