Hotline volunteers return calls from people who request the TEA Fund's help paying for an abortion.
We strive to return all calls within 24 hours. Our phone system is voicemail only (no one ever answers the phone live), so callers must leave a message in order to receive a callback.
Volunteers sign up for one shift every 4-6 weeks based on their own availability. Most hotline volunteers have a full-time job or are students, and we accommodate everyone's schedules. We do not require vocational experience or education in any particular field, although any kind of social services training will definitely be useful.
A typical hotline shift takes about 4-6 hours, depending on the volunteer's pace and how many calls came in that day. Some volunteers may schedule their shift for a day off from school or work, when they can return calls throughout the day. Some volunteers just return all the calls at once when they get home from work, or during the block of time they have allotted.
All volunteers are trained to use our online case management system and participate in at least one live shift with an experienced volunteer before they are scheduled for a shift on their own. Volunteers return calls from their own telephones and we encourage all volunteers to use *67 to restrict their number—this helps route any subsequent contact from the caller to that day's current volunteer.
Volunteers ask each caller a few questions about their situation, their appointment, how much money they have, and how much they need. Volunteers also explain how our funding process works.
Each volunteer is allotted a certain dollar amount to disburse throughout their shift, and is provided with guidelines for doing that in the most equitable way possible. However it has so far been impossible to help everyone who calls us. We receive an average of 25 calls per day, and of those we are able to help 3-4 people with financial assistance for their procedure.
After the volunteer interviews the caller and makes a funding decision, the volunteer sends the paperwork to the clinic and updates our case management system. At the end of the hotline shift, the volunteer files an online report detailing everything that happened during the shift.
Our Client Services Director is available for questions from hotline volunteers throughout every shift. We could not do what we do without the help of our amazing hotline volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years. If you are interested in learning more about being a hotline volunteer, let us know.