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Commonly Asked Questions

Learn more about our volunteer program

Can I volunteer around my work schedule?
Yes. Many volunteers are working professionals and most of our volunteer opportunities require volunteers to manage their own schedule and work remotely, outside of regular business hours. The time commitment varies based on the volunteer's ability and desired involvement. We strive to be as flexible as possible with our volunteers’ time.

Why do I have to undergo a criminal background check?
Make-A-Wish volunteers commonly are trusted to work directly with our wish families and may handle Make-A-Wish resources (including money or donated goods) as they assist with wishes. For the protection of the wish families and the Foundation itself, we require criminal background checks of all staff and volunteers.

Why do I have to pay a $30 background check fee?
Because of the extensive contact volunteers have with families and resources, we run a very thorough background check on all volunteers and staff. The cost for each background check is roughly $30 per person. We ask volunteers to cover the cost so that we can maximize the funds available for direct wish expenses.

What does the application process involve?
Please see Become a Volunteer.

How long is the application process?
Depending on the type of volunteer role you are seeking, it usually takes between two to three weeks from the time your application is received until the time you can begin volunteering. Once you are on board as a volunteer, though, we usually have you volunteering right away!

Do you have volunteer positions that aren’t emotionally demanding?
In many cases, the Foundation’s work has a high emotional content. In such cases when volunteers are interested in supporting our mission while limiting their involvement with families, we suggest volunteer roles in events or administrative support. All volunteer positions contribute equally to the Foundation’s mission.

Can anyone be a volunteer?
Most volunteers must be at least 18 years old and be positive, outgoing, and passionate about our mission. Event volunteers must be at least 14 years old and accompanied by an adult.

I am under the age of 18 - how can I help Make-A-Wish Foundation?
Children under 18 can still make a big difference for wish kids through our Kids For Wish Kids® program. To learn more about how you can get involved in Kids For Wish Kids, click here.

Can wish families volunteer?
Yes. Frequently, wish families have asked to become volunteers for the Foundation after their wish is complete. Most families decide to become involved as a Wish Granters.

Are there opportunities for groups to volunteer?
Yes. We have a variety of opportunities for groups. If you are interested in volunteering with your co-workers, religious group, or another organization, please email Volunteer Services.

Does volunteering require additional training?
Wish Granters, Meet and Greeters, and Shopping Spree Assistants require training beyond the initial volunteer orientation and application.

Do I need to participate in a wish to be a Make-A-Wish volunteer?
No. There are many areas of the volunteer program beyond wish granting that can draw on your abilities, from planning, organizing or promoting, to writing, designing or administrative assistance.

What if I have limited time available to volunteer?
If you have limited amounts of time, you may want to be an event or Meet and Greet volunteer. There are various assignments to choose from that can fit your interests and availability.

Do I need to make a financial contribution to Make-A-Wish before I can volunteer?
No. We welcome cash and in-kind donations from all supporters, but it is not a requirement for volunteering.

How much time does a wish require to fulfill?
Some wishes, like “I wish to have…” wishes, are quickly and easily fulfilled. Other wishes, like “I wish to go…” wishes, could take longer because the family typically travels on their timetable, usually based on the child’s medical condition and treatment. Celebrity wishes can be the longest to fulfill as we rely on the availability of each celebrity to schedule the wish accordingly. On average, a typical wish granting assignment will require 10-15 hours over the span of the entire wish.

Do wish granter volunteers travel with the family/child?
No, there are 60 other Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. When wish families visit another state, the local chapter helps to facilitate the wish.

Why are wishes handled by wish teams rather than individuals?
A two to three person team provides emotional support and helps to balance the workload. Working in teams also helps to protect volunteers from potential accusations of impropriety.

I’d like to wish grant with my friend or family member – can we sign up as a wish granting team?
Definitely! In fact, we encourage it. Since Wish Granters work in teams of two or three, we encourage people to attend Wish Granter Training with a partner they’d like to wish grant with. If you don’t have a partner, don’t worry, we will assign you one after training.

I have a question not addressed here. Who can I contact?
If you have additional questions, please contact Kirsten Hoaby, Volunteer Services Manager at 612-767-2765 or



Make-A-Wish® Minnesota
1919 University Ave W
Suite 415
St. Paul, MN 55104
(612) 767-9474