Policies & Procedures

Volunteer Guidelines

Since 1987, New York Cares has been our city’s premier volunteering organization. To maintain the high standard of volunteer service that our partner agencies deserve, create a safe environment for the clients we serve, and provide a positive experience for you, New York Cares expects our volunteers to comply with the following policies and procedures.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Volunteer Relations and Support department at info@newyorkcares.org.

A group of 5 volunteers stand in a school gym with their backs to the camera. On one shirt text reads: "Volunteer"

Getting Started

  • All volunteers must attend a new volunteer orientation in order to sign up for New York Cares projects.
  • Volunteers must sign up for projects using our website or by contacting the Team Leader in advance of the scheduled project.
  • Volunteers cannot bring guests on a project, as every volunteer must have created an account, attended an orientation, and signed themselves up as an individual.
  • Volunteers need to perform the activities as described on the website and as instructed by the Team Leader.
  • If volunteers need to cancel their participation in a scheduled project, they must de-register via their volunteer account or by contacting the Team Leader. Failure to properly de-register three or more times in six months may result in account deactivation.

Serving on a Project

  • Volunteers should arrive on time for the project and stay for its duration, including any time necessary for clean-up. Volunteers must promptly leave the site at the project's conclusion.
  • Volunteers should serve in a respectful, professional, and cooperative manner while on a project.
  • Volunteers must never be alone with a client or wander away from the group.
  • Volunteers shall not interact with any client outside of a project on behalf of New York Cares.
  • New York Cares asks that volunteers be flexible and willing to serve in all tasks described in the project description to the best of their ability.

Serving on a Project

  • Volunteers must maintain the confidentiality of all personal or proprietary information to which they are exposed as a volunteer, regardless of the subject matter of such confidential information. This includes, but is not limited to, the names, locations, or images of clients they encounter through their work with New York Cares or the agency at which they meet them, as well as confidential, personal, or proprietary information about the agency made available to a volunteer. Partner agencies may also require that volunteers sign an additional confidentiality agreement prior to volunteering at their sites. 
  • Volunteers may not use their participation in New York Cares projects to promote partisan politics, religious matters, or other affiliations.
  • While on a project, volunteers must not engage in: 
    • Discriminatory or racist statements or behaviors. 
    • Sexual harassment. For example, jokes, innuendos, insults, sexist remarks, the display of derogatory or pornographic pictures, leering, touching, or kissing.
    • The use of any alcohol or illegal drugs. 
    • Any unlawful or inappropriate activity. 
Man wearing hard hat and New York Cares vest emptying garbage

Volunteer Dismissal

New York Cares, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to reassign or dismiss volunteers when such action is in the best interest of the volunteer, New York Cares, the project, the client, and/or our Community Partner. 

Reasons for dismissal may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Refusal to attend orientation or other required training. 
  • Refusal to give suitable references or disclose past convictions for crimes. 
  • Missing three or more scheduled projects in six months without proper de-registration. 
  • Excessive lateness. 
  • Disclosure of confidential information. 
  • The use of alcohol or other inappropriate substances while on a project. 
  • Involvement in any illegal activities. 
  • Failure to adhere to New York Cares' policies. 
  • Any inappropriate behavior.

Volunteer Feedback

If a volunteer has any project-related concerns, questions about appropriate behavior on a project, or complaints regarding inappropriate behavior by another volunteer, the client, the project partner, or New York Cares staff, they should speak to the Team Leader immediately. 

If a volunteer is unable to speak with the Team Leader, or has a complaint concerning the Team Leader, they should contact our Volunteer Relations and Support department at info@newyorkcares.org.