How do I apply?

Please visit to get started. All our available positions and their descriptions are posted on the volunteer page on our website. Be sure to click the link of the position to read the position description and access the “Apply” button. When you are ready to apply, please click the “Apply” button below the description to get started.

Applications are reviewed every few weeks. Once applications are reviewed, you may get an email request for an interview. Please be sure to also check your spam folder in your email.

Where do you need the most help?

While roles involving animal care attract many applicants, we have a high need for volunteers in shelter care, laundry assistance, food prep assistance, drivers for Community Outreach and Food Bank, and more! These roles are critical to keeping our shelter clean and running smoothly. We especially need reception or community outreach volunteers who are fully bilingual in Spanish and English.

Do volunteer positions have age restrictions?

For most positions, you must be at least 16 years old or older due to liabilities involved. Certain positions may require volunteers to be 18 years or older. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you may apply for most positions, but will be required to obtain and turn in a MA Youth Work Permit prior to volunteering. 

If you are younger than 16 years old, we currently do not have any volunteer opportunities, but MSPCA does offer a wide variety of educational programs. You can find out more information about those programs here

Is there a minimum time commitment for volunteering?

We ask our traditional volunteers to commit to a full shift one day a week for a minimum of four to six months, depending on the position. For most positions, a “full shift” is roughly 4 hours. For our morning and evening shifts, it is a more flexible commitment.

Are there volunteer opportunities that are shorter than 4 hours a day?

A position that requires a morning or evening commitment will be your best option if you cannot volunteer for 4 hours once a week or meet the four or six month commitment. These opportunities require a commitment of 8 hours a month with flexible scheduling. However, due to the short commitment period, growth in animal handling abilities is limited or can take longer than our traditional volunteer roles.

I only want to volunteer for the summer, what positions are available?

We recommend applying early to one of our positions that has a 4 month commitment. However, we offer a summer Animal Welfare Specialist Volunteer Internship from June – August that provides a more indepth volunteer experience. When available, you can learn more about that position here.

Are there volunteer opportunities for teens and high school students?

We currently do not offer any single-day of service volunteer opportunities for groups of teens or high school students. However, we love having students become involved with the shelter, so please reach out to for more information.

I’m looking to place a student or client in a volunteer role.

After having reviewed the detailed volunteer role descriptions, please email to discuss if volunteering at NEAS will be an appropriate match for their skills and schedule. We are lucky to have students and clients from several school transition programs and organizations volunteering with us, and are extremely limited in our ability to serve as a placement site for additional individuals at this time.

Can I do my senior project at the Northeast Animal Shelter?

Generally, we are unable to accommodate senior projects because many schools require more hours than we can provide. If a regular volunteer commitment (one day a week for six months) would fulfill the requirements of your senior project, then please fill out our volunteer application form and tell us in as much detail as possible about your project request and needs. Please be aware that we would have to consider you among the pool of applicants we have at that time.

Do you have volunteer opportunities on the weekends?

Yes, we have volunteer opportunities every day of the week, however, weekend positions are the most sought-after positions. To check the availability of a position, please look at the position description.

Do you have opportunities for group or corporate volunteering?

Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity for group volunteering in the shelter due to limited staff time and physical space.

Small or corporate groups could consider creating their own service project that benefits the Northeast Animal Shelter. Many projects, such as fundraisers, donation drives, or advertising adoptable animals often gain a lot of attention, and your group can help make a big impact. In most cases, we are happy to help advertise your project and post the name of your group or company on our social media. If you are interested in setting up your own service project, you can send an email to for more ideas or information.

Can I just volunteer to pet/read to/play with animals?

Unfortunately, not at this time. While socialization is important, it is only one part of a larger volunteer role. You must be willing and able to do tasks such as emptying litter-boxes, picking up after a dog, walking in the rain or snow, scrubbing dirty food bowls, and washing loads (and loads) of soiled bedding are all part of volunteer life here at NEAS!

I already know how to handle cats and/or dogs. Why do I need to wait for training to begin?

As a NEAS volunteer, you’ll need to learn the way we do things! This might be different from the way you interact with animals in a home environment. While animals are at our shelter, we have protocols that must be followed for the safety of staff, volunteers, and the animals themselves.

When is the best time to apply?

All of our available volunteer positions accept applications on a rolling basis. We receive many applications throughout the year, and will update our positions and availability as needed. If you are interested in volunteering with us, there’s no time like the present to apply!

What is your selection process for volunteers and how competitive is it?

After we receive an application, we will review it and invite the candidate for an interview if he or she meets our current needs. If the candidate is thought to be a good fit for a vacancy in their desired department, we will pass on their application for review with a department supervisor. We will keep your application on file for 3 months before we highly encourage you to reapply again.

Keep in mind that the description or availability of positions can change at any time. The amount of applications we receive varies month-to-month, but we do our best to interview most people that apply. If we are unable to accommodate you for an interview, please keep in mind that it could be due to an overwhelming number of application submissions. 

If we are unable to accept you or you cannot meet the requirements of a posted volunteer position, we encourage you to keep checking back for new volunteer opportunities. Or, you can check out volunteering with our partner shelter, MSPCA.

Is there a waitlist that I can join? 

Yes! We do keep a waitlist for all our available positions. If you have applied for areas in which we do not have openings, we may ask if you would like to be on the waitlist. However, we cannot guarantee placement for all the volunteers on our waitlist. It is also very difficult to estimate wait times, as we can only fill vacancies as they occur. We will keep your application on file for 3 months before we highly encourage you to reapply again. Please note that we will not notify you after your application has been with us for 3 months or longer.

Will you notify me if there’s an opening?

Yes, we try our best to utilize our waitlist whenever we have an opening. If you have been placed on a waitlist and your availability changes from what you had originally listed, please get in touch and let us know.

Do you keep my application on file?

Yes, we keep your application on file for three months. After that time, you are welcome to reapply.

Can volunteering lead to job opportunities?

Many of our current employees started as volunteers, or some of our volunteers chose to stick around after they moved on from their job at the shelter! We consider volunteering to be an excellent professional development opportunity and frequently encourage volunteers to apply for open job positions; however, volunteering with us is not a guarantee of being hired as a paid employee.

Do I need to have access to a car in order to volunteer?

We are located at 347 Highland Ave in Salem, MA. Although not required, getting to the shelter is easiest by car. 

If you are a Salem resident, you can request the Salem Skipper for transportation. They will pick up/drop off at any location within Salem for $2. Otherwise, MBTA The Ride, Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing services are alternatives that will drop off/pick up at our location.

The MBTA 450 Bus has several stops along Highland Ave in either direction, but none directly in front of the shelter. If you use the bus as your main mode of transportation, the Highland Ave @ Cedar Road (Outbound) or Highland Ave @ Ravenna Rd (Inbound) are the closest stops to the shelter. Keep in mind that you will still need to walk or manage a sidewalk for a few minutes in order to reach the shelter from those stops.

I am a former volunteer; how do I get involved again?

Email us at We would love to hear from you and talk about ways to return to service or get involved. Depending on how long it has been since you were a volunteer, it is possible that we will ask you to fill out another application to update us on your previous volunteer experience!

I need community service hours this weekend! Can I drop in to volunteer?

We do not allow drop-in volunteering. All volunteers must go through our full onboarding process, which can take a few weeks to a month. To best meet our needs, our volunteer program is aimed at volunteers able to make an extended commitment. If you are seeking only a one-time volunteer experience or a small amount of hours, our program will not be a match.

We are unable to provide hours for those seeking to fulfill court-ordered service. Letters to courts will not be provided.

My question was not answered here. What should I do now?

If you are looking for additional information or have further questions, please reach out to or call 978.745.9888 x8305. 

We get many inquiries to our Volunteer Department, so we will do our best to respond within an appropriate time frame. However, please allow a minimum of 2 weeks to hear back.