Volunteer FAQ

Work-a-thon Related FAQ's – Event Day

What is the Work-a-thon?
The Work-a-thon is a city-wide volunteer event focused on improving DC Public School buildings through service.

When is the Work-a-Thon?
We're currently planning the next Work-a-thon. To get the latest news on volunteer opportunities with Hands on DC, sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook.

What happens on event day?
At 9:00 am, you should arrive at your assigned school, sign-in with the Site Registrar (SR). Your Site Coordinator (SC) will then instruct you and your team about the projects that will be done at the school. There will be a break for lunch, and clean up begins around 3:00 pm. Then join us for a day’s end celebration at 8:00 pm.

What types of projects happen at the schools on event day?
Many of the projects involve painting (classrooms, hallways, etc.) or landscaping (mulching or planting). Sometimes, there are special projects. Some of these special projects have included wiring classrooms for computers, installing carpeting, repairing bathroom plumbing and painting murals.

What happens if it rains?
The work-a-thon takes place rain or shine.

Will lunch be provided?
Although some schools may provide lunch for the volunteers, it is not guaranteed. Your Site Coordinator and Site Registrar will be in contact with your Team leader about lunch arrangements for the day. In cases where food cannot be donated, we typically ask volunteers to bring $5 for pizza or sandwiches. We encourage all volunteers to bring water.

What happens if it rains?
The work-a-thon takes place rain or shine.

Work-a-thon Related FAQ's – Pre-Event

Do I need any special skills?
No! Anyone can volunteer at a school on event day. But if you are a plumber, carpenter, artist, computer technician or have another special skill you'd like to put to use for Hands on DC, please email the Volunteer Management Committee at volunteer@handsondc.org.

Do I need my own supplies?
No. All the supplies you’ll need will be available at the school on event day. Just bring your enthusiasm! And wear work clothes and shoes, because many of the projects include painting and cleaning.

Why do I need a team?
HoDC expects around 2,000 volunteers to work at nearly 30 schools on the day of the work-a-thon. Each school has specific project needs, and the number of volunteers varies school-by-school. To make sure that the right number of volunteers are at each school and facilitate the logistics of volunteer assignment, Hands on DC recruits teams of volunteers. All volunteers from a team are assigned together to a school.

What does a team leader do?
A Team Leader is the liaison between Hands on DC and a group of volunteers. Team leaders recruit a group of volunteers to participate at a school on the day of the work-a-thon. Team size is generally between 10-25 people, but we welcome teams of any size. As a team leader, you are required to attend one orientation session and are responsible for passing logistical information to your group.

What if I can't attend the team leader orientation, can I still volunteer?
We strongly encourage every team leader to attend a brief (one-hour) orientation session to hear about the day, and to receive important information about volunteering for you and your team members. If you cannot attend any of the several scheduled sessions, email the Volunteer Management Committee at volunteer@handsondc.org and we will try to make alternate arrangements.

Is transportation provided to my assigned school?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide transportation for the more than 2,000 volunteers on the day of the work-a-thon. Therefore, we encourage teams to car pool. Some schools will be metro accessible. If you do not have transportation for your team, please indicate when you register that you need a metro-accessible school. Your Team Leader will know your school assignment about two weeks before the event and can help coordinate transportation for your team.

What if my teammates fail to show up, should I still show up?
Yes. As soon as you know that your team is smaller (or larger) than you originally thought, let us know by emailing the Volunteer Management Committee at volunteer@handsondc.org . We still need every possible volunteer to show up, even if your team is smaller.

Can I request a particular school/assignment?
We try to honor requests to be placed at a specific school on event day, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate all preferences.

Can I know my school ahead of time?
Approximately two weeks before the event, we will contact the team leaders to let them know which schools they will be going to. Team leaders will communicate with their team members and help to coordinate transportation.

Can a group of high school students/scouts/youth group members volunteer?
Yes! We ask that each team with youth volunteers has at least one adult to every 3 minors. All volunteers under 18 must have their liability waiver signed by a parent or guardian in order to participate in the event.

Can students earn community service hours for volunteering?
Yes. The Site Coordinator or Site Registrar for your school can provide any necessary signatures.

Donation Related FAQ's

What is the Adopt-a-School program?
Adopting a school is a great opportunity for your team to build a relationship with a local public school. A minimum $500 donation will enable HoDC to purchase the supplies to be used at your adopted school, and your team will volunteer at the adopted school during the work-a-thon. Learn more about the Adopt-a-School program and other sponsorship opportunities on the sponsors page.

My team adopted a school; do I also have to raise pledge money?
We encourage all volunteers, including volunteers on teams that adopt a school, to raise pledges to raise money for scholarship funds for deserving students.

Why do I have to raise money?
Money raised by volunteers helps to create brighter futures for DC students. 100% of money raised by volunteers go directly to fund our work in DC public schools and to scholarships for DC students. Hands on DC works with local nonprofit organizations to identify scholarship recipients.

Can I get people to donate to my team online?
Absolutely! In fact, using our online system makes collecting donations much easier! Once you've registered for the work-a-thon, you can easily send e-mail messages to friends that link directly to a special donation page for you. Also, anyone can look you up and make a donation to you.

How do I get a t-shirt?
T-shirts are given to volunteers who raise $30. A specified number of t-shirts are also given to sponsor teams based on the size of their sponsorship.

Committees and Roles FAQ's

Are there volunteer opportunities available other than the spring work-a-thon?
Each work-a-thon takes a great deal of preparation. Volunteers on the HoDC Organizing Committee meet regularly, beginning six months prior to event day, to plan the event. We are always looking for people to help on one (or more) of our committees. Also, we hold projects periodically throughout the school year and during the summer and welcome your help with those. View the latest volunteer opportunities on Facebook, Twitter, and our homepage.

What does the Fundraising committee do?
The Fundraising Committee secures financial and in-kind support needed to stage the work-a-thon, from local businesses and individual donors. Read a more detailed committee description, including sample tasks and expected time commitments, on the committees page.

What does the Public Relations committee do?
The Public Relations Committee promotes Hands on DC's fundraising events and the work-a-thon, by communicating with the media and the community. It seeks to raise awareness of the needs of DC schools and students and the role Hands on DC plays in the community. Read a more detailed committee description, including sample tasks and expected time commitments, on the committees page.

What does the Volunteer Management committee do?
Members of the Volunteer Management Committee reach out to all sectors of the Washington-area community to sign up volunteers to participate on the day of the work-a-thon, as well as to help plan the work-a-thon throughout the year. Read a more detailed committee description, including sample tasks and expected time commitments, on the committees page.

What does the Special Events Committee do?
The Special events committee is responsible for organizing all of Hands on DC's fundraising and happy hours, as well as social events centered around our Volunteer events. It is also responsible for securing in-kind donations to be used as auction items at these events. Read a more detailed committee description, including sample tasks and expected time commitments, on the committees page.

What does the Sites committee do?
The Sites Committee selects the work-a-thon's schools and projects. It coordinates the collection and distribution of supplies, and oversees the actual work on the day of the event. Read a more detailed committee description, including sample tasks and expected time commitments, on the committees page.

What does a Site Coordinator do?
Site Coordinators (SCs) are responsible for the projects at one school on the day of the work-a-thon. SCs direct the volunteers assigned to their school in completing the projects at their school. Hands on DC provides training and all the supplies needed for the school. The SC will be expected to make at least 1 visit to their school prior to the event to familiarize themselves with the various projects. Their major responsibilities are to manage volunteers on the day of the event and to make sure all tools and supplies are properly distributed to appropriate tasks.

What does a Site Registrar do?
The Site Registrar's (SR) commitment is solely to one school. The Site Coordinator contacts volunteer teams before the event, registers teams and collects pledges on the day of the event, helps to coordinate service learning information, and supports the Site Coordinator (SC) throughout the day.