Open Doors for Refugees is an all-volunteer organization. Every person that steps up to help is doing a large part!

Please email volunteers@odfr.org if you’re interested in volunteering!

Current Volunteer Needs

Donation Pick Ups

The Donations Team is in need of people to help with donation pick ups. These typically occur twice a month, though some pick ups are skipped if our warehouses are full. Pick ups occur every second Tuesday morning and every fourth Wednesday evening. In winter, pick ups are in the mornings to avoid icy and dark conditions. Pick ups are done by small teams recruited from our pool of volunteers and usually require about 2-4 hours of time. Volunteers should expect to help carry heavier items such as sofas, loveseats, dressers, coffee tables, nightstands, etc. After picking up donations at each donor\'s home, volunteers will bring the furniture and household items to one of our warehouses to store until we set up our next apartment. These pick ups enable us to furnish apartments for our newly arrived refugee neighbors!


The Translation Team is seeking Arabic, Pashto, Dari, and/or Swahili speakers to translate short documents a few times per month. There is also occasional interpretation needed in person or on Zoom. The time required for this is 1-2 hours/week with flexibility to fit your schedule.

Skill Building

Our Skill Building team is looking for a handful of committed volunteers who would like to help administer mini-grants to refugees pursuing skill enhancement activities in a broad range of areas. The grants may include requests for driving lessons, English classes, equipment for small businesses, GED tests, college coursework, etc. Applicants may also request funds to cover transportation or child care expenses in order to attend courses or enroll in a program. Grant awards pay up to 75% of funds requested, or up to a maximum of $3,000 as long as funds last. We are looking for volunteers to work one-on-one with applicants to support these goals when it is helpful and desired. Volunteers will also help to review applications and discuss adjustments to the program as needed. Volunteers that speak Arabic, Pashto, Dari, and/or Swahili are especially desired.

Community Events

Join the Community Events Team to help organize 2-3 events each year that foster relationships between our refugee families and the broader Madison community. Two annual events include our Summer Community Picnic and Thanksgiving Potluck. If you enjoy coordination, collaboration, designing graphics, or community outreach this is a great opportunity to join a fun, energetic team! 

Social Media Coordinator

Our Communications Team is looking for a social media savvy individual to help us manage a consistent flow of content across our social channels, primarily Instagram and Facebook. This person will organize and execute posts designed by our content creators. If you are organized, with good attention to detail, and are familiar with IG/FB/Twitter, you\'d be a great fit!
Responsibilities and tasks include: - Post scheduling & monitoring
- Engaging with comments and shares of our posts - Keeping up-to-date on relevant current events and news - Engaging with and sharing content from relevant accounts
- Occasionally: Caption writing, IG story creation

Child Care Team

We are seeking one or two individuals to provide child care for children of the women participating in a refugee support group on Thursdays from 10-12pm on the north side of Madison.

Pick Up Trucks

If you own a truck and/or trailer and are interested in volunteering, we are looking for people to assist in the pick up and delivery of items such as bicycles. For more information, please email volunteers@odfr.org!

Content Creators

Our Communications Team is looking for 1-2 individuals interested in creating content and telling stories for our external communications. Any mix of blog writing, caption writing, photography, video creation, or videography will be useful on our team!
Our socials currently function as a place to communicate ODFR announcements and updates, but we would like to expand our presence in a strategic way that will further educate and inform our local community. We see an opportunity to tell more stories -- about our new neighbors and their various backgrounds, about our volunteers, about our growing and evolving community, about what ODFR does -- on our social media.
Responsibilities will depend on your specific content experience/interests, but can include:
- Repurposing existing blog, website, or newsletter content into social media graphics and posts
- Caption writing
- Blog writing and website article writing
- Graphics creation (using Canva or Picmonkey)
- Video creation - YouTube, Reels, etc.
- Translating ideas into content

Grant/Fundraising Team

We are seeking a few volunteers to join this newly formed team to seek out grants, prepare and write grant applications, and develop and implement a fundraising strategy. Experience in non-profit grant writing and fundraising is a plus, but not a requirement. This would require availability to meet virtually with other members of the team on a regular basis.


Our move-in team is seeking individuals with weekday morning and afternoon availability who own trucks or who are comfortable doing heavy lifting (couches, dressers, etc.).

Volunteer Co-Coordinator

We are seeking 2 Volunteer Coordinators to co-lead the engagement of new volunteers interested in joining the exciting programs of Open Doors! Responsibilities include: tracking current volunteer needs of the organization, maintaining the volunteer page of the website, conducting background checks, responding to email inquiries, finding the right role for interested volunteers, hosting regular volunteer orientation sessions, and coordinating with other team leaders to recruit and retain a healthy number of volunteers. Ideally the Volunteer Coordinators would also join ODFR\'s Leadership Council, a group of decision makers that meet monthly to discuss key issues for the organization. Volunteer coordination is a key function for the successful operation of ODFR and we aim to actively celebrate the contributions of all volunteers. If you\'re interested in this role and the important behind-the-scenes work it takes, please reach out to us at volunteers@odfr.org!

Get in Touch

Open Doors for Refugees is an all-volunteer organization, and we exist entirely on the strengths and efforts of our volunteers.

To get involved, please either use the form on this page or contact our volunteer coordinator at volunteers@odfr.org, and indicate within your email which team(s) you are interested in.

Our volunteer coordinator will then connect you with the appropriate team leaders and, if necessary, start a background check for you. If you have a particular skill set that you believe would be of benefit to Open Doors for Refugees, please indicate that within your message as well.

We are always happy to try and find creative ways to leverage the unique skills of our volunteers!

Girl Scout Troop #2593 gives children's care packages to refugees
Girl Scout Troop #2593 gives children’s care packages to refugees

    Background Checks

    To maintain the safety and security of the populations we work with, all volunteers who are 18 or older and will have direct contact with refugees or sensitive information must complete a background check. We contract with Sterling Volunteers, a secure online agency, to perform all background checks. More information about Sterling Volunteers can be found on their website: www.sterlingvolunteers.com. Individuals involved in the transportation team are required to undergo an additional driving record check, which is done in conjunction with the background check.

    Other Ways You Can Help

    Please email OpenDoorsForRefugees@gmail.com if you think you can help in any of the following ways!
    (or if you have any questions)

    Employ Refugees

    Greatest need: Entry level positions for persons with limited English proficiency.

    Partner With Us

    If you or your group or organization would like to discuss a joint project or event, we would too.

    Provide Housing

    If you own rental properies, we’d be happy to start a conversation.

    Legal Assistance

    Do you represent a law firm that would like to work pro-bono for refugees in need of legal assistance?


    One of the best ways to help Open Doors for Refugees is by advocating for refugees and their rights.  You may read Open Doors’ response to President Trump’s executive order here.

    Here are some great resources to learn about advocating for refugees the local, state, national, and international levels.

    Thank you for your interest, support, and engagement. We hope that you find any involvement with Open Doors for Refugees to be a gratifying and enriching experience.