For a variety of reason, there are a lot of people that are looking for somewhere to volunteer in Charlotte. There are a lot of groups that could benefit from your time, but if you're volunteering, why not do it with some animal companions?
Whether you're looking for some community service or volunteer hours for a project, you're looking to get the kids out of the house over the summer, or you just want to give back to the community a little, there are some great organizations around Charlotte that could really benefit from your time.
Some of these groups need volunteers that can commit to a long period of time, while some specialize in one time or weekend opportunities.
A few organizations on this list are dedicated to helping animals find new homes, which means that a volunteer opportunity might mean keeping an animal at your house until a new home can be found. For others, it might be a day of working to clean a stall, or it might mean helping children interact with animals.
Here's a look at some of Charlotte's best places where you can not just get some good community service in and make a difference, but you can do it alongside some furry, four-legged friends in the process.
The Humane Society is one of the most popular animal volunteer options in Charlotte, but there is one caveat if you're interested in donating your time here: they do ask for volunteers who can commit to a long term. So if you're looking for a one time or one-weekend volunteer project, this won't be the best choice.
The good thing about volunteering with Charlotte's Humane Society is that they offer a number of different options, including working with their feline socialization program, their "Critter Care Wednesday" program, their spay and neuter clinics, and foster family and adoption events.
To begin the process of volunteering with the Humane Society of Charlotte, applicants will need to visit their website to create a volunteer profile.
Shining Hope Farms serves the Charlotte area to provide therapeutic services in an enriching farm environment. Shining Hope helps children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down syndrome, Developmental Disabilities, Brain Injuries, Hypotonia and similar issues.
Farm volunteers are needed to help daily with programs and in the barn as well as one-time group workdays.
All volunteers with Shining Hope Rance must have their own health insurance, they must be at least 13 years of age at the time they've volunteering, and they must be available to donate their hours during normal business hours.
Shining Hope volunteers can help care for our horses as a stable volunteer, with planning, preparation, and execution of fundraising events held throughout the year and as an active part of a lesson or hippotherapy program and be ‘hands on’ with students as a side walker or horse leader.
The SPCA (or the Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is an organization that works with homeless animals to provide veterinary care, foster families, humane education, and spay/neuter programs.
The Greater Charlotte SPCA does not own or operate a shelter facility, but volunteers instead foster all animals in their own homes until the animals are adopted.
The Charlotte SPCA needs volunteers to donate a few hours every month for opportunities that include areas like dog and cat foster homes, office administrative support, animal transport drivers, workers for adoption events, plus plenty of other areas.
Charlotte's SPCA even need volunteers to help with news media and public relations, social media and website and grant writing.
More information about Charlotte SPCA volunteer opportunities is available on their website.
Bit of Hope Ranch is volunteer driven. It takes over 3500 volunteer hours each year to care for the needs of the animals and 45-acre facility. The team-based volunteer culture is a fun, safe place to experience community with each other and giving back to others.
After attending a volunteer clinic, all volunteers must complete a background check ($15 fee) and complete a volunteer application and liability release form. Every volunteer under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
The ranch needs:
- Animal Care Givers who will be responsible for feeding, cleaning pastures and stalls, and moving animals.
- Equine Caregivers (who must have a good working knowledge and skills with horses)
- Ranch Hands to help with building and ground maintenance (including small construction projects, landscaping, repairing fence, servicing the vehicles)
- Program Volunteers to work with the educational programs (ranch runners, actors for the Reader’s Theatre) workers for low ropes course groups, birthday parties, and leadership programs
- Special Event Volunteers to help with fundraising and large events hosted by the ranch.
Charlotte’s Nature centers ( (Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, McDowell Nature Preserve, and Latta Plantation Nature Preserve) offer volunteer opportunities with animal care that involves regular maintenance and feeding of the nature center animals as well as various gardening projects around the preserves.The current volunteer opportunities are available on their website. The opportunities available here do change often, so check back if you don't see something that's right for you at this time.
Discovery Place has a rainforest packed with tropical birds, an aquarium with several different species of fish and other aquatic animals, and a hands-on lab where visitors can encounter live animals. Volunteers who work with Discovery Place's animals often start working with marine invertebrates in the children's area touch tank (which has animals like sea urchins, crabs, and sea stars).
Volunteers who go through a training to develop their skills can eventually work with other live animals like snakes, rats, lizards, turtles, spiders, hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, and scorpions. Discovery Place animal volunteers do need to fill out an application.
The Charlotte Nature Museum (also known as Discovery Place Nature) need animal related volunteers who really care about both nature and animals and how they work together or people who want to help get their kids interested in science. Volunteer opportunities at the Charlotte Nature Museum include working behind the scenes with exhibitions like the museum's "Creature Cavern" and their Butterfly Pavilion, helping with the animal husbandry program, and helping developing educational programs for the museum.
Volunteers are what help keep the Carolina Raptor Center operational. There is a special adult volunteer program available that's a four hour a week commitment, a group volunteer program that is a one-time commitment of at least two hours, and transport volunteering that's done on an as-needed basis.
The Raptor Center's Adult Volunteer Program members actually work as doctors for the center's birds, helping with everyday activities like preparing food and maintaining the Raptor center property. The Raptor Center's website has more information about volunteer opportunities.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Control department has opportunities for residents to foster kittens and puppies, plus dogs and cats that are sick (like heartworm positive dogs, dogs with kennel cough, and cats with URI) and animals that just need a little socialization and training. There is an application that must be filled out before a person can become a volunteer.
The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue organization is almost always in need of volunteers. The group's biggest need is in the area of a first responder, which is the person that heads to the scene of an injured bird or a bird that needs immediate attention and bringing it to the facility. Transport drivers who take birds from one location to another are also needed, plus educational ambassador, adoption coordinators, and a number of other roles.
The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue facility is not open to the public.
Charlotte's Project HALO (which means Helping Animals Live On) is a dedicated no-kill shelter animal shelter and sanctuary that rescues homeless, stray and unwanted dogs and then works towards getting those animals adopted to a permanent home. HALO offers volunteer opportunities to work with pet therapy, shelter adoption days, humane society education, shelter picture taking, natural disaster relief field work and animal transport.
Dog Days of Charlotte is a nonprofit group that lets volunteers help take dogs from area shelters, transport those dogs to and from assigned spay and neuter clinics. Volunteers are also needed to take dogs to rescue transports and with adoption events. Anyone who wants to volunteer with Project HALO will need to get the process started by filling out this application form.