Frequently Asked Questions
What are you looking for in a volunteer?
While we are always accepting new volunteers to fufill our mission, we have a special need for people who meet any of the following criteria:
- Have daytime availability to volunteer in one of the offices (Chicago, Peoria, Springfield) and have computer, phone and organizational skills.
- Bi-lingual (Spanish-English or Polish-English) throughout the state.
- Residents of South Cook, Kane, Kankakee, Vermillion, Clay, Marion, Jefferson, Crawford, Adams, Hancock, LaSalle, Henderson, Madison, St. Clair and Rock Island Counties (and those residing in surrounding counties).
Who makes a great volunteer for your organization?
Volunteers who believe in and adhere to our values fit the Foundation best. Our values are: Integrity, Child Focus, Excellence, Community and Inspiration.
We approach every aspect of our work with unwavering standards of honesty, transparency and respect for wish recipients, their families and Foundation supporters.
- Child Focus
Our business practices always put the interests of wish children first.
We aspire to be best-in-class business practices, and we embrace the challenge to exceed expectations at every opportunity.
We foster a collaborative, global community of staff, volunteers and donors with the collective ability to make the broadest possible range of wishes come true.
We are inspired by the examples of our wish kids and the actions of the entire Make-A-Wish® community to approach our mission with life-affirming enthusiasm, imagination and creativity. As a result, we fill each wish experience and every interaction with hope, strength and joy.
What is the age requirement to be a volunteer?
As of January 2013, Make-A-Wish® Illinois requires that all new volunteers be over the age of 21. This policy is one that many chapters across the country already have in place and we felt it was important to adopt this best practice based on the very important, mature work that our volunteers carry out. Interested volunteer prospects 18-20 years old are encouraged to apply for internships, start their own fundraiser through Wish Makers on Campus and Kids For Wish Kids or participate in any of our family friend events.
What kind of schedule must I have to be able to volunteer?
It is unlikely that you will have a regular volunteer time (i.e. every Tuesday at a certain time). The positions at Make-A-Wish tend to be very project-oriented and it is necessary that you have a flexible enough schedule to accommodate this commitment.
How do I find out about volunteer opportunities and trainings?
Our robust volunteer extranet WISHNET provides volunteers with all trainings and opportunities.
How often and where do you hold Wish Granter Trainings?
Wish Granter trainings are a combination of online and in-person trainings that are held on an as needed basis as determined by the need in each community and area. Typically, there are a series of trainings in the Fall and Spring. Please check WISHNET for upcoming trainings or contact the Volunteer Manager.
What is a Wish Granter Training?
Wish Granter Trainings are specialized trainings that consist of an overview of the Foundation, the Wish Granting Process, meeting with the families and planning a wish. This is a specialized volunteer opportunity.
I forgot my WISHNET username/password, how do I obtain it?
Your username and password is provided to you in your initial welcome email and mailed letter. If you misplace it, you can simply reset it yourself on the homepage of WishNet or contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
There are not any scheduled Make-A-Wish events in my area, how can I still help?
Great question! All of our upcoming events and volunteer needs are listed on WishNet. Please contact the Development Department to inquire about starting a community event to benefit Make-A-Wish in your community. We have a great Community Events kit to help you plan a golf outing, a walk-a-thon or other event!
Do I have to live in Chicago?
No. Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois serves the entire state of Illinois. It is not necessary to live in the Chicago area, as we grant wishes in every county throughout the state!
What is a Wish Granter?
Wish granters work with our wish children to help them determine their most heartfelt wish. Wish granters then work with the staff to help make these wishes come true. Time commitment varies, but is approximately 10 hours per month based on granting three wishes per year. This includes traveling to wish family homes, wish planning and implementation. Wish Granters must have strong communication skills, and be able to respond to wish families and staff within 48 hours.
Do Wish Granters travel with the family/child?
No, there are 61 other Make-A-Wish chapters around the country and many international affiliates. When we send a wish family to another state or country, that chapter will help facilitate the wish.
Why do you require a criminal background check and personal reference check?
Because we work closely with children, Make-A-Wish does a thorough reference check on all volunteer applicants. We also ask all volunteers to submit to a criminal background check. All information received from these reports will remain confidential and be used only for screening and placement purposes.
If you have additional questions about the application process please feel free to contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
Make-A-Wish does NOT solict donations through telemarketing or door-to-door.