How to Start a Soldiers’ Angels VA Representative Site in Your City

Posted on Apr 23, 2019

Here's how you can get started with Soldiers' Angels veteran volunteer opportunities!


 

Our Veteran Support Program has grown tremendously over the years as veteran populations across the United States have grown. Soldiers’ Angels works in 31 VA Hospitals across the country, providing volunteer support, doing patient visits, giving out supplies like box lunches and hygiene kits, and organizing luncheons and other group activities.

We often get requests from people interested in creating their own Soldiers’ Angels Team at a VA Hospital near them. We are always excited to help someone get started in their city and have a process in place to get you started. Here’s how it works.

 

How to Get Started as a VA Hospital Representative

 

First, contact info@soldiersangels.org and let us know you are a volunteer looking to get started as a VA Hospital Representative. We will send you volunteer paperwork to fill out and go through an interview process to ensure it is the right fit for both of us. The interview process has two steps. First, you will have an initial interview with the local Regional Director to ensure you have the right qualifications and understand the criteria for this role. The second interview is with our VP of Programs.

Once you are considered to have the necessary qualifications to serve in the role of a VA Representative, you will go through a training process that includes recorded training sessions as well as one-on-one training sessions with the Regional Director.  Our initial goal is to ensure you have all the tools you need to begin the process of building the team to a minimum of 3 volunteers.

Qualifications

VA Hospital Representatives must have the following qualifications:

  • Be able to commit 10-15 hours a week to volunteer for that role. Some of it can be at home doing emails and phone calls.

  • Experienced in Microsoft Office products and able to fill out monthly reports (the reports take no more than 5-10 minutes to fill out), and track volunteers and other resources in Excel.

  • Be willing to recruit two other people in key volunteer roles (you need to have a team of at least three to move forward in a new location).

  • Not afraid to do media, recruit volunteers, or talk to people on the phone.

 

The Training Process

We use training software to train our VA Reps. Initial training will be focused on volunteer recruitment and outreach to ensure you have the tools necessary to build a team of a least 3 volunteers. Once the team of 3 or more is in place, additional training will be provided related to organizational history and working with the VA Hospital. These are recorded, interactive sessions that are between 30 and 75 minutes each. There are five training modules that are easy to knock out in less than 5 hours.

Once the training has been completed, our Regional Director will follow up one-on-one to make sure you understand the materials and have everything you need. You will be provided a shirt, business cards, and other tools to help get you started.

Once the training is over, you will be introduced to the VA Volunteer Service chief within the VA Hospital to get you started on the badging process. You will need a badge to volunteer at the VA in order to walk through the hospital, do patient visits, etc.

 

Volunteer Recruitment

We do a lot of different activities to support the VA Hospital and veteran patients. The work we do requires a team of at least three. As soon as you are approved, you will want to begin recruiting volunteers. You will need to recruit at least two volunteers to work with you. This is so we can provide coverage, plan events, and complete the required paperwork.  

 

Responsibilities

What kinds of activities do we do within the VA Hospital? Patient visits, volunteer recruitment, donor and volunteer outreach, luncheons, dinners, movie nights, etc. The activities really depend on the team size, veteran needs, ability of the volunteers, and the needs of the particular VA Hospital. Some VAs really need help filling volunteering roles like the front desk - which is a great opportunity to hand out Soldiers’ Angels materials and swag.  

 

Criteria for setting up a new site

Here’s a look at our step-by-step procedures for setting up a new volunteer site.

  1. Obtain and complete a volunteer application packet for potential VA Representative.

  2. Our Regional Director reviews the application packet to ensure the applicant is able to volunteer during the weekdays, and other criteria is met.

  3. Our Regional Director interviews the potential VA Representative.

  4. Once the interview is complete, our Regional Director sends the volunteer packet and interview questions to the VP of Programs to review.

  5. Our VP of Programs reviews volunteer information with Sr. Director of Field Operations for consideration and approval to move forward with building the team at that site. A team of at least 3 must be established before we move forward.

  6. Once approval from VP of Programs is obtained, our Regional Director sets up an initial call with VAVS Chief to discuss SA programs and the desire to place a VA Representative at the facility.

  7. Our Regional Director works with the Director of Volunteer Engagement to set up a Volunteer Match account for the future site.

  8. Our Regional Director sets up a site folder for potential site with approved templates for Resource List and Volunteer Tracking Sheet.

  9. Our Regional Director begins training with potential Representative.

  10. Our Regional Director works one on one with potential VA Rep to ensure Volunteer Match postings for Deputy, Patient Visitor, Outreach Representative, and other key volunteers are posted to begin recruiting for the core team.

  11. After all of the training is complete and there are at least 3 key volunteers for the site, the VA Representative will start the badging process.

  12. Once the potential VA Representative is badged and ready to begin visiting patients the Regional Director will send a request for certification to National VA Representative to be completed.

 

The process for certification takes approximately 30 days to ensure all steps and approvals are met. We will not certify, order business cards, name tags, wagon or Rep Kit in the first 30 days.  

Our immediate needs for a new site are in the DC/Metro area, Los Angeles, Charleston, and Philadelphia. But we are always excited to help someone get set up in any city. Learn more about our VA Support Program here and shoot us an email at info@soldiersangels.org if you’re interested in getting started.

Here’s a list of VA Hospitals we serve.