Frequently asked questions for volunteers
How do I sign up to volunteer?
It’s important to us that all our volunteers have a productive and rewarding experience, so we only schedule the number of volunteers that we can safely and comfortably accommodate on each day. When we have recruited the maximum number of volunteers that we can host on a particular day, we will no longer recruit additional volunteers
Are there any age restrictions?
Volunteers must be 16 years old or older. Volunteers under the age of 18 must bring a waiver signed by a legal guardian with them to the construction site on their scheduled build day. Minor volunteers may not operate power tools or work at heights above six feet. There is no upper age limit for volunteers.
When can I volunteer on the construction site?
The construction sites are open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and we ask that volunteers commit a full work day. It is important to arrive on time so that you do not miss sign-in, safety instruction, and work crew assignments. All volunteers must sign up for their volunteer shift in advance. Volunteers who show up to site or the ReStore without pre-registering may be asked to leave if we are at our volunteer capacity for the day.
Depending on the stage of construction or activities at the ReStore, we may not need volunteers or we may already have enough volunteers for a particular day. Thank you for your interest in serving!
Why aren't there any open volunteer dates?
What if I’ve never done any construction before?
We welcome volunteers of all skill levels and we provide all the training that you need! We assume no skills or prior construction experience, and the construction staff will provide plenty of instruction and supervision throughout the day.
What safety information should I know?
What kind of work will we do?
All types of building tasks are performed on a Habitat construction site. Please be prepared to assist in whatever the day’s tasks may be. Remember... every task performed helps to build homes! While tasks often include using power tools or working at heights, volunteers will not be expected to do any task that make them uncomfortable.
What to expect on site
- We do not discriminate on basis of race, creed, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.
- Be conscious of the safety of others and yourself.
- Do not continue working on a task that you are unable to do or feel uncertain about.
- If you have any questions please ask.
- Hard hats are to be worn when any overhead tasks are being performed. Bring a hard hat if you have one. If not, one will be provided.
- Volunteers must wear protective glasses anytime he or she is operating power tools.
- We work year-round and work outside in the elements. We only cancel work when there is dangerous weather.
What should I wear to volunteer?
- Comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Light clothing is recommended for the hot weather. Layering clothing is recommended for cold weather. Please wear rain gear when working in the rain.
- Closed-toe shoes or boots. You will not be allowed to volunteer on site if you wear sandals, flip flops or slip-on shoes. All shoes must be tied properly.
What to bring
- Water bottle (we have water on site)
- Lunch and snacks (unless provided by your volunteer group)
- Optional: gloves, hard hat and safety glasses if you have them (if not, you can borrow ours)
- Optional: personal tools (hammer, measuring tape, etc.). Please leave your personal power tools home, as they are not allowed on the construction site.
Rules & recommendations
- Smoking, drugs, and alcohol are not allowed on our construction sites, in the office or at the ReStore.
- We recommend you do not bring valuables, including jewelry, when you volunteer with Habitat.
- All volunteers must be 16 years of age or older. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years old. All youth must have a waiver form completed and signed by a legal guardian prior to volunteering on site.
It's raining! What do I do?
Construction will often continue during rain, depending on the stage of construction. Usually we will have enough work to do indoors to continue working in inclement weather. If the build site will be closed due to weather, you will be notified no later than 7am the day of your build. You can also check our Instagram and Facebook page for site closings/updates.
What if I get injured (or am injured already)?
We take the safety of our volunteers extremely seriously and pride ourselves on our safety record. Habitat for Humanity Capital District staff are trained in First Aid and CPR and can attend to minor cuts and scrapes. Please notify staff of any pre-existing conditions or allergies and of any necessary precautions, such as a bee sting kit, inhaler, etc. We ask that all injuries, no matter how minor, be reported to the site manager. If a serious injury occurs, a staff person will assist you in getting emergency medical care.
If you have an existing injuy or have limited mobility please contact our Project Manager, Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org, in advance to see if we have a safe volunteer task on that day.
Can I fulfill my court-appointed or school community service requirement with Habitat?
Volunteers needing to complete mandated Community Service hours for class, court or other reasons are welcome to complete these hours at the Habitat ReStore or on one of our construction sites.
We recommend completing your hours at one location to make it easier to track your hours. All court-appointed Community Service volunteers must view our Community Service Policy to see if they are able to complete their hours with Habitat for Humanity Capital District.
Sign up for a volunteer shift here.
Please arrive at least 5 minutes early for your scheduled shift. Find the construction site manager or ReStore manager and inform them you are there to complete community service hours. Be sure to sign in and out. Before leaving, have the manager sign off on your hours on the provided Community Service Log, which will remain on site or at the ReStore. We recommend you keep your own copy of your hours as well. All hours must be signed off on the day the hours were completed. Without a manager’s signature, these hours will not be counted toward your requirement.
What if I need verification for my service hours?
We are happy to provide a signed letter on our letterhead documenting your volunteer hours. Please request a letter for your total hours, after your last volunteer day is complete, by emailing our Project Manager, Melissa at email@example.com. Please include the site location, volunteer date and total hours. We must be able to verify your hours to complete this letter so please make sure to sign in/out at your volunteer location. Allow two weeks from your request to receive your letter in the mail. We cannot guarantee that we can provide your letter earlier, so please plan accordingly.
What else should I know?
Throughout the Capital District, Habitat works in partnership with neighborhoods that have their own unique identity and in many cases their own unique challenges. We encourage and ask all of our volunteers to embrace our community partners and neighbors as you build with us on site. As you work with us, please remember to remain mindful of your environment and utilize sound judgment at all times. If you have any concerns or questions, please communicate with the staff members working on the site.