Frequently Asked Questions

Are your activities open to all ages?

We have activities appropriate for children ages 3 through 17. Age requirements/age suggestions are listed in bold at the top of each activity description on our Activity Calendar to provide you with more guidance on which activities are most appropriate for your child/children.

How old should my child be before we start volunteering with you?

Many of our activities are appropriate for children as young as 3 years old. Every child is different though, so you are the best judge on when you think your child is ready to volunteer. Feel free to contact us if you are unsure if an activity would be appropriate for your child and we can help you make this determination. Some of our activities do have minimum age requirements/recommendations. This will be noted in bold at the top of the activity description.

When do you offer activities?

We offer activities nearly every day of the week including weekends, year-round. During the school year, most of the activities are scheduled after school.

Why do your spots fill so quickly?

The good news is that a lot of families in our community see the value in the service that we provide and are passionate about volunteering together. This results in our calendar often filling within a few hours of the monthly posting. Our capacity is limited; however, as we continue to grow, so will our programs.

How can I get into activities if the calendar is full?
  • Get on our waiting list. If the activity/s that you are interested in are full when you get to the calendar, please submit a request to be added to our waiting list through the link right above the Activity Calendar on our website. We will notify you via email if spots open up. We have cancellations all the time so this can be a great way to get into activities.
  • Check the calendar periodically throughout the month. The calendar fills quickly when the notification email goes out at the time of our monthly postings. However, each week we have cancellations and spots open on the calendar. If you check the calendar throughout the month, you will often find spots open and you are welcome to sign up at that time.
  • Consider a Family Sponsorship. Family sponsors receive early access to the calendar prior to the general public as a benefit of their support.
Is a donation required for each activity?

We rely on contributions to support our organization so that all families within our community can participate and utilize our family volunteering resources. Each activity costs Little Helping Hands an average of $300 to organize and manage, so we suggest a donation of $15 per child / $30 per family to cover our activity costs. This donation can be made through our donation page before or after your activity. This is not required but we appreciate any support that you can provide. Alternatively, you can support our cause through a family sponsorship. View our sponsorship levels and benefits.

Why do you take photos at activities?

We take photos at our service activities and provide participating families with a link to our private photo site afterward so they can view and download them for personal use. This provides families with an opportunity to reflect afterward on their service experiences and to share them with family and friends, or for use in school projects. We also use some of the photos to promote our programs and to help demonstrate our organization’s impact in the Austin community. When you sign our release/waiver to participate in our activities, you are giving us permission to take photos of your family; however, if you prefer not to be photographed at an activity, please let your Activity Lead know.

What if I can’t make it to the activity I signed up for?

We understand that things come up and that children get sick from time to time. However, we ask that you are thoughtful when signing up for our activities to make sure that you will be able to attend. Our partners depend on our volunteers to show up and get the work done to support their missions.

If you need to cancel your spots, you can remove your spots from SignUp.com directly or you can contact us as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it. If you contact us quickly, we will cancel your spots for you which will allow another family to take your place at the activity.

Will my activity be cancelled due to bad weather?

Our outdoor activities may be canceled because of rain or other inclement weather conditions. All participants will be notified of a cancellation at least one hour before the activity begins, so please check your email before leaving for the activity if the weather looks questionable. In addition, our Activity Calendar will be updated to reflect any cancelled activities. You are also welcome to contact us prior to your activity at 512-358-6943.

Can I sign up for a group of families or children?

No. We ask that each individual family sign up for activities on their own. This way we have a better understanding of who will be attending each activity and we can plan volunteer tasks accordingly. Additionally, individual family sign-ups allow us to communicate important details of the activity and send email reminders directly to the participating family.

I would like to organize a service activity for my group. Can you help?

We are happy to provide advice/guidance on volunteer activities that might be suitable for your group and help get you started on planning your group service activity. Just give us a call at 512-358-6943. If you are interested in using our office space for your group activity, contact charli@littlehelpinghands.org to learn more.

Can a babysitter / non-parental caregiver bring a child to an activity?

Yes. Please complete our online registration & waiver form for your family prior to attending your first LHH volunteer activity. Any additional caregivers that might attend an activity with your child(ren) will also need to register as a part of your family. The online form will guide you through this process for registering all family members / caregivers.  If you have already completed your online registration, please get in touch with us about getting your caregiver added to your family’s registration.

How do you determine the number of spots per activity?

We work closely with our partner organizations to determine the number of families to recruit for each of our activities. The number of spots we offer depends on the nature of the tasks, the space limitations of the area in which we are working, and the amount of work that needs to be completed.

How do you find your partner organizations?

We discover opportunities by researching and networking throughout the Austin community. We also receive recommendations from volunteer families, board members, and donors. If you have ideas for activities or know of an organization that could use our help, please contact Charli Krause at charli@littlehelpinghands.org.

If I’m not a family sponsor, can I still reserve spots?

Yes! Family sponsors receive early access to our monthly calendar with the option to reserve a limited number of spots each month. Their support makes it possible for us to grow our calendar of activities to provide opportunities for more families. Once the calendar is posted to our website, all families are welcome to select spots in activities from those available on a first-come-first-served basis. We welcome donations to our program when you sign up for an activity. We suggest a $15 per child donation per activity.

To enable as many families as possible to participate in our activities, we ask that each family sign up for only one volunteer activity per child during the 48-hour period after the activities have been posted to the Activity Calendar each month. We note the date the calendar was posted right above the Activity Calendar. After this period is over, families are welcome to sign up for additional activities that month as openings become available.

Can my child get credit for his/her community service?

We are happy to sign any documentation your child may need for community service hours expected of him/her at school or by other organizations. Addtionally, children that volunteer with us receive a tracking card at their first LHH activity and a special stamp on the card after each activity that they complete. For every three LHH volunteer activities completed, they receive a gift card from Amy’s Ice Creams and after completing their 12th volunteer activity with us, they receive a Little Helpers 12 medal, recognizing their outstanding service accomplishments with LHH. We are also a certifying organization for the Presidential Service Award. We present this very special award to children who qualify by accomplishing a truly exceptional number of volunteer hours within a year.

 

Can I volunteer directly with any of the organizations with which you partner?

Yes. Some of our partner organizations welcome volunteers of all ages while others have age requirements. You can contact them directly to learn more about their current volunteer needs and to see if there are any age requirements.

How is volunteering with LHH different from volunteering directly with one of your partner organizations, or if we volunteer through another group?

Little Helping Hands works closely with our partner organizations to identify and organize volunteer activities that are both meaningful and age-appropriate. We also establish ongoing relationships with these organizations, which provides consistent and reliable family volunteer service, maximizing the value we bring to their organization.

We make it easy for busy families to incorporate family volunteering into their lives. Through our website, families simply view a calendar of volunteer opportunities, sign up and show up.

Each of our activities is staffed by a LHH Activity Lead to ensure the activity runs smoothly and that all family members are engaged. We also provide any necessary supplies that might be needed for the activity and a reflective, educational guide for parents to use in family discussions before and after the volunteer activity.

If my child gets some exposure to community service through school, church, or civic groups, why should we volunteer through LHH? 

We encourage children to participate in service opportunities through schools, churches and other organizations. However, we believe there are far-reaching benefits to volunteering together as a family. Family volunteering provides the opportunity for families to spend meaningful time together, reflect on the lessons and value of community service, and create a history of shared memories around “doing good” for their community.

Research supports this, indicating that the benefits of family volunteering include the strengthening of children’s value systems because children see parents are involved. 

Our families tell us that volunteering together has prompted and facilitated conversations about difficult social issues and promoted respect and understanding of others. We believe that children who volunteer with their loved ones will benefit from the family values developed around giving back to others and communities will be strengthened through this hands-on action.

Do you have staff?

Yes. We have five full time employees and one part time employee. Please feel free to contact any of us with questions at any time!

Marissa Vogel, Executive Director
marissa@littlehelpinghands.org

Charli Krause, Program Director
charli@littlehelpinghands.org

Jennifer Himstedt, Director of Youth Leadership Programs
jennifer@littlehelpinghands.org

Allison Johnson, Marketing / Development Director
allison@littlehelpinghands.org

Carol McHorse, Program Assistant
carol@littlehelpinghands.org

Arielle Scherr, Program and Marketing Coordinator
arielle@littlehelpinghands.org

How is LHH funded?

All of our funding comes from donations provided by individuals, families, foundations and businesses that care about our mission. We do not receive funding from the nonprofit organizations that we support with our volunteer activities. View our most recent Annual Report or our funding sources infographic to learn more about where our funds come from.

If you are aware of a funding opportunity that might be a good fit for us, let us know! Please contact Allison Johnson at allison@littlehelpinghands.org.

How can I donate to Little Helping Hands?

There are several options for donating directly to us. Gifts can be made online or mailed to us.

Oftentimes, contributions can also be made through employer charitable giving campaigns. Check with your company and also ask if they have a match program so you can double your impact!

We also host several fundraising events/campaigns throughout the year such as Amplify Austin, a city-wide 24 hour day of giving. Participating in these special events/campaigns is another way you can support our cause.

What will my donation support?

Your gift will help fund our volunteer activities. Each activity costs an average of $300. This includes the activity supplies, human resources needed to plan and manage the activity, and donations made to our partner agencies such as food, plants, and art supplies. Your contributions also help us to expand our services to include more educational and leadership opportunities for our volunteer youth such as our summer leadership programs.

What percentage of your funding goes directly to your volunteer activities?

75% of the donations we receive goes directly into our volunteer activities, benefiting our volunteer families and the nonprofit organizations that we support. The remaining 25% of donations fund our administrative and fundraising expenses. To learn more about our fundraising and expenses, please view our financials infographic.

Will Little Helping Hands accept a matching gift from my company?

Yes! If your employer or a family member’s employer has a matching gift program, this can be a great way to provide additional support to us. Please check with your company’s Human Resources Department for the specific instructions for your employer‘s program. We would be happy to provide any information needed. Some companies also have volunteer service incentives and will make a donation to a nonprofit when the employee has completed a certain number of community service hours.

Do you accept in-kind donations?

Yes! Please view our Wish List of supplies and other donations that would be helpful in offsetting our program costs. We also feature our requested donation item of the month above our Activity Calendar.

Will I receive a receipt for my donation?

Yes. We will provide a receipt for all donations.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes. Little Helping Hands is a 501c3 nonprofit organization so your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Should you need it, our EIN number is 27-0452295.

Do you have an Annual Report?