Frequently Asked Questions

For New Volunteers

I'd love to volunteer! How do I get started? We'd love to have you! How you get started depends on your age.

If you're over 13, create a HandsOn Bay Area account, take our online orientation and you're ready to sign up and go! We ask a one-time, tax-deductible $25 Volunteer Activation for full access to our Project Calendar, which you can pay online at the end of your orientation. If you would prefer to pay by check or cash, please click here to let us know.

If you'd just like to try us out for now without paying, First Saturdays are open to all interested volunteers. If you would like to request a waiver, click here.

Click here if you're under 15. Click here if you're 16 or 17.

I already have an online account. How do I sign up for a project?

Click on "Login" at upper right corner of the page. Once you are logged in, click the "Find an Opportunity" tab and either search from this page or click on Opportunity Calendar. If you're browsing the calendar, look for a project with blue text. (Blue text means that there is space available for additional volunteers.) Click on the project name, and then click, "Sign Up"

If you have not fully activated your membership by taking the online orientation and made the donation, you will only be able to sign up for projects on the first Saturday of the month. If you're still having problems, contact us.

When I try to sign up for a project, it says I've need to take the orientation. But I already did!

If you've finished our Online Orientation and donated the $25 Volunteer Activation, you may have skipped the final slide that marks your account as Active. (It's OK, you're not alone!) If that's the case, contact us and we'll set you up.

If you chose not to donate, you're seeing that message because the project is only open to members with active accounts. All of our projects on the first Saturday of each month are open to you, so that you can try us out before choosing to support us. If you're ready to donate and gain access to all of our projects, click here.

How do I sign up a group?

First, check out our Project Calendar for a project that fits your needs and has enough space for your group. The earlier you can plan ahead, the better – our projects fill up fast!

There are two options for registration of community groups:

Option 1: 

  • Each member of your group who is 16 or older must create their own HandsOn Bay Area account and sign up for the project you'd like to attend together.

  • If your project is not on the first Saturday of the month, each group member will be asked to either donate the $25 Volunteer Activation (good for life!) or complete and be accepted for a waiver request.

  • Groups with children must have 1 adult for every four volunteers who are under 15.

 Option 2: 

  • Register as a group, and pay a $5/head Volunteer Activation for the project.

  • The group members will only be allowed to attend the selected project, but will have $5 towards lifetime membership at HandsOn Bay Area should they choose to register in the future.

  • HandsOn Bay Area must receive the Volunteer Activation donations before the date of the project, or else we will be unable to register the group. If you choose to register as a group, please email julie@handsonbayarea.org with the names of your group members and an indication of whether or not they are minors to get started with the registration process. 

My child is under 15. How can we volunteer together?

We love helping families volunteer together. First, create a HandsOn Bay Area account for yourself. We request a one-time $25 donation per volunteer 16 and over, and a one-time $10 donation for volunteers 15 and under to gain full access to our 80+ projects per month.

Next, use our Project Calendar to search for projects that allow volunteers your child's age or older. Use the "Project Attributes" drop-down box to select "Child", "Teens". Sign yourself up for the project you'd like to attend with your child.

Finally, e-mail goodforfamilies@handsonbayarea with the title and date of your project, and the names and ages of your youth volunteers.

I am 16 or 17. How can I volunteer?

First, create a HandsOn Bay Area account for yourself. We ask a one-time, tax- deductible $25 Volunteer Activation for full access to our Project Calendar, which you can pay online at the end of your orientation. If you would prefer to pay by check or cash, please click here

If you'd just like to try us out for now without paying the Volunteer Activation, First Saturdays are open to all volunteers. If you have already created an account and would like to request a waiver, click here.

Next, use our Project Calendar to search for projects that allow "Teens". Sign yourself up for the project you'd like to attend. You'll need to bring a signed minor consent form to each project.

For Current Volunteers

How do I get proof that I've volunteered?

Your Project Leader can sign a volunteer hours form for your school or court-ordered service at the project site.  If you log in to your HandsOn Bay Area account and click on My Account you will see your total hours volunteered listed in the upper right hand corner.

We ask a small donation from nonmembers to verify your service on our letterhead. If you've already paid the $25 Volunteer Activation, this service is included. Contact us once you've completed your hours and we'll get you a PDF or snail mail confirmation on letterhead.

I never received my project confirmation e-mail!

First, make sure HandsOn Bay Area has an up-to-date e-mail address for you. It's the same one you use to log in to our site.

Next, check your spam or junk mail folder. To prevent our e-mails from heading to junk mail, add the domain @handsonbayarea.org to your "safe list" or address book.

I need to cancel. What should I do?

It's OK, we won't hold it against you. By dropping out in our system as soon as you know, you'll leave space for another volunteer to step in.

Log in to your HandsOn Bay Area account, click on "My Account" and then scroll down to "Upcoming Opportunities" and click on "Remove Me" next to the project you can't attend. If it's the day of the project, you may also want to e-mail your project's Leader so they know not to expect you. (Replying directly to the reminder e-mail won't work -- look for your project's Leader contact information in the body of the e-mail.)

How do I become a Project Leader?

Have you completed three HandsOn Bay Area projects? Can you commit to leading at least four times in a year? If so, find out your next step on the Lead page.

I need to do community service.  Can I do it with HandsOn Bay Area? 

Yes. HandsOn Bay Area is a 501(c)3 and we are able to document the hours you volunteered at our projects. You will first need to make sure that you have registered with HandsOn Bay Area, signed up for all of the projects correctly, gotten your attendance updated from your Project Leader and followed all the necessary steps to be in good standing with HandsOn Bay Area. (Examples of good standing: sign up for your projects online, participate at your projects, if you can't make it to one of your projects then please remove yourself before the day of the project or asap, etc). Once you have completed your necessary hours and are in good standing, then email julie@handsonbayarea.org to request a letter of hours for your needs. 

Nonprofit Partners

How do I get help from HandsOn Bay Area volunteers?

Visit our Nonprofit Parternship page to see whether you're a good fit and to learn more about what we can do for you.

Can I list my volunteer openings on your site?

No, HandsOn Bay Area does not provide an online listing or posting service. The projects on our calendar are projects that we set up and manage with our nonprofit partners. If you want to list service opportunities, please contact the Volunteer Center or Volunteer Match. To find out about partnering with HandsOn Bay Area, check out our Nonprofit Parternship page.

Can HandsOn Bay Area volunteers help with our fundraiser?

No, our service projects are hands-on, direct-service. For this type of volunteering, please contact the please contact the Volunteer Center or Volunteer Match.

How do I get the attendance from my last project?

Contact the Project Leader who led that project by clicking on "Find a Project" in the Menu Bar and search for the project occurrence on the Project Calendar. The PL's email will be available.

How do I update the description of my project?

You can e-mail updated descriptions to the Program Manager, who is assigned by region.

Still have more questions or concerns?

Click here to tell us who you are and the problem you're running into and we'll find someone to help!