Frequently Asked
Questions

Though our program model intends to be as simple and straightforward as possible, we realize that those seeking assistance or looking to volunteer likely have questions. Below we try to summarize the questions that most commonly come to our attention. If the answer to your specific question is not addressed below, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@neighborbrigade.org.

Requesting Help

I don’t live in a town that currently has a chapter, but I do live next to a chapter. Are that chapter’s volunteers available to help me?

Our chapters are community-specific meaning that we do not ask volunteers from one community to cross town lines to provide services in a neighboring community. This is to prevent burn-out among a chapter’s volunteer base and to facilitate a secondary aspect of our mission– strengthening each community’s informal network of support. Our ultimate goal is to have chapters in every Massachusetts town.


Do your chapters offer financial assistance?

Our program model focuses on recruiting volunteers who contribute their time to help individuals and families experiencing a crisis manage day-to-day tasks such as meal preparation, rides to follow up healthcare and light household errands.  Please visit our Additional Resources page for potential sources of financial assistance.


I have a friend who would benefit from your organization’s help. What do I do?

Please connect them to your chapter leader via phone or email. You may also encourage them to complete our online Help Request form or do so for them.  If completing on behalf of someone else, please indicate so in the “Notes” section of the form and specify who the best contact person is for follow up purposes.


Do you screen your volunteers?

All Neighbor Brigade volunteers are required to fill out a volunteer application, are cross-referenced against the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information database as well as the Sexual Offender Record Information, and provide two references that are then checked by our chapter leaders.


Volunteering

I have passed a CORI check with another organization, do I need to redo one for Neighbor Brigade?

Every organization is legally required to have their own CORI policy, a set of standards on which a CORI check is based. Just because someone clears CORI with one organization does not mean he or she will necessarily pass a CORI check with another. Most organizations have a similar set of standards so it it is very likely that if you passed theirs, you will pass ours, but by law we need to do our own CORI check.


My teenager is looking to fulfill his/her community service hours as a Neighbor Brigade volunteer. Who would sign off on his/her participation?

Neighbor Brigade volunteers must be 18 years of age to volunteer independently with the organization. We do, however, encourage families to consider working together to prepare a meal or walk a recipients dog together, however the registered volunteer(s) within a family must be at least 18 years of age. If families work together to fulfill requests, your chapter leader is authorized to sign off on community service notification forms as needed.


Are Neighbor Brigade volunteers insured in any way?

Our volunteers are covered while working on behalf of Neighbor Brigade. Our policy provides general liability and professional liability as well as auto liability and property damage coverage in the event of an accident.


Starting a Chapter

How do I start a chapter?

The first step is to determine whether being a chapter leader is right for you. Please visit our Volunteer page for a brief description of that role.  If the answer is “yes!”, we outline the basic steps involved in getting a new chapter up and running on our Start a Chapter page.


Can I help start a chapter but not sign on as its full-time chapter leader?

We ask that anyone who starts a chapter or joins the organization as a chapter leader be willing to make a two year commitment to that chapter’s management.


Is it expensive to start a chapter?

Neighbor Brigade absorbs any costs associated with establishing a new chapter. We make our proprietary chapter management software available to our chapters free of charge. We assist with mailings to help spread the word and provide a variety of marketing/outreach materials to help you promote the chapter.