What is the time commitment required to volunteer?
Time commitments vary according to the area in which you choose to volunteer. Many volunteers work regular weekly or monthly shifts. Others choose to maintain their training and respond only to major disasters. Although our need for volunteers is greatest during weekdays, many evening and weekend opportunities are also available. Take a look at our volunteer opportunities to determine which opportunities best fit in your schedule.
How do I start the process of becoming a volunteer?
To become a volunteer, please start by completing a volunteer application and completing the required steps including background check, reading and agree to Red Cross polies, and signing up for a one-on-one interview with our volunteer services team to discuss the best position for you within the Red Cross.
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
Adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Volunteers who are 14 to 18 years old are encouraged to join our youth volunteer programs, which allow youth to get their schools and communities prepared for disaster.
Why do I have to complete a background check to volunteer?
Background checks have been an area of focus at the American Red Cross and encouraged for many years. The Red Cross continues to reaffirm our accountability to the American public. Background checks help us achieve a more efficient and safer work environment for our employees and volunteers. Volunteers under the age of 18 are not required to complete a background check.
Can I volunteer for disaster relief operations outside of the Northern California in the United States?
Yes, although you must have experience with disaster response as a local Red Cross volunteer. To acquire that experience, you must register, train and serve through our Disaster Cycle Services (DCS) system. Most volunteers choose to put their skills in practice and current by working on their local county’s Disaster Action Team, responding to the local disasters that occur every day in our community. You can find out more about the DCS system and how to get involved during the volunteer orientation process.
Can the American Red Cross send me abroad for international volunteer opportunities?
The American Red Cross provides assistance during international disasters upon the request of that country’s Red Cross or Red Crescent society. Each year, we deploy a limited number of volunteers who have undergone extensive training in disaster relief. Most of these individuals have previously worked on international disaster relief initiatives and assignments last for a minimum of three weeks.
If you have previous international disaster relief experience or specialized technical skills in logistics, communications, water sanitation, medicine or engineering, please let our volunteer resources team know that during your orientation process.
If you don’t have previous international disaster relief experience, you may begin building your skills in disaster relief by becoming a local Red Cross volunteer. Our disaster responder training and the experience of working on local and national disasters can provide you with a good foundation for future volunteer work abroad.