May We Help Volunteer FAQs

1. How does the MWH process work?

Clients, their family members, or healthcare professionals contact the MWH organization requesting a custom device or modification of an exisiting one to overcome a particular obstacle they are experiencing.  They are asked to fill out a Request for Assistance form (RFA)  which is sent to the local chapter coordinator for review.  The approved request is presented to the chapter’s volunteers for assignment.   A volunteer will meet the client to gather a clear understanding of what the clients challenges are and any other pertinent information.   Volunteers design, construct, and/ or modify  a device based on these findings. Finally the device is tested with the client to see if it safely solves the problem or may need further refinement.

2. Who pays for the materials?

MWH ensures that volunteers are reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses.  MWH repays all costs of materials used in a project, and all associated travel expenses. Usually, the main costs incurred by volunteers are for parts involved in a project. Volunteers tally the entire project cost using the provided Project Completion Form and submit it to the local coordinator in order to be reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses.  This Project Completion Form creates a platform to inform the client of the real market value of their device (that they receive for completely free).

3. Tell me what is expected of Volunteers

We ask our volunteers to do their best to finish their projects and deliver them in a timely basis.  Whether working by yourself or on a team, you can expect to receive all the resources and guidance you need to complete a project. We are often the last resort for families. They are counting on us and we want to deliver!

4. What rights do I have as a volunteer?

We don’t pressure volunteers into doing things against their wishes, and always encourage them to decline/re-assign projects they don’t have a good feel for, for whatever reason.  If a client is abusive, the volunteer should notify local coordinator and refuse to have contact with him/her. The coordinator will then inform the client that we cannot work with them.  If a volunteer feels they are being asked to do something beyond their capabilities, they should not attempt it. If a more suitable volunteer is not available, the project could be declined – or, more commonly, the resources of the wider MWH organization are utilized to supplement the local volunteer.  Volunteers should not attempt a project they feel is inherently unsafe or unsuitable, or that otherwise raises ethical objection.

5. Do I need a police background check?

Yes. Every volunteer and coordinator must complete a police criminal record check. This is a moral responsibility as we work with vulnerable clients, but in addition it is written into our insurance – it all falls under the issue of due diligence.  We reimburse the costs associated with obtaining a police criminal record check  – usually around $10 when it relates to a non-profit position, although some police forces do this at no cost.

6.  Will I be working alone?

Many projects require only one skill such as woodworking, a small project would be built by one volunteer.  Larger projects or projects involving multiple talents such as electronics, welding and machining may involve a team of volunteers.  Much of the decision of the team size is left to the project leader.