You've probably looked at several of the projects on our site by now, and may already have found just what you're looking for - but don't worry if you're not sure, because we will help you!
Our goal is to put the right people in the right places - you have skills, interests and experience; the projects have needs. Our role is to make the right match so that we create a `win-win' situation for volunteers and communities.
And how do we do that? To start with, by exchanging information - with you and with our local partners . which begins from the moment you fill in a registration!
1. FREE registration - and it doesn't commit you to anything!
You can complete your registration with just the bare essentials if you like, but the more you tell us at this stage, the more efficiently we'll be able to move towards a well-matched skill share placement for you. Your skills and experience are obviously going to be very important in creating the right match for you - so don't be shy! And we mean any and all skills and experience - this isn't just about professional qualifications!
All the information you provide is treated with respect and is held in confidence. Read More.
2. an open dialogue - this is crucial: everyone needs to be able to make informed decisions, so good communication is really important. At first, this will be two-way communication between you and us - the volunteer and people and places. When we have your registration, communications will begin in earnest, starting with our request for what we refer to as your `life story'.
From the very beginning in 2005, we knew that a registration form and CV wasn't going to be enough to enable us to create genuinely well-matched volunteer placements - so we have always asked each volunteer for what we refer to as their `life story' . which provides us with a far more three-dimensional idea of the volunteer and what can be achieved for the mutual benefit of the project and the volunteer.
This may sound daunting, but we'll give you guidance as to what we mean. Many of our volunteers find that they actually enjoy writing about themselves once they get started.
(We'll need more information before we can confirm your volunteer work placement: references, criminal records screening, insurance and medical details . but that will wait till later!)
3. discussing your volunteer work placement - once we have your `life story', we'll share this with our local partners and start to discuss your volunteering with them.
You'll be able to discuss information about the project, what you'll be doing, where you'll live, how to behave, what's included in the price . and probably much more besides! Talk with us, ask us questions - Read More - you can rest assured that you'll get plenty of information and honest answers from people and places! (and if in doubt, check out the independent audit here!)
We'll provide you with more background and context to the project, including previous volunteers' reports. And once we agree a skill share placement with you, we'll also put you in touch with previous volunteers so that you can talk with them about their experiences too.
When we have initial proposals for your placement, we'll check that you're happy with them too.
Final placement details are unlikely to be available until a month or two before you travel.
4. acceptance - when your placement is accepted by the project - and you agree with our proposals - you're nearly there!
We will ask you to pay a deposit to secure your placement. You can book your travel - by air, land or sea, as appropriate. For some projects, flights are included - please check with us.
And at least 6-8 weeks before your placement, we'll put you in touch with our local partners too - direct communication will help iron out any remaining questions.
5. invoicing and payment - finally, after all that preparation, we'll need to ask for final payment. We'll send invoices at least 8 weeks before your travel date for you to pay 6 weeks before you arrive.
That's it - you're really on your way!
If you decide not to volunteer with people and places, and to travel with another volunteer abroad organisation, please remember to ask plenty of questions! Making volunteering more ethical, responsible and sustainable will only happen if we all work at it from all sides! Read More.