Action Centers (Affiliates)

Affiliates, also known as Volunteer Centers, HandsOn Action Centers or Cares organizations, are the engine through which HandsOn Network connects thousands of volunteers to meaningful service opportunities throughout the United States, and increasingly, throughout the world. Affiliates work on a “community-wide” basis across various issues to develop high-impact volunteer programming. Through building relationships with nonprofit, school, faith-based, corporate partners and others, affiliates play a critical role in leveraging volunteer power to the fullest effect. Affiliates implement programming in a wide variety of ways, shaping their work according to the assets and needs of their local communities.

Information on HandsOn Network Affiliate Membership

Affiliate Membership Structure (revised) outlines benefits and requirements of affiliate membership

Affiliate Membership Dues

Affiliate Membership Application, which includes detailed appendices addressing frequently asked questions

  • How can applications be submitted?
    Email the application with attachments to:

  • When should applications be submitted?
    • For affiliates that were members of either “legacy” organization (Points of Light Foundation or Hands On Network) at the time of the merger (July 2007), to maintain continuity of your membership, applications must be received by September 30, 2021.
    • For new inquiries into affiliate membership (that were not members of either “legacy” organization), applications will be reviewed after November 30th.
    • In 2009, there will be three application review cycles with applications due the following dates: March 1, June 1, or September 1.
  • Frequently Asked Questions on Dues Assessment
    • Programs Internal to Another Entity
      • If your Affiliate is internal to another entity, such as a Volunteer Center within a United Way, and you do not have dedicated line item in your budget to use in calculating your dues, please work with your CEO/CFO to generate a financial report that outlines expenses incurred to accomplish your volunteer engagement work. Please submit this financial report, signed by your CFO or CEO, together with your application, and use the figure generated outlining your expenses as your ‘program budget’ to determine your Affiliate’s dues amount.
      • If your program is not able to generate a report on expenses incurred by your Affiliate, you must use the financial statement of the entire organization (beyond the Affiliate’s program) to determine your Affiliate dues amount.
    • Pass-Through
      • Some Affiliates’ operations entail administering pass-through of significant funds to other organizations. These funds may not be excluded when calculating dues; your Affiliate’s full board-approved annual operating budget is the figure by which your dues should be assessed.
      • Affiliates with suggestions for adjustments in how dues are assessed, and other improvements for membership process and the affiliate membership structure are encouraged to note that information when submitting your application. In June 2009, minor adjustments will be made to the affiliate membership structure and associated processes with a full review in June 2010. All comments towards improvements are encouraged.

  • Questions about the application?
    Send an email to:

The Annual Affiliate Report Task Force, engaging affiliates in designing the revised Annual Affiliate Report, launched August 19. If your affiliate is interested in contributing to that effort, please email Syreeta Skelton at

The latest information on Annual Affiliate Report, with updates expected throughout the fall, is available here:

View the current listing of HandsOn Network Affiliates.

Please check out the following resources.

Organizational Management

Key Concepts of Financial Management Online Course

Financial management is fundamental to the administration of service organizations. Adhering to proper principles and regulations is important whether the grant source is government, foundation, or corporate. Sound practices in this area help to build a relationship of trust with funders and enhance the overall management process within your organization. Learn the basics of financial management and monitoring of your government grant.

Volunteer Management

Answering the Unasked Questions of Volunteers

From Grapevine, May - June 2005: The Volunteer Manager's Newsletter, Answering the Unasked Questions of Volunteers, written by Steve McCurley focuses on answering questions that are important to retaining volunteers and explaining internal processes to volunteers.

Baby Boomers Can Be Dynamic Volunteers

Boomer session handout from the 2007 National Conference

Young Adult Tip Sheets

Resources from the 2007 National Conference Workshop -- Appealing to Generation Y: Volunteer Recruitment Strategies for Colleges & Universities, facilitated by Gayle Davis and Erin Taylor. This resource presents ten tips for involving young adults and five tips for mobilizing college students.

Developing Volunteer Projects Toolkit

Do you need help developing a volunteer project? Great! We have you covered. The following pages cover the process of developing a volunteer project in more detail.

2008 National Volunteer Week Toolkit

The 2008 National Volunteer Week resource guide has the necessary information and resources to recognize your volunteers with a special event, or just to tell the rest of your community about how wonderful your volunteers are! Use this resource guide to leverage the nation's focus on volunteering during the Week and honor your deserving volunteers.

Disaster Management

50 Ways to Recognize Your Disaster Volunteers

List of 50 ways to recognize your volunteers.

Presentation: Creating a Disaster Plan for Your Organization

Why does an organization need a disaster plan? Creating a disaster plan enables an agency to continue to provide services to those who need them and may make the difference between an organization remaining an essential part of the community, or closing its doors forever. During an emergency, response systems may be overwhelmed, external assistance may not be available and the agency might be without utilities, communication or medical services. The plan prepares the organization to maintain and resume following a disaster. The presentation walks the planner through: Examining your organization and how it currently functions, Defining what constitutes a disaster or emergency, Determining critical activities, vital to the survival of the organization and accomplishment of its mission, Identifying essential functions based on both normal day-to-day operations and responsibilities during a disaster, and Creating a planning team. Further, it breaks-down: What the plan should include, Keys to survival, Organizational resources, Neighborhood resources, Client concerns and other considerations, Factors in successful recovery, The disaster plan as it relates to the disaster life cycle, and Self care for responders and volunteers.