Volunteer FAQ’s

Do you want to get involved but are not sure where to start?

 

You aren’t alone!

 

Below are Frequently Asked Questions and other important volunteer stuff to help point you in the right direction.

 

We are excited and thankful to have you serve with us!

 

Having issues with the Volunteer Website? Click here for help.

Where is Wheeler Mission Located?

Wheeler Mission has 9 locations in Indianapolis and Bloomington! Each location is unique and fulfills a different piece of the Wheeler Mission puzzle. When looking for volunteer opportunities, pay special attention to the locations you’re interested in. For more information about our locations, visit our Contact and Locations page.

Can I just come in to volunteer or do I need to sign-up?

All volunteers must be scheduled ahead of time through our volunteer registration system, IMPACT. Volunteers use this system to sign up for shifts and monitor their calendars. Scheduling ahead of time also confirms there is availability on the volunteer schedule, we know to expect you, and ensures that you receive information that will be beneficial for your time with us (confirmation, details, etc). Please reference the below question ‘How do I begin volunteering at Wheeler?’ for more information. You will know you are on the schedule when you receive an email stating ‘You are scheduled to volunteer!’. Non-scheduled volunteers will be turned away.

IMPACT was graciously donated to Wheeler Mission by Grace Church and is hosted by Samaritan Technologies. You can access IMPACT by visiting www.WheelerVolunteer.org! It’s a great idea to bookmark this page if you plan to visit it often.

How do I begin volunteering at Wheeler?

Find Opportunities: Wheeler’s volunteer website is called ‘IMPACT’ and it is an opportunity-driven registration system. This means you must first find an opportunity in which you wish to volunteer before you can register to create your personal account. To do so, click on one of the Volunteer Homepage icons to search for ways to get involved. You can also use the Advanced Search option to narrow down results by location, date, etc. Upon using one of these features, a list of volunteer opportunities will appear and you can read about the position’s details, qualifications, schedule, and more.

Registering: After you’ve identified an area of interest, click ‘Sign Up’ and you will be asked to log in or ‘Apply to Become a Volunteer’. To apply, follow the prompts to fill out your Volunteer Profile and submit your application. Upon submitting your application, you will see a ‘Thank You’ page and receive an email, which will tell you if you have been scheduled to serve or requested more information about that specific opportunity. If you have been scheduled to volunteer, you were automatically placed on the calendar and will receive a confirmation email with details about your shift. If you have requested more information, the system has notified a member of our Volunteer Ministry Team to connect with you regarding the next steps for that position (e.g. attending a Wheeler 101 volunteer orientation, tour, etc.). You can expect to hear back from them within 1 business day!

Volunteer Dashboard: Once logged in, your Volunteer Dashboard will appear. Here is  description of the navigation options:

Edit My Profile: To change your User ID and password, click on ‘Edit My Profile’ on the lower right hand side.  When you do this, please know you will have to answer other fields so we have your full record on hand. Please be sure to update this information!
View My Schedule: Get a calendar view of when you are scheduled to volunteer. Many of you who serve regularly will probably have a schedule to view!
Search Opportunities: Browse through ways to get involved whether it be serving a meal, hosting a Recreation Night, serving at a special event like the Drumstick Dash, or becoming a High Impact volunteer.
My Requests: Requests are opportunities you have found interest in and have submitted a request for more information from the Volunteer Ministry Team.
My Placements: Placements are opportunities where you are approved to get involved with and may already be scheduled to do.
Report & View Hours: Your volunteer hours will automatically be tracked for you and you can also report when you serve off-site.

What type of service is best for me?

If you are wondering about how to get involved or what service is best for you, you’re not alone! For those wishing to serve one or more times, use the ‘Serve a Meal’, ‘Find Other Opportunities’, and ‘Special Events’ and ‘Drumstick Dash’ icons on our Volunteer Homepage. We always suggest serving a meal for your first volunteer time! In addition to those options, if you want to serve on a long-term basis, select the ‘Become High Impact’ icon to learn more about our Christ-centered opportunities. Each volunteer opportunity you see will have details regarding qualifications, scheduling, who to contact with any questions, etc.

What if my schedule is inconsistent – can I still volunteer?

Yes! Opportunities such as Meal Service or Meal Preparation can accommodate one-time volunteers or if your schedule changes frequently. We also have Special Events throughout the year where one-time volunteers are needed. You will be able to sign-up for these opportunities whenever you’d like using your User ID and password.

What are High Impact volunteers?

High Impact volunteers are dedicated Christians who are growing in their walk with Jesus and are called to have long-term, consistent, hands-on interaction with the guests and residents of Wheeler Mission. Depending on the opportunity, this could mean once a week, once a month, or somewhere in between! Further qualifications will be listed on each High Impact position description. Click on the ‘Become High Impact’ icon on our volunteer website.

What opportunities are there for groups?

There are many different service opportunities for groups and families! Examples of some of the opportunities are Meal Service, Housekeeping, Store + Donation Center, Work Projects, and Recreation Night. For more information, use the Advanced Search ‘Group-friendly’ option to narrow down your results. If that doesn’t get you results you are looking for, contact us with the following information: Date/day of the week of interest, timeframe to serve, group size, and ages of volunteers (if under 18) and we’ll help you find your fit!

Does everyone in my group need to sign up, or just one of us?

Only 1 person needs to register your group. This group leader is responsible for communicating all necessary details to the group, including waiver information, parking, arrival, sign-in, and boundary information. If someone from your group would like to continue volunteering on their own after your event/shift, they will need to create their own account too.

Can I volunteer during the evenings or weekends?

Yes! There are many different volunteer opportunities available during the evenings and on weekends for individuals, families, and groups. During the evenings, Meal Service, Recreation Night, and Praise & Worship opportunities are available depending on the calendar. On the weekends, there may be Housekeeping, Work Projects, and serving at our Store + Donation Center. For more information, use the Advanced Search ‘By Date’ option to narrow down your results. If that doesn’t get you results you are looking for, contact us with the following information: Date/day of the week of interest, timeframe to serve, group size, and ages of volunteers (if under 18) and we’ll help you find your fit!

How old do I have to be to serve? Are there opportunities for children and teens?

Age requirements are dependent upon the volunteer opportunity. All volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or an adult chaperone. We require at least one adult chaperone for every 5 children. We ask that guardians please use discernment when bringing a minor to volunteer. Ages will also be listed on each position description on our website, but below is general information about the different opportunities and minimum age requirements:

Meal Service: 8 years of age
Housekeeping: 5 years of age
Thrift Store: 10 years of age
High Impact: 18 years of age
Recreation Night: Since Recreation Night is geared toward groups where extra hands are available to serve, children of all ages, including infants, are welcome. Plus, kids staying at the Center for Women and Children love seeing other children!
Work Projects: Age restrictions will vary depending on the service project (i.e. skill level, tasks needed to be completed, safety, etc.), but generally 13 years of age is the requirement.

Is there a volunteer orientation? Is it required?

Yes! It’s called Wheeler 101. It is not required for all volunteers to serve. Wheeler 101 is open to anyone and is required for prospective High Impact volunteers. This session will not only familiarize you with Wheeler Mission’s values and programs, but you’ll also learn about factors leading to homelessness, including trauma, poverty, addiction, as well as volunteer opportunities and next steps to get involved.

Can I blog or post on social media about my volunteer experience?

With some important restrictions, YES! We encourage you to share about your experiences.

 

We must protect the privacy of our guests at all times. When you post about your volunteer experience on social media, do not share any personal or identifying information about our guests. This includes, but is not limited to: first and last names, ages, or details about children, routine, health, personal history, etc. Please keep this in mind when posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, personal blog, etc.

 

  • Permitted post example: Today, I served a meal at Wheeler Mission and met a mom and her kids. It was amazing to hear what they’ve overcome. Please keep them in prayer as they begin their next chapter in their own home!

 

  • Not permitted post example: Today, I served a meal at Wheeler Mission and met Susan and her 3 kids–Julie, Jill, and Joey. Six months ago, Susan had to leave her home on the Southside because her husband was using drugs. But tomorrow, she and the kids move into their own apartment! Please be praying for the kids–they start school at Stonybrook Elementary! And Susan’s first day of work at Target is next week!

 

We encourage you to take photos while you serve, but please refrain from capturing any images of our guests. Even if a guest grants permission to take his/her photo, volunteers are prohibited from doing so. Please limit photos to only include fellow volunteers and Wheeler Mission staff.

 

NOT SURE? ASK! For questions about our social media policy, please connect with Natalee Stafford, Director of Volunteer Services (NataleeStafford@WheelerMission.org). 

Can I take pictures during my volunteer service?

With some important restrictions, YES! We encourage you to take and share group or individual photos and videos of your service.

However, you may not photograph any Wheeler Mission guests/residents. Do not share pictures or names of individual residents or guests on social media. This protects their confidentiality and security in staying at Wheeler Mission.

We LOVE sharing your experiences on social media! Please share your pictures with us by tagging @WheelerMission on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, or by sending photos to volunteer@wheelermission.org. You can also post your videos to Super Service Challenge to help Wheeler Mission raise money. The more votes on a video, the more funds raised! You can post your video through Super Service Challenge apps found on any app store or through www.SuperServiceChallenge.com. Click here to learn more about the Super Service Challenge.

What do I wear to volunteer?

Whether serving at our men’s or women’s facilities, be aware of your surroundings, be modest and wear clothing and shoes appropriate that are for the volunteer opportunity and for the season. Our dress code exists to protect volunteer safety, follow safety standards, and show respect to our guests!

Clothing: T-shirts, jeans/khakis and athletic shoes are appropriate for most volunteer activities and business casual is acceptable for most professional positions. During the summer, shorts that are reasonable in length (finger-length when arms are at sides) are okay.
Shoes: For your safety, do not wear “flip flops” or similar shoes that do not adequately protect your feet.
Kitchen volunteers: Volunteers must wear long pants or skirts below the knee to protect the legs, a shirt with sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and a cap or a hairnet that Wheeler will provide. Long hair must be tied back. Inappropriately dressed volunteers may not be able to participate in the opportunity due to Indiana Health Code regulations.
The following are not acceptable: Short shorts/skirts/dresses, tight-fitting clothing, revealing tops, and/or clothing with inappropriate language/images. If anyone is wearing inappropriate clothing, they will be asked to change into clothes set aside for such purposes. If a volunteer is not compliant with this request, they may be asked to leave.

Will I be volunteering alongside guests or other volunteers?

This depends on the volunteer opportunity! Serving a Meal and volunteering at the Thrift Store are two opportunities in which you may be volunteering alongside other volunteers and possibly guests/residents. If you are serving with guests or residents, know they have been selected and trained by staff to accomplish the tasks of the opportunity. So there is no need for any apprehension!

Will I be trained?

Yes, you will be given instructions by a Wheeler Mission staff member or volunteer leader at the beginning of every volunteer opportunity/shift. In some cases, you will be required to shadow a current volunteer or staff member before volunteering on your own.

Where do I park?

Parking is dependent upon the location of your volunteer opportunity. Prior to your volunteer opportunity, please read the confirmation email that was sent to you for important information such as date, time, address and parking information. Please refer to the information below in regard to the location of your volunteer opportunity and where you should park.

I have some things I'd like to donate and bring to my shift, is that okay?

Yes! We thrive on donations generously given to us by volunteers every day. You can bring donations to any Wheeler Mission location, arrange a pick-up if you have larger items, take your donations to Wheeler Mission’s Thrift Store, or bring them to any of our donation barns throughout Indianapolis. For the most impact, connect with your site’s Volunteer Engagement Manager to ask what is most needed! You can also click here to learn more about financial giving, fundraising, and more about in-kind donations and needs!

If you have a desire to hand out donations directly to our guests, PLEASE connect with a site staff member beforehand so we can work with you to identify the best possible way, day, and time for this to happen. You can also keep up with occasional/seasonal needs by following Wheeler Mission on social media.

Remember, boundaries with our guests are important for everyone’s safety. To read more about boundaries, click here.

What if something comes up and I can’t serve?

We totally get that things come up and you may need to cancel your shift! If something comes up and you are not able to make it to your scheduled opportunity, visit your IMPACT profile at www.WheelerVolunteer.org. Log in using your User ID and password, then click ‘View My Schedule’ on the Volunteer Dashboard. Find the shift you want to cancel and remove yourself from the calendar. You can also notify the Volunteer Ministry Team or directly contact our Team Member listed in your confirmation email. We require a 24-hour notice for all cancellations for us to properly cover your shift.

Can I do Community Service or Court Ordered Community Service at Wheeler Mission?

Yes, we have limited opportunities available for court-ordered community service on a case-by-case basis. If you are completing court-ordered community service, please be prepared to share necessary paperwork and additional information as needed.

Do you perform background checks on volunteers?

Yes, but only on High Impact and Professional volunteers. This is to ensure that we are providing a safe environment for our guests and residents. An occurrence in your criminal background does not necessarily discard you from being able to volunteer and exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

How do I volunteer on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is the biggest volunteer day of the year at Wheeler Mission. Unfortunately, because of the extremely high demand for volunteer slots on Thanksgiving Day, and the relatively small size of our facilities, we regret that we cannot accommodate everyone who wants to volunteer that day. This is to protect the experience and the safety of all people on-site. Volunteers MUST sign up online to serve on any holiday. Meal service volunteer shifts open 90 days in advance and registration is scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

Do you offer volunteer opportunities during other holidays?

Wheeler Mission operates seven days a week, every single day of the year – and we have volunteer opportunities to match! However, please note that our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day opportunities often fill up months in advance. If you would like to volunteer during a holiday, be sure to contact us a few months before.

Holidays are special for Wheeler Mission guests, so days like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, as well as other special days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (and the Super Bowl!) are GREAT days to get involved as many of our recurring volunteers take vacation or holidays, too. Please inquire if you are interested in serving on these days – we would be grateful!

Who do I contact if I have questions?

On our volunteer registration platform, called IMPACT, each volunteer opportunity has a ‘Contact’ listed along with their email address and phone number. If you have other questions or inquiries, please email us your question along with your name and phone number to: volunteer@wheelermission.org / (317) 635-3575.