Get Involved by Volunteering

ACHA volunteers are the backbone of our organization – our mission keepers and our message. By becoming involved with ACHA, you are helping us achieve the goals outlined in Vision 2025 and supporting our mission of improving and extending the lives of the millions born with heart defects. Help us educate the world about congenital heart disease, and make a difference today! To learn more, read about our volunteer opportunities below:

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Ready to get started? Here’s how!

Click on the volunteer areas and opportunities below to learn more about the ways you can volunteer with ACHA.

Complete and submit the Volunteer Interest Form and Agreement

Once you have submitted the above form, you’ll be contacted by the appropriate staff member about volunteer opportunities and needs based on your interests. Please be advised that some roles may require additional training or requirements to be completed before you may serve in the role.

Opportunities for individuals, students or community groups wishing to volunteer to fulfill requirements for community service hours, school projects, etc. also exist depending on location. If you would like to discuss volunteer opportunities or have questions related to the program, please contact the Membership & Volunteer Coordinator at msharpe@achaheart.org for more information.


Outreach

There are an estimated 1.5 million adults living in the U.S. with CHD yet less than 10% are in appropriate cardiac care. Volunteers are incredibly important to help us reach those lost to care, in the wrong care or approaching transition to adult care. There are many ways volunteers can help spread the word about ACHA and the importance of lifelong, appropriate cardiac care. Initiatives include establishing CHD Conversations in cities across the U.S., promoting ACHD Program Accreditation and patient involvement in hospital-associated Patient Family Advisory Councils, increasing awareness of ACHA in regional and local areas through community events and speaking engagements and providing one-on-one support to other patients and family members.

Outreach Opportunities

Coordinate a CHD Conversations Event: These events offer educational, social and networking opportunities for patients and family members. This can include short provider presentations or patient panels on specific CHD topics followed by discussion, Meet & Greets or other social events. Examples of social events include bowling nights, paint fundraisers, and outdoor hikes.  For more information on CHD Conversations and to view current events, click here. Volunteer Coordinators are needed to help plan and implement these events in cities across the U.S. or in collaboration with an ACHA staff member.

Assist with or Oversee a Community Event: One of the best ways to increase awareness about ACHA is by assisting with or overseeing a community event in your area. This includes staffing an ACHA table, answering questions about the organization, and informing people about beneficial resources or assisting an ACHA staff member with these tasks. Events can include health fairs, conferences, festivals, etc.

Be a Liaison Between ACHD Programs, the Community and ACHA: Building relationships with ACHD programs and communities across the country is vital to creating awareness for ACHA. Volunteers, especially patients, family members and friends, can be instrumental in helping ACHA to foster a positive relationship, speak to providers and community organizations about the importance of ACHA programs and accreditation and identify opportunities for ACHA to be involved in local programming, events and conferences. ACHA also encourages volunteers to join their ACHD program or hospital’s Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

Speak on Behalf of ACHA: The Speakers Bureau is an initiative comprised of patients and family members who talk about the importance of lifelong care, ACHA programming and share their personal story in their communities with various audiences. There are two opportunities available for the Speakers Bureau, which are outlined below:

  • Trained Speaker: This type of speaker is trained to speak on behalf of the organization in more formal settings, including conferences, and to medical providers or trainees, such as student health centers, primary care staff, or medical students. A presentation deck (Powerpoint) is provided to each speaker with key points about the importance of lifelong care and ACHA programs/resources.
  • Community Speaker: This is a more informal speaking opportunity for those who want to share information about CHD and ACHA in their communities to raise awareness. This can include school assemblies/events, rotary club meetings, and community organizations. Resources are available to help you tailor your talk to the intended audience.

Be a Heart to Heart Peer Mentor: Following three months of volunteer involvement with ACHA, patients and family members interested in providing peer support may apply to the Heart to Heart Program. For more information on the program, application and training for Peer Mentors, visit www.achaheart.org/h2h.

Advocacy

Political advocacy is a crucial part of ACHA’s mission to ensure that patients, family members and policymakers understand the importance of research funding and how proposed legislation can affect the CHD community. To stay up to date on upcoming advocacy events and opportunities, please email advocacy@achaheart.org to be added to our Advocacy email list. For more information on ACHA’s advocacy goals, please click here. Volunteer opportunities exist to help ACHA engage patients, family members and medical professionals in advocacy. Initiatives include participating in an in-district event and year round advocacy initiatives.

Advocacy Opportunities

Participate in ACHA’s In-District Advocacy Event: Year-round advocacy is important to continue to alert our legislators of the 2-3 million Americans with CHD.  This can be done close to your home by participating in ACHA’s In-District Event, which is a way to share your story, advocate for issues important to the CHD community and teach others about the importance of advocacy.

Build Relationships with Legislators: Advocacy is more than just a once or twice a year initiative. We want to build relationships with legislators at the local, state and federal level but we can’t do it alone. You can help ACHA accomplish this by writing your elected officials throughout the year about potential legislation that can adversely affect CHD patients, inviting them to CHD specific events, such as a Walk for 1 in 100 or ACHA volunteer fundraiser, and sharing your story at other opportunities as they arise.

 

Education

A key part of ACHA’s mission is education, which currently includes webinars, regional and national conferences, and print/PDF resources. ACHA is continually looking to expand its educational resource offerings by utilizing the skills and experiences of patients, family members, friends and providers. Individuals have the opportunity to assist our Senior Education Manager with development of educational resources in both electronic and print form on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, living with CHD, mental health, transition to adult care, and patient empowerment.

Education Opportunities

Lead a Specific Education Project: In this role, an individual develops an outline for the resource, collaborates with the resource writers, compiles all information into one document, completes initial edits and provides progress reports to Senior Education Manager.

Be a Resource Writer: Assist with development of educational resources by being a resource writer for a particular topic or section of a proposed resource. Education, training or experience in a specific field is very beneficial for these resources. As an example, for a mental health resource, a background in social work or psychotherapy would be helpful.

Research: Often, development of educational resources may need someone to help with identifying additional resources and information that can be provided to the project lead for inclusion. Opportunities may also exist outside of resource development depending on organizational needs.

Peer Review Completed Documents: Prior to staff and medical professional review, educational resources undergo a peer review by patients and family members for feedback depending on the type of resource.

 

Online & Social Media

Never underestimate the power of your online voice! The internet and various social media channels offer a unique opportunity to be involved from the comfort of your home while making a lasting impact for ACHA. Our new online community offers multiple ways to communicate, collaborate and connect with ACHA members all across the U.S. 

Online Opportunities

Be a Social Influencer: Frequently sharing ACHA’s social media posts from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram helps the organization reach more people. Simple tasks like changing your profile picture, sharing your story and tagging ACHA and creating Facebook fundraisers make a huge difference with a small amount of effort.

Serve as an Online Community Moderator: Our new Online Community is organized into specific subtopics for easier navigation by our members. Online Community Moderators help to keep this private space safe for our members and work closely with ACHA staff regarding any issues.  Community Moderators may also provide resources and guidance to members. For more information on Moderator responsibilities, please contact Misty Sharpe at msharpe@achaheart.org.

Blog for ACHA: HeartTalk: A Way of Life Blog is by patients, family members and friends to help educate the community about CHD. Bloggers write on a variety of topics that are important to them throughout the year and are featured on our website and social media accounts.

Walk for 1 in 100

The Walk for 1 in 100 series takes place in select cities across the U.S. Opportunities exist to serve on a walk committee and volunteer on the day of the walk. Individuals can also choose to host a virtual walk in their city. For more information on the Walk for 1 in 100 program, visit www.walk1in100.org.

Walk for 1 in 100 Opportunities

Chair: Walk Chairs, with ACHA event staff, oversee the execution of a successful event from start to finish including: committee development, local sponsorship, recruitment, marketing, finance, entertainment, food/beverage acquisition, and event operations.

Co-Chair: This position supports the chair and ACHA event staff, in the execution of the successful event from start to finish. They fill in for the chair in their absence and continue to help with committee development, local sponsorship, recruitment, marketing, finance, entertainment, food/beverage acquisition, and event operations. Ideally this person would take on the chair position for the following walk event.

Logistics Chair: In this role the volunteer focuses on day of event and event logistics in partnership with the event staff. This volunteer ensures completion of park permits, event materials, food, vendors and walk day volunteers with ACHA event staff. This position operates to ensure a great walk day experience.

Marketing/Outreach Chair: In this leadership role the volunteer identifies media opportunities and reaches out to help promote the walk for 1 in 100. This may include editorial or media sponsorship and potentially live television or radio interviews. All types of media should be targeted including TV, radio, newspapers, community publications, social media and blogs

Sponsorship Chair: In this role the sponsorship chair is the “networker” of the committee and well connected in the community. This role requires a strong communicator with the knowledge of local businesses to identify new sponsorship opportunities. 

Team Recruitment/Retention Chair: In this role the volunteer recruits new teams to the event and retains returning teams. With ACHA event staff, this volunteer helps share best practices of fundraising, establishes strong relationships with team captains, and maintains constant communication with participants.

Mission Chair: The volunteer in this role keeps the mission of the Adult Congenital Heart Association and its association with the Walk for 1 in 100 at the forefront of the planning process. They identify areas that the mission could be highlighted prior and during walk day.

Event Day Volunteer:  Volunteers are needed on the day of our Walks to ensure a smooth, successful event from start to finish. Opportunities include assisting with set-up, registration, parking, activity management, clean-up and other tasks as needed. If you or your community group are interested in volunteering for one of our walks, please email events@achaheart.org.

Special Events & Regional Opportunities 

Outside of the above, ACHA has additional opportunities where volunteers can assist the organization, which include benefits, regional/national conferences, and other regional initiatives under the direction of one of our Regional Development Leaders.

Special Events & Regional Opportunities

Benefits & Third Party Fundraising: ACHA hosts fundraising benefits in select cities across the U.S. each year. Individuals can assist with planning these events in a variety of ways. We also welcome individuals to host a third-party fundraiser for ACHA. Our Development Team will serve as a support and ACHA will assist in promoting the event to our membership. For more information on third-party fundraisers, click here.

Volunteer Councils & Regional Initiatives: Based on your location, there may be opportunities specific to your region as identified by a Regional Development Leader (RDL). You may also have the opportunity to serve on a Regional Volunteer Council to lead volunteer efforts and initiatives following at least three months of volunteer service with ACHA. To read more about the RDLs and regional initiatives, click here.

Regional & National Conferences: Regional Conferences are held four times a year in select cities which may need volunteers to assist with various aspects of planning and day of implementation. ACHA’s National Conference is held every three years and volunteers are needed to assist with planning, promotion, and participation in panels and/or sessions.