Volunteer - Nashville Humane
Find out how you can get involved with volunteering for Nashville Humane!
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Volunteering at NHA


Already a Volunteer? Go to our Login & Resource Page

Want to apply to be a Volunteer? Click Here

Volunteer Guidelines and Information


Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Nashville Humane Association (NHA)! Hundreds of individuals, passionate about helping homeless animals, make it possible for us to care for and adopt out over 4,000 animals each year, and we are grateful for their dedication and assistance.


(See examples of our exceptional volunteers in our Volunteer of the Month page.)


Volunteer Positions: All below opportunities are reviewed in detail during the New Volunteer Orientation.


  • Donation Canister Assistant
  • Cat Socializer
  • Community Events Assistant
  • Development Department Assistant
  • Dog Walker / Puppy Socializer
  • Facility Operations Assistant
  • Food Bank Volunteer
  • Foster Care Provider
  • Pet Visitation Volunteer
  • Teddy’s Wagon Off-Site Adoption Assistant


Age Limitations:


  •  Minimum age is 16 years old for any independent volunteering or volunteering in a small group.
  • Every volunteer between ages 13-15 must be accompanied by an  adult (21 year or older) who has completed an application and completed the training process. One trained volunteer 21 or older required per child.
  • Young people (under the age of 12) are not permitted to serve as volunteers on shelter property but can serve through a variety of school and at-home activities that support the animals in our care. For more information, please click here for ways kids under 13 may help fulfill the mission of NHA.


*Please Note: For safety of our volunteers, staff, and animals, no exceptions can be made to the age limitation policies.


Time Expectations: All volunteers are required to commit to a minimum of 30 hours of lifetime service, as consistent volunteer service offers the most benefit to the shelter residents and assistance to fellow volunteers and potential adopters. As we must observe specific safety, sanitation protocols, and training requirements for the safety and welfare of the animals, our program is not designed for single visits or short-term opportunities (i.e. scholarship, school, or community service hours totaling less than 30).


*Please Note: We do not sign off on any school service hours prior to the completion of at least 30 hours, as our goal is to retain long-term volunteers.


Training Requirements: Before serving in any capacity all volunteers must attend (1) one New Volunteer Orientation and (1) one Animal Socialization Training. The following positions have additional requirements:


  • Teddy’s Wagon Positions: 15 hours of animal socialization service and a Teddy’s Wagon Training session is required prior to serving as an Off-Site Adoption Assistant with Teddy’s Wagon (sessions held and announced quarterly).
Summer Volunteer Application Deadline – Friday, June 15.
Please Note: Due to camp and summer events, the application link will be disabled after June 8. We will resume collecting applications mid-August for fall opportunities.

How to Become a Volunteer


Step 1: Review Guidelines and Complete an Application 


After you have reviewed the above guidelines, submit an online application available below.  If you wish to include any special skills, experience, or interests please include those details in the “Notes” section.


*Please read all volunteer guidelines carefully. Our volunteer program is highly competitive, and application submission does not guarantee placement.


Step 2: One-Time $25 Volunteer application fee is requested upon application submission.  This fee is a tax deductible donation and helps to cover the cost of:


  • Access to the volunteer portal software system
  • An NHA Volunteer t-shirt (required at all off-site events)
  • Volunteer Nametags and Aprons (required for shelter volunteer duties)
  • The $25.00 Volunteer fee also enrolls each volunteer as a new NHA Member for the current calendar year. 


Step 3: Attend a New Volunteer Orientation


Online applications are pulled simultaneously at the end of each month (due to volume), and applicants will be emailed at that time regarding New Volunteer Orientation dates for the following month.  These orientations provide information on the history and mission of NHA, details on volunteer opportunities, insight into the shelter programs, and a tour of the facility.  Applicants must RSVP their preferred date to this email in order to attend.


Step 4Attend either a Dog Walking or Cat Socialization Training


After volunteers attend the initial orientation session, they will receive an email with dates of upcoming socialization training dates and must RSVP to attend one.  All volunteers must attend (1) one session in order to start volunteering.  In this class volunteers receive a complete packet containing their individual logins to their accounts for accessing the volunteer portal as well as pin numbers for clocking in and out at the Volunteer Desk when serving at the shelter.  Volunteers will also receive their NHA Volunteer t-shirts upon completion of this class.


If interested in long-term volunteer opportunities, please submit an online application:


PLEASE NOTE: We ask for a minimum commitment of 5 volunteer hours per month or a total of 30 hours as our goal is to train and retain long-term volunteers. We greatly appreciate your desire to contribute to the well-being of our shelter residents and look forward to reviewing your application.

Group / Corporate Volunteering


Interested in volunteering with your work colleagues, social organization, or school group?  NHA partners with one-time or recurring groups of up to ten adults for shelter tasks, days of service, and special projects.  However, due to safety requirements, each group must designate (1) one team leader per (10) ten adults who must complete training prior to the group’s volunteer date.  In order to allow ample time to complete this process, please submit your application (6) six to (8) eight weeks in advance of your desired date(s).


To review further group volunteering policies and apply for opportunities, click here.





Internships / Job Shadowing


Interested in completing an internship or job shadowing experience for school requirements?  As these programs are highly competitive and space is extremely limited, we ask all applicants to submit a resume and cover letter for consideration, allowing a minimum of (4) four weeks for review and placement (if accepted). In addition to your education history, work experience, reason for applying, and desired goal(s) of the experience, please include your requested dates, availability, and timeline of completion.


*Please note: These positions may require heavy lifting of 50 lbs. or more.


All accepted interns and/or job shadowers will receive a comprehensive experience of NHA and should anticipate working with multiple departments within the shelter.


Expected duties may include:


  • Kennel and shelter cleaning
  • Dog walking and/or animal socialization
  • Clerical assistance
  • Event preparation
  • Donation sorting and facilities organization
  • Customer service (i.e. answering phones and greeting customers)
  • Intake processing
  • Surgery preparation
  • Other daily or one-time tasks as assigned


Please send all general applications to volunteer@nashvillehumane.org.

Community Service

The Volunteer Program at NHA is not intended for those required to do court-ordered community service, and the Volunteer Coordinator cannot sign off on these hours.


For more information on court-ordered community service call (615) 352-1010.