Volunteers are the Heart of Heartland Animal Shelter!

As a volunteer, you are helping Heartland Animal Shelter save thousands of unwanted cats and dogs, giving them the opportunity to find loving new homes. Your contribution of time and effort is greatly appreciated. Thank you for being a part of this important effort on behalf of companion animals. You are making a difference!

Visit our Become a Volunteer page to get started.

Volunteer Opportunities

Onsite, regular volunteer opportunities

Please note that these volunteer roles require a regular schedule with at least one shift at the same time each week

  • Adoption Liaison (cat or dog): Are you a matchmaker and like working with people? Become an adoption counselor and learn to make love connections for all of our wonderful animals waiting for a home! These volunteers assist potential adopters in filling out adoption forms and contracts and qualify applicants for adoption.
  • Cat or Kitten Room Attendant: This volunteer helps to clean and organize the cat/kitten room, groom the felines in need of brushing, nail trimming, etc. and also learn all about cat behavior in order to improve the lives of our resident cats while ensuring each of our felines receive special care.
  • Clean and Feed Team (cat or dog): A favorite of the animals, these volunteers help us to do the feeding of our cats and dogs and cleaning of their living spaces
  • Dog Walkers: This volunteer will be taught how to walk our dogs, enrich their lives with puzzles and toys and teach them new skills with positive reinforcement training.
  • Reception: If you like people, consider being a greeter. This volunteer answers the telephones at Heartland and directs guests throughout the shelter.
  • Medical Volunteer: Are you a veterinary assistant, technician or student looking to put your skills to use, or do you have experience handling dogs and/or cats for medical procedures? We are looking for experienced volunteers to help with the medical care of our resident animals. While we may train those without professional experience (subject to availability), solid animal handling experience is required. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old for this role.

Other onsite volunteer opportunities

  • Handyperson: We have continuous projects at the shelter in need of skilled laborers. This could include general maintenance, installations, plumbing, electrical and much more. All contractors are welcome.
  • Office Assistant: These volunteers help with various office duties including organizing supplies, mailing letters, filing, checking inventory, making copies and more to help our office run efficiently.
  • Photographer/videographer: Professional photographers and videographers are needed to help us create impactful media content to feature our adoptable animals and promote the shelter
  • Shelter Project Assistant: Enjoy doing “spring cleaning”? We have areas in the shelter often in need of reorganizing, sorting and cleaning.

Offsite volunteer opportunities

  • Foster Parent: Fostering an animal in need is one of the most rewarding experiences! Sometimes pets need fostering due to health, age or temperament. Opening your home to an animal not only ensures that they will stay healthier and happier while awaiting adoption, but it saves lives by allowing us to add more animals to our program! Visit our foster page to learn more.
  • Fundraising Volunteer/Event Coordinator: Like to have a good time and help the animals? The fundraising committee is for you! This group puts the FUN in FUNdraising by planning not just our major events, but exciting activities throughout the year to help raise funds for the animals.
  • Grant Writers: Experienced grant writers are always needed to help raise funds for special projects and services at the shelter.
  • Graphic Designer: We need professional graphic designers to help us with creating print materials for events and shelter promotional materials as well designing creative images for our website, social media posts and email campaigns.
  • Outreach Volunteer: If you love animals and like to educate people about adoption, become an outreach volunteer. This volunteer represents Heartland Animal Shelter offsite and assumes responsibility for transporting the animals to and from the shelter for adoption and community events.
  • Reseller: If you know your way around eBay, Craigslist and/or Facebook marketplace, we have items in need of posting for sale to benefit the animals.
  • Street Team: Are you interested in engaging our community in helping the shelter’s animals? Our street team distributes flyers to neighboring businesses to help advertise our shelter’s promotions and events, asks area establishments to consider placing a donation box at their counters, looks into locations for future events and more.
  • Technical Writers/Editor: Professional writers and editors are needed to produce and review content for print and web.
  • TNR Assistant: Our area has a major overpopulation problem with stray and feral cats. Our TNR volunteers work on targeted project areas to get all cats and kittens humanely trapped, transported to spay/neuter appointments, and then released to managed feral colonies or placed for adoption.
  • Transporter: Don’t mind some extra time on the road? We often have cats and dogs in need of transport throughout the Chicagoland area! We rescue animals from municipal shelters in Chicago, trap stray cats in our area and bring them to low-cost clinics for vetting, relocate ferals to suburban barns, etc. We cannot rescue these animals without the help of transport volunteers.
  • Web and Email Developer: We need professional web and email developers to help us create and maintain our website and emails.

When available, paid positions are listed under Employment Opportunities.


When you adopt from a no-kill shelter, you save two lives. The animal you adopt and the one that replaces him.