Did you know that volunteers make up 90 percent of the American Red Cross workforce?
That’s right. As many as 275,000 volunteers generously give their valuable time to support the Red Cross mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.
There are many ways Red Cross volunteers help people in need. Some support the Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) community. Others install free smoke alarms in at-risk communities. There are teams that support such local and regional efforts as fundraising and clerical support. Others look to the global picture, supporting International Humanitarian Law initiatives or the Measles and Rubella Initiative. Learn more here.
There is a critical need today for volunteers who want to support our blood program or are interested in helping disaster victims.
DISASTER CYCLE SERVICES ─ The Red Cross is responding to almost twice as many large disasters as we did a decade ago. In fact, during the last few years, there was a new, major disaster response every 10 days. There is a critical need for more volunteers so we can support people who depend on the Red Cross for help.
Some of our most needed disaster-related volunteer roles include:
Disaster Action Team: While big hurricanes and wildfires get the most news coverage, smaller disasters are no less devasting to the families affected. Most of the 60,000 emergencies that the Red Cross responds to each year are smaller disasters like home fires. As a Disaster Action Team volunteer, you can help comfort and support people in your community by meeting any immediate needs such as food, shelter, clothing or supplies and connecting them to long term recovery services. We supply all the training you need.
Recovery Care Caseworker: From a single-family fire to large-scale hurricane or flood, the Client Care Program meets the disaster-caused needs of individuals and families with casework and recovery planning by matching Red Cross resources and assistance to these needs. Assistance is provided in a consistent, scalable, and repeatable manner so that all of our clients receive similar services.
Shelter Service Associate: During large disasters, you can support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information or other areas within a shelter. Free online training will be provided. If the need arises, volunteers are asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4-12 hours each. For those able to travel outside of their local area, a commitment of at least 14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts is required.
Disaster Health Services Team: During large disasters, you can use your professional skills as a licensed healthcare provider to deliver hands on care and education to shelter residents. Free online training will be provided and can count towards nursing continuing education units. If the need arises, volunteers are asked to commit to multiple local shifts of 4-12 hours each. For those able to travel outside of their local area, a commitment of at least 10-14 consecutive days, working 8- or 12-hour shifts is required. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP, APRN. Only RNs have full scope of practice. You can learn more here from these volunteers.
BIOMEDICAL SERVICES ─ There is also a need for volunteers to help ensure new moms, cancer patients and accident victims have access to lifesaving blood.
Blood Donor Ambassador: Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. The need for blood is constant and so is the need for volunteers at our Blood Drives to help save lives. Volunteer Blood Donor Ambassadors ensure that blood donors have a pleasant and fulfilling experience, from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. During a blood drive, whether you’re greeting donors, answering questions or thanking them for their donation, your courtesy and professionalism will create a favorable impression that encourages ongoing donor support.
Blood Transportation Specialist: Take the driver’s seat and volunteer as a Blood Transportation Specialist, delivering lifesaving blood this summer. Volunteer Transportation Specialists deliver life-saving blood products from Red Cross distribution facilities to hospitals, using a Red Cross-owned vehicle. We need you to commit to 2-4 shifts per month (or more if you can!). Typical shifts are about 4 hours. Hear more from two of our volunteers in this video.
This autumn, we invite you to Fall into Service by volunteering with the American Red Cross. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up for opportunities with your local chapter.