HomeAid Atlanta Tips for happy, hardworking volunteers

Written By: Jean Hilyard is HomeAid Atlanta Director of Shelter Development and Karen McLane is HomeAid Atlanta Director of Community Outreach.


Founded in 2001, HomeAid Atlanta is a nonprofit organization that builds, renovates, and maintains facilities for nonprofits serving people experiencing homelessness. HomeAid has completed over 120 projects at locations for victims of domestic violence, teen mothers, veterans, and more, utilizing connections with building industry professionals and community organizations. In 2018 alone, we engaged 600 volunteers in the fight to end homelessness, for a total of 3,200 volunteer hours.

At HomeAid Atlanta, we have set up our volunteers to use power tools, plant gardens, and paint rooms – often for the first time. Sometimes we work with skilled volunteer groups, but we frequently work with less-skilled people who just want to help make a difference. All skill levels are welcome at HomeAid Care Days, our hands-on workdays providing facility maintenance and repairs free-of-charge for shelter provider organizations.

Each project location and volunteer group is different, and provides a new challenge; having managed thousands of volunteers over the years, we’ve learned a lot! Among the lessons we’ve amassed:

Use local resources to increase volunteer effectiveness. Take time to look for organizations in your area that will increase the effectiveness of your volunteers, and thus the success of your projects. Our volunteers do landscaping and repair work, so being a member of the Atlanta Community ToolBank is a must for us. If you’re unfamiliar, the ToolBank maintains a library of tools and rents them to nonprofits. Not only do they carry all the tools our volunteers could ever need, their rates are great. With their help, we have accomplished so much more than we could on our own.