1) I’ve never held a hammer in my life; can I still work onsite?
We welcome volunteers of all skill levels and we provide all the training you will need! No previous construction experience is required to volunteer with us. Please however be aware that construction is a physically demanding activity. Plan on getting a good night’s sleep and eating a full breakfast before your build day.
2) How old do I have to be to work onsite?
At our construction sites: Volunteers must be at least 16 years old to work at any of our construction sites, and at least 18 to work on roofs, scaffolding or use power tools. For each group of four minors (under age 18), there must be one adult (over age 21) present. All volunteers under 18 must arrive onsite with a waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian.
At our ReStore: Volunteers must be at least 14 years old to work at our ReStore and each minor or group of four minors (under age 18) must be accompanied by a chaperone (over age 21). All volunteers under 18 must arrive onsite with a waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian.
3) Are there volunteer information sessions? Do I need to attend?
We offer volunteer information sessions at our office at 1057 W. Fireweed Lane Suite 103, Anchorage, as well as at different community facilities in the Anchorage area, for those interested in learning more about our organization and opportunities. They are NOT required before volunteering. We don’t currently have any information session dates on the calendar, and we will post them here when we do. In the meantime, please feel free to explore our website, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 907-272-0800 if you would like to learn more about volunteering!
4) Where are your volunteer sites?
Our construction sites: We build in the Anchorage municipality. We are currently rehabbing several single family homes throughout East Anchorage. We also have occasional home repair and community facility repair projects wherever there is a need. Please visit our volunteer calendar for current opportunities and to sign up.
Our ReStore: The Anchorage Habitat Restore is located at 5023 Cordova St, Anchorage, AK 99503
5) What days can I volunteer?
Our available build days vary, depending on our projects. We build on our construction sites from Wednesday – Saturday and our ReStore is open Monday – Saturday. Please visit our volunteer calendar for available dates.
6) How do I sign up to volunteer as an individual?
Please read more about our current opportunities and then visit our volunteer calendar to sign up for a build day or at the ReStore. When you find a day that works for you, click on it, click “Sign Up” on the bottom of that page and fill in the required information. You will receive a confirmation email that you are registered for a build day.
7) How do I sign up a group?
We have different volunteer capacities (from 2 – 12) depending on the site and day of week. Please fill out a group interest form to indicate your scheduling preferences and we will respond with date options.
8) How far in advance do I need to schedule a group build day?
It depends on your site preference and size of your group but we often see our Saturday’s book very quickly, so reserve your spot today. Check our calendar for available dates. Please plan ahead and fill out our group interest form as soon as possible.
9) How many people can work onsite?
Each site has different capacities and there can be as few as two or as many as 12 volunteers on a site on any given day. The safety and adequate supervision of all our volunteers is extremely important to us. If you are hoping to bring a group, large or small, please complete our group interest form.
10) If my friend/co-worker/church already has a group reservation, what do I do?
If you are joining a group where your group leader has already made a build day reservation with us, please simply create an account. Sometimes the build day you want to join might be marked “full” or “waitlist”, but don’t worry, if you’re part of a group reservation your spot is safe and you do not need to register for the build as an individual.
11) How does the volunteer waitlist work?
Our build days fill up quickly, especially on Saturdays. If you register for a date that is waitlist only, you will be notified via email if your status changes before the build day. If you’re part of a group and were told you had a group reservation, don’t fret, your waitlist status is only temporary and you will be notified via email when your registration is confirmed. If the date says “full,” we are no longer accepting volunteers for that day.
12) How long is the build day?
When you volunteer at one of our construction sites you will be working a full-day, 8-hour shift. At our ReStore we have 4-hour half day shifts, as well as 8-hour full-day shifts.
13) Can I come late / leave early?
No. We ask that you stay for the entirety of the shift you signed up for and only reserve a spot if you can be there on time and stay for the whole shift. When people show up late or leave early it makes it difficult for our supervisors to properly train volunteers and to accomplish the goals for the day.
14) What time do I need to be onsite?
Times vary depending on the job site. Please visit our volunteer calendar to see our current volunteer opportunities and their hours. When you register for a build day, you will receive additional information specific to your job site.
15) What should I wear?
Please wear sturdy, closed toe shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or ruined. Also, be aware that much of the work is done outdoors, so bring layers and dress appropriately for the weather including wind, sun, rain, snow, and fog.
16) What should I bring?
Bring a lunch, water bottle, a hat, and appropriate clothes for the weather. Please leave your valuables at home – there is no secure storage at any of our sites. While we provide all the tools you’ll need, you may bring your own (please label with your name) hand tools. If you have your own hardhat, work gloves, or safety googles, you are also welcome to bring those. Smoking, alcohol are not allowed on our sites. We also ask that you do not use cell phones on the construction sites as they are distracting and can cause accidents.
17) It’s raining! It’s snowing! What do I do?
Don’t fret! We often build during the rain/snow, but if weather conditions cause safety concerns, then your build day could be cancelled. We try to provide as much advance notice as the weather allows. If the build day has not been cancelled, please bring rain/snow gear and be prepared to work outside.
18) Is there parking available for volunteers?
Street parking is limited at all job sites. We encourage volunteers to take public transportation, carpool, and pay close attention to city parking restrictions.
19) What can I expect when I arrive onsite?
Upon arrival, you will check-in with our greeter or, if you haven’t pre-registered online, complete our waiver. After signing in for the day, all volunteers will receive a construction orientation, safety instructions and learn about work assignments from our construction crew. Depending on the stage of construction, safety precautions, and number of volunteers onsite, our construction staff will give you different options of tasks for the day and you will be able to choose the task you want to do. You will be asked stay on the same team for the duration of the day in order to maximize productivity.
20) Why do I have to sign a volunteer waiver?
Every volunteer must sign (either online or onsite) our volunteer waiver before they are allowed to begin work at any job site. We are required to have a record of your participation for legal, insurance and statistical purposes.
21) What work will I be doing?
Depending on the stage of construction, safety precautions, and number of volunteers onsite, our construction staff will give you different options of tasks for the day and you will be able to choose the task you want to do most. You will never be asked to do work that makes you uncomfortable. You will be asked stay on the same team for the duration of the day in order to maximize productivity.
22) What does Habitat do to ensure my safety?
We take the safety of our volunteers extremely seriously and pride ourselves on our safety record. Habitat Anchorage staff and AmeriCorps members are trained in First Aid and CPR and can attend to minor cuts and scrapes. Before you start work, please notify staff of any pre-existing conditions, allergies or any necessary precautions, such as asthma, bee allergies, or recent injuries. Please read our safety tips prior to coming to site. Before starting work at every site, our construction staff will go through a safety orientation. People who arrive late and miss this safety training will not be able to volunteer.
23) What about lunch?
Lunch is from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. It is recommended that you bring you own lunch at every site as food options are limited at most job sites.
24) I have to cancel! What do I do?
Please email us at email@example.com and we will cancel the reservation for you.
25) Is there a minimum commitment to volunteer?
We welcome volunteers for as little as one full shift on any of our sites. If you’re interested in becoming a regular volunteer, please register for a build day and talk with our construction staff onsite about your interest.
26) How can I become a regular volunteer?
If you’re interested in becoming a regular construction or ReStore volunteer, please register for a build day and talk with our construction staff onsite about your interest. If you are interested in becoming a regular volunteer at the ReStore, please register for a volunteer orientation.
27) Are there other ways to volunteer that aren’t construction?
Yes! Even beyond volunteering at our ReStore, we have office volunteers who help us with everything from data entry and filing to design needs and beyond. We also have ambassadors who represent Habitat Anchorage at tabling events, event photographers and greeters who run our onsite volunteer check-in. If you’re interested in any of these opportunities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
28) How do I get my volunteer hours verified?
After you volunteer, please email us at email@example.com asking for your hours to be verified and we will happily send you a confirmation letter. If there is a specific form that you need us to fill out, just send it our way. Thanks for volunteering!
29) How can I give my feedback?
We always welcome feedback. Please call us at 907-272-0800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns, or advice you may have about your volunteer experience.