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Commonly Asked Questions


Do you have questions about volunteering for Make-A-Wish® Iowa? We have answers.

Can I volunteer around my work schedule?
Yes. Many volunteers are working professionals. We ask for a time commitment in order to ensure volunteers are properly trained and can make timely progress in granting children’s wishes. Administrative volunteers may work during business hours, while event volunteers can select specific days and times based on event needs. We strive to be as flexible as possible with our volunteers’ time, and we ask the same in return.

Why do I have to undergo a criminal background check?
Make-A-Wish® volunteers commonly are trusted to work directly with our wish families, and may handle Make-A-Wish resources (including money or donated goods) as they arrange wishes or volunteer at events. For the protection of the wish families and the Foundation itself, we require criminal background checks of all staff and volunteers. We do not enlist the services of volunteers who have criminal records.

How do I apply?
Simply download our VOLUNTEER APPLICATION. Please print and complete the volunteer application, and either mail, fax, or email it to the address on the application,  Once we receive your completed application, you will receive an e-mail with directions on completing your background check online.  With questions regarding the application, or background check process please contact us at (800) 797-9474 or

What does the application process involve?
Please see Become a Volunteer.

Are volunteers very involved with the children?
Wish granting volunteers have the highest level of involvement with children and their families. They make the initial contact with the family, determine the child’s most heartfelt wish, and coordinate the details of granting the wish with Make-A-Wish staff. Even so, wish granters meet a family at the beginning and end of a wish, but may rely on telephone and email correspondence during the rest of the wish.

Our emphasis is on delivering a one-of-a-kind wish experience, rather than on developing ongoing relationships with families or children. As a new volunteer, you will receive training and be partnered with an experienced volunteer to ensure that you are comfortable in meeting with the families.

Do you have volunteer positions that aren’t emotionally demanding?
In many cases, the Foundation’s work has a high emotional content. When volunteers are interested in supporting our mission while limiting their involvement with families, we suggest volunteer roles in events or administrative support. All volunteer positions contribute equally to the Foundation’s mission.

Can anyone be a volunteer?
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and be positive, outgoing, and passionate about our mission.Wish granters must be at least 21 years old.

I am under the age of 18 - how can I help Make-A-Wish Foundation?
Children under 18 can still make a big difference for wish kids through our Kids For Wish Kids® program. To learn more about how you can get involved in Kids For Wish Kids.

Can wish families volunteer?
Many wish families have asked to become volunteers for the Foundation after their wish is complete. We welcome our wish families to our volunteer base!

Does volunteering require additional training?
Wish granter volunteers require training beyond the initial volunteer orientation and application. If you are interested in becoming a wish granter, you will be contacted with training information upon approval of your application. Wish granters will also attend an annual meeting in their local area to go over policies and procedures.

Will I be able to sign up for a wish immediately after completing the trainings?
Make-A-Wish Iowa is broken up into 11 area committees, each serving wish children and their families within their geographic area. The amount of wish children available in each area varies. It depends upon the number of wish granting volunteers, as well as the number of eligible children in each area. Therefore, if an area has a high number of wish granters and a low number of qualified kiddos, it could take longer to get signed up for a wish. We appreciate our volunteers’ understanding and experience to serve! 

Do I need to participate in a wish to be a Make-A-Wish volunteer?
No. There are many areas of the volunteer program beyond wish granting that can draw on your abilities, from planning, organizing or promoting, to writing, designing or administrative assistance.

What if I have limited time available to volunteer?
If you have limited amounts of time, you may want to be an event or office volunteer. There are various assignments to choose from that can fit your interests and availability.

Do I need to make a financial contribution to Make-A-Wish before I can volunteer?
No. We welcome cash and in-kind donations from all supporters, but it is not a requirement for volunteering.

How much time does a wish require to fulfill?
Some wishes, like “I wish to have…” wishes, are quickly and easily fulfilled. Other wishes, like “I wish to go…” wishes, could take longer because the family typically travels on their timetable, usually based on the child’s medical condition and treatment. Celebrity wishes can be the longest to fulfill as we rely on the availability of each celebrity to schedule the wish accordingly. On average, a typical wish granting assignment will require 10-15 hours over the span of the entire wish.

Do wish granter volunteers travel with the family/child?
No, there are 62 other Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. When wish families visit another state, the local chapter helps to facilitate the wish.

Why are wishes handled by wish teams rather than individuals?
A two person team provides emotional support and helps to balance the workload. Working in teams also helps to protect volunteers from potential accusations of impropriety.

I have a question not addressed here. Who can I contact?
If you have additional questions, please contact our offices at (800) 797-WISH (9474) or We’d love to answer your questions!

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Make-A-Wish® Iowa
3009 100th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322-3220
(515) 334-2636
Toll Free Iowa Only (800) 797-9474