Interested in becoming a volunteer? Awesome!
Volunteers are asked to support and promote the mission of the SPCA and abide by the shelter’s written volunteer policies which will be provided at an orientation. All assignments are arranged with the individual and the Volunteer Program Manager to ensure the best placement for both the volunteer and the organization.
There are several Steps to Becoming a Volunteer, and depending on which area you are looking to volunteer in, additional training and age requirements may apply. Please review our individual volunteer opportunities below.
Typically you will be asked to:
- Complete and submit a volunteer application: You will receive an email within two weeks after submission along with the upcoming orientation dates.
- Attend a Group Orientation: We generally hold two orientations a month. The day and time varies, in order to give everyone an opportunity to attend. Typically one is held on Tuesday or Thursday night, while the other is offered on a weekend.
- Attend a Training: At orientation you will sign up for your one-on-one training with an experience volunteer. This training session takes anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on the position for which you are training.
- Time Commitment: As a volunteer, your time commitment will vary depending on your assignment. We request a minimum of 2-2.5 hours, or one shift, per week. There is some flexibility in scheduling, but a commitment of 8-10 hours per month, for 6 months (one semester for college students) is appreciated.
- Transportation: A car, or reliable transportation, is highly recommended. The SPCA’s main adoption center and SPCA Annex are on the TCAT Bus Route. Review the bus schedule on the TCAT website.
Volunteer opportunities at the SPCA:
Canine Companion (minimum age 18)
In this newly created volunteer position, Canine Companions spend their time indoors with the dogs, helping members of the public to help them find their new friend. You will also do some light cleaning if dogs have accidents in their rooms during the day, play with them in the play yard, and provide lots of one-on-one petting time in their rooms.
Dog Walker (minimum age 18)
Dog Walkers do just that – They walk the dogs for exercise, provide enrichment using appropriate equipment and help teach the dogs basic obedience. At times you will also interact with members of the public to help them find their new best friend and clean up after the dogs, whether outside for a walk, in the play yard or in their rooms.
Purple Dog Walker (minimum age 18 plus additional training)
Purple Dog Walkers do essentially the same basic work as Dog Walkers, however they have been trained to work with dogs who may need additional training, are exceptionally large and/or strong, or who may be on a behavior modification plan.
Animal Care Attendant – cleaning (minimum age 16)
This opportunity is for the dedicated few who are able to understand the importance of a clean environment for our animals currently and who may be in need of medical attention. The rescue center houses many of our newly received animals and those under observation and needs to be cleaned daily to prevent diseases and germs from spreading. If you are up for it, definitely sign up today!
Feline Friend (minimum age 12)
Feline Friends spend quality time with the cats, socializing them and helping to keep their apartments clean. You will also work with members of the public and help them find a cat that is purr-fect for their home.
Annex Attendant (minimum age 12)
The SPCA Annex is located in The Shops at Ithaca Mall. The Annex Attendants provide care for the cats and small animals waiting for their forever home. You may socialize the animals, clean their cages and help potential adopters pick their forever pet!
Animal Care Attendant – cleaning (minimum age 16)
This opportunity is for the dedicated few who are able to understand the importance of a clean environment for our animals currently in need of medical attention. The rescue center houses many of our newly received animals and those under observation and needs to be cleaned daily to prevent diseases and germs from spreading. If you are up for it, definitely sign up today!
You can download our general volunteer application (Adult Application / Youth Application) and indicate other areas of interest you may have in volunteering at the SPCA of Tompkins County. We've listed come of our most common volunteer opportunties below. If you have any questions, you can email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facility Assistant (minimum age 16)
If you are the type that loves fixing things around the house, then apply your skills to help with various projects throughout our buildings and grounds. Our Shelter needs constant maintenance and with your help, we can provide a better environment for the animals, visitors, volunteers and staff!
Humane Education Assistant (minimum age 18)
Assist the humane educator both on site at the shelter and at off-site events, including tours of the shelter and educating groups on humane treatment of animals, and attendance at community group events and festivals, educating people about the SPCA, our mission and vision.
Adoption Desk Support/Adoption follow up
Meet and greet potential adopters when they arrive at the Pet Adoption Center, provide support for the staff at the front desk, including answering the phones, completing adoption paperwork, and providing general animal care information to the public. Computer knowledge is helpful, and good customer service skills are a must.
Animal Behavior/Training (minimum age 18)
Volunteers work with the animals on behavior issues, whether it means taking a dog out for extra exercise, teaching a fearful cat that humans are “ok”, or helping a dog learn good manners. If you have experience with animal training and would like to use it, please let us know.
Computer Work/Data Entry
Do you have impressive computer skills or know your way around an office? Put your time to work and help with mail projects, filing, photocopying, and phone calls. We need volunteers to help keep our facilities running in an organized manner so that when we are busy with visitors and potential adopters, we know everything will be in good hands!
If you know the town well, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Be a part of a team that delivers our flyers, posters, and quarterly newsletters to veterinarians and local businesses in the community. Help us spread the word about our events and mission so all of Tompkins County can join in on our efforts and goals!
Is fundraising a piece of cake for you? Would you like to help out with events that bring us donations? If this sounds appealing, or if you have fundraising/grant writing experience, we’d love to take advantage of your skills.
Many people enjoying being outside getting their hands dirty whether in rain or shine. Be a part of our grounds crew to help take care of the many acres of land that provides our animals with adequate space to run and play. We want to make our facilities look and feel welcoming both inside and out – but it’s only possible with your help!
Some of us are blessed with artistic creativity and we can definitely use that talent! Donate your time by creating and updating materials for us to be used as promotional and/or advertising for us. It will not only show the public what a great skill you have, but can help us tell our tale to Tompkins County with an inspiring visual representation!
Help give animals a fresh start! As a volunteer groomer, you can assist in the grooming needs of our furry residents, whether they came in dirty or matted, or if they just need a primping before going on the adoption floor.
Do you have experience with the medical aspects of animals? Our medical staff would appreciate your knowledge and help in assisting them when providing medical care to those in need. If you think you can handle this feat at hand, let the Volunteer Program Manager know of your previous experiences and we can get started right away!
Other Special Skills?
Do you have a special talent that you want to share? Come and tell our Volunteer Program Manager and let us find something to apply your special skills to. Every department needs your help – share your time and talent to help with a special project, event, or program. Let us know and we’ll work together to keep our reputation as the best shelter in America!