American Red Cross of Iowa-Nebraska


Mission: The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world.  As a community-based humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross Iowa Region prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.  By helping people learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, the Red Cross strengthens communities and readies them for all types of disasters, including home fires, tornadoes, winter storms and health emergencies.

Location: Des Moines (56 miles from Grinnell College)

Needs: Many different avenues of service needs:

  • Communications/Marketing (volunteer recruitment, flyering, giving presentations, making calls, entering information in database, maintanence in posting on non-profit sites – as of 7-2022, ARC doesn’t have anyone currently doing this for Iowa).
  • Disaster Services (communicating with people, running shelters for disasters, being on-call and operating a phone tree to coordinate help, local deployment, national deployment is possible after serving on local level first).
  • Bio-Med (blood drive ambassadors, organizing blood drives, flyer for them, greet people)
  • Annual Event, Sound the Alarm (installing smoke alarms in houses, usually Des Moines area, especially in need of Spanish speakers).  Youth Coordinator (someone who reaches out to local universities and colleges).
  • As a Blood Donor Ambassador volunteer, you will engage donors by greeting, registering, answering questions, providing information, and supporting them through the recovery process at the refreshments table. The special attention you would provide helps create a favorable impression that encourages ongoing donor support.
  • As a Transportation Specialist volunteer, you will be the critical link between blood donors and blood recipients by delivering blood, platelets or other blood products to a hospital.  Every day people are forced from their homes due to fires, storms and other disasters. Single- and multi-family fires account for 90% of disaster responses. You can be part of a team that helps and responds to over 60,000 emergencies every year. From offering a caring and compassionate ear, to meeting the disaster-caused needs of individuals and households, such as lodging and clothing, and connecting them with long term recovery services, our volunteers ensure that families don’t have to face tough times alone.
  • If you are team-oriented and want to make a difference, please consider joining the Disaster Action Team and apply now. We supply all the training you need. During the pandemic, for the safety of you and those impacted by disaster, you will mostly respond virtually to provide compassionate and immediate care and assistance to those impacted. On occasion, a larger response may require some on-scene presence and coordination with your Disaster Action Team.
  • Shelter volunteers support the day-to-day activities within a shelter which may include working in reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information or other vital areas within a shelter.


Red Cross logo with the words "Volunteers Needed!" above three cartoon hands reaching upwardsVolunteers:

  • One-time events: Yes
  • Ongoing: Yes
  • Groups possible? Groups can take ownership of a blood drive and have their name on the event – the group is in charge of promotion (materials provided by Red Cross) and helping on the day of the event, Red Cross sends phlebotomists, mobile van, etc.


When is service needed:   year-round

Number of hours: Time commitments vary according to the area in which you choose to volunteer. Many volunteers work regular weekly or monthly shifts. Others chose to be reserve volunteers and respond only to major local disasters. Although our need for volunteers is greatest during weekdays, many evening and weekend opportunities are also available.


  • In-person: yes
  • Hybrid in-person/virtual possible: yes
  • Fully virtual possible: yes


Prerequisites: Completed online application, which includes a background check.  A screening crew will call and interview, and once this is passed, the volunteer will be placed on a volunteer team depending on their interests.

Background check required: yes

Equipment/logistics needed: Volunteers applying for in-person position assignments must be fully vaccinated. Instructions on providing information and supporting documentation of vaccination will be provided once you submit your application.  Volunteers applying for in-person position assignments must be fully vaccinated. Instructions on providing information and supporting documentation of vaccination will be provided once you submit your application.


Training supplied: Extensive training is supplied and it is all availably virtually, mostly self-paced online plus a couple of online seminars usually scheduled in the evening, offered on an on-going basis.  Red Cross has a website to track one’s training progress as well as allowing for access to a Continuing Education website for business training, leadership skills, professional writing, and more, all of which is recorded in your training progress.

Equipment or logistics supplied: All basic expenses accrued during a disaster are covered.


How to apply: Visit  Submit an application through Volunteer Connection.

Contact: Kara Kinder, Senior Volunteer Recruiter, Nebraska-Iowa Region, Kara Kinder, direct line 402-214-0898,


Operation information: 90% of the Red Cross workforce are volunteers.  The vital work of the American Red Cross is made possible by people like you who contribute their unique backgrounds, talents and skill levels. Our needs change based on current events, adding flexibility to get you involved in an area that inspires you!   More than 1,300 volunteers ensure that the Red Cross fulfills its mission. The Iowa Region serves 2.8 million people across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Kara Kinder is available to give virtual presentations on the Red Cross services and volunteering, as well.

Address: 2116 Grand Ave, Des Moines

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