They walk dogs and contact their legislators. They clean cages and call constituents and monitor our wildlife land trust properties. They enter data collected during busy vet clinics and they collect signatures that will help get new laws on the books.
Their tasks and time commitments are different, their backgrounds diverse, but their goal is the same: to fight for all animals. They are our volunteers, and without them, the Humane Society of the United States couldn’t do the work we do.
Last year alone, 2,300 volunteers performed 140,000 hours of service for the HSUS and our affiliates. “Volunteers increase our reach and capacity in ways we wouldn’t be able to do without them,” says Hilary Hager, senior director of volunteer engagement at the HSUS.
In the stories on these pages, you’ll meet six superhero volunteers. Some are lifelong animal advocates. Others are new to advocacy, but they felt the call one day. They visited our website and rolled up their sleeves. They found a supportive team here at the HSUS, ready to arm them with the skills and training they needed.
No matter how they got to us, they’re here. We’re grateful for their dedication, and for the dedication of all our volunteers. After you read about their work, we hope you’ll feel inspired to join them. To get started, visit humanesociety.org/volunteer or call 301-258-1555. Whatever your skills, whatever your time commitment, we’re glad to have you on our side in the fight for all animals.
State council volunteer
TIME IN ROLE: 4 years
THIS ROLE IS BEST FOR: Dedicated advocates who want to change the legal landscape for animals by putting their advocacy and philanthropy skills to work
TIME REQUIRED: 3-5 hours/week
When you give your time to animals, they give back to you.
Alfert hears a common response to her work: I wish I could do what you do. “And my response is like, ‘You can do what I do!’ ” she says. “They always wish, and I think you can!” With a little training, you can join Alfert as a hero for wildlife. Not everyone can be on call 24/7, but one of our care centers (or another local organization) can help find a role that fits your schedule.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: When a 15-year-old boy rescued a grackle whose leg had gotten tangled in fishing line one night, Alfert volunteered to pick up the bird in the morning. Throughout the night, the teenager texted Alfert asking for advice and sharing updates, including his name for the bird: Jonathan. “Let me tell you, I choked up!” says Alfert. “That gives me hope that this compassion for animals is something that we just need to teach.”
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING VOLUNTEERS: “Just go out and make the time, because it’s such a beautiful gift! When you give your time to animals, they give back to you.”
Special projects volunteer
TIME IN ROLE: 1.5 years
This role is best for: Anyone who doesn’t care how they help—they just want to help!
Time required: Varies
I don’t know of another organization that fights for animals of all kinds.
If talking with elected officials makes you nervous, don’t worry. “You don’t really ever have to do anything alone,” says Spehar. District leader buddies will accompany you to the capital, and you’ll get scripts for phone calls, letters and emails. Plus, you’ll be making a real difference. “If you want to volunteer for an organization that’s going to have the greatest impact overall on a macro level, I think it’s got to be the HSUS,” he says. “I don’t know of another organization that fights for animals of all kinds.”
MEMORABLE MOMENT: Legislation signed into law in June 2018 that put more stringent restrictions on puppy mills is a highlight, along with two 2016 laws that banned bestiality and increased penalties for cockfighting.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING VOLUNTEERS: “Start out small, get comfortable with what you’re doing, and then take the next step.” But it’s OK if you only want to make an occasional call. “We need as many people doing that as possible.”
Phone banking volunteer
TIME IN ROLE: 2 years
THIS ROLE IS BEST FOR: Strong communicators who like talking on the phone and want to help animals from the comfort of their own home
TIME REQUIRED: 1 hour/week during an active campaign
Animal rescue volunteer
TIME IN ROLE: 6 years
THIS ROLE IS BEST FOR: People who want to care for companion animals and don’t mind a little dirty work
TIME REQUIRED: 1 deployment (3-5 days or more)/year (varies by region)