The South Madison Coalition of the Elderly dedicated to the independence of older adults

Volunteer Opportunities

Welcome to the South Madison Coalition of the Elderly Volunteer Opportunities page!

Volunteers are at the core of some of our most important programs. As our volunteer, you help frail and limited income older adults to have a decent quality of life, and remain safely independent--in their own homes as much as possible.

Volunteering with older adults is a two-way street! You have the satisfaction of providing a real service, while at the same time you get to know interesting people you might otherwise never meet. The preferences and abilities of the volunteer and the specific needs of the older adult are always taken into account in the assignment process. Volunteers must complete an application, provide positive references, and for most positions, they undergo a criminal background check.

Below are descriptions of our volunteer needs. If you are interested or have questions, call the South Madison Coalition of the Elderly at 251-8405 or email us at See our volunteer application here. You are welcome to print it, fill it out and send it to us, or attach to your email.

Volunteer Representative Payee and Guardian Programs

Our Volunteer Guardians and Representative Payees serve Dane County residents age 60 and over who are unable to manage their own affairs, due to such conditions as advanced dementia or chronic mental illness, and who have no family members or friends able to act as a guardian or representative payee. The program recruits, trains, and provides ongoing support to volunteers willing to serve as payees or legal guardians for older adults in need. These programs are supervised by our Associate Director of Programs.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Volunteer Representative Payees?

Our Volunteer Rep Payees help Dane County residents age 60 and over who struggle to manage the money they receive from Social Security. You will help them pay their bills and manage their finances. You will need about 4 hours a month to work with this older adult.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?

There are two types of guardians, and a person can serve as one or both. Each type has different responsibilities:

  1. A guardian for a person visits the person regularly, makes decisions regarding care such as the place of residence and medical needs, maintains regular contact with caregivers, acts to ensure that the person is receiving optimal care, and reports annually to the court on the person's welfare.
  2. A guardian for an estate receives and manages all income and assets on the person's behalf, pays all bills for care and other need, and makes an annual financial accounting to the court.

Who Can Serve as a Guardian?

A guardian must be a caring adult in good physical and mental health. He or she should possess good verbal and bookkeeping skills and have a desire to advocate for the rights and needs of another person. The guardian should be able to volunteer three to six hours per month, and serve for a minimum of two years.

What is Not Required of a Guardian?

Guardians do not personally provide care or financial support to the person for whom they are responsible. They are not personally liable for acts committed by that person. Guardians are exempt from civil liability for decisions they make on behalf of that person, provided the decisions are reasonable and made in good faith.

Home Chore Volunteer Program

Our Home Chore Volunteer Program was developed in 1986 to assist frail, limited income older adults with basic household chores, in order to help them remain independent and in their own homes. Since that first year the program has grown to include not only individual volunteers but also groups from businesses and other organizations that are interested in doing a volunteer project for and with older adults. During the academic year,the program is supplemented by Badger Volunteers--teams of UW students who are recruited by the UW Morgridge Center for Public Service.

What Are Things a Home Chore Volunteer Might Do?

Our Home Chore Volunteers help older adults with housework such as cleaning floors, washing dishes, doing laundry and taking out garbage. At the same time, they provide the older adult with some friendly social contact. Occasionally, our volunteers do minor home repairs or garden work.

"This is great for anyone who wants to give back to the community and make a friend. I was glad to help someone do what they needed to stay independent. We chose this program because it was flexible enough to work with our schedules." -- former Home Chore volunteer

How Do I Apply to Become a Home Chore Volunteer?

Volunteers will be given a job description and asked to complete an application. The process will include an interview by the Home Chore Coordinator with the purpose of discussing the interests and needs of the volunteer, the requirements of the position, and administrative details. The Home Chore Volunteer Program places volunteers in the homes of older adults. In order to ensure quality service and protect the older adults we serve, the Coalitions will check references along with the criminal history of each applicant.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Senior Dining Assistant

If you have a few free hours during the week day, come join us as we serve meals to older adults. Volunteers will assist with food prep, home deliver meals, serving meals, cleaning up afterward and visiting with the older adults attending the program.

Board and Committee Members

The coalition is always looking for individuals to serve as a member of our Board of Directors and Committee Members. We are looking for individual who are concern about the need of older adults in our community and who have about three hours every month to help set direction and policies for the coalition in the future.

For more information on any of these opportunties, call 251-8405 or email us at