All member organisations comply with all five of the following criteria. Details of how each individual organisation meets the criteria will be made available on their own website. This page expands on each of the points in a more general way, giving examples of how organisations’ standards are measured.
- » CLEAR AND HONEST PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND THOROUGH VOLUNTEER PREPARATION
- » IN COUNTRY SUPPORT AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
- » 100% VOLUNTEER EXPENSES COVERED ON THE GROUND
- » MINIMUM “LOCAL INVESTMENT” LEVEL
- » LONG TERM COMMITMENT TO THE PROJECT (MINIMUM 3 YEARS)
Organisations give clear, comprehensive and honest descriptions of their projects. They also have an appropriate selection, preparation and training programme for volunteers before departure.
- Marketing and promotional material will have honest and detailed information on their project. This may include photos of the location, a history of the project itself, examples of a typical working day, how a volunteer’s input fits into the overall project vision, transparent explanation of where their money goes, clear details of the type of accommodation and level of support available whilst at the project.
- Volunteers should have the opportunity to speak with returned volunteers from their specific project, or from a similar project if the project they are going to is new.
- Application and selection procedure must be relevant and appropriate to the placement. If certain skills or competencies are needed in the volunteer, organisations should ensure that the volunteers have these skills (with a detailed application form and/or references from relevant referees and/or an interview and/or a selection course). Volunteers will always have personal contact with the organisation prior to a placement being confirmed, that may be through a telephone interview, face to face interview or a selection course. This is to ensure the volunteer is fully aware of what they are committing to.
- Following confirmation of a place, volunteers must receive a full briefing and preparation pack, with practical information (flights, insurance, recommended kit etc.) as well as further details on how best to prepare for their placement. If appropriate, organisations will also provide pre departure training courses.
Volunteers receive constant support and regular communication while on site at their project.
- On arrival, volunteers will receive a full in country orientation, reiterating the information already provided and covering practical, work related and health and safety issues.
- Volunteers will also have a dedicated on site contact for their project work, ensuring their time is well managed and they are able to turn to someone if they have any doubts. Depending on the length of time the volunteer is committing to, this may be someone they work with all day every day, or may be someone who coordinates the work. It could be a member of staff employed by the placement organisation or the host organisation. In either case, it must be someone the volunteer can call on at any time in case of issues.
- Further to this, volunteers will have in country support in case of injury or other emergencies. This may be the same person as their project work contact, or can be another contact who will be on call for them throughout their placement.
- Volunteers will also be made aware of the ability to contact the placement organisation at any time during their time overseas. The organisation will arrange regular communication to ensure feedback can be given throughout. This will also be an opportunity for the organisation to give ongoing cultural orientation to the volunteer, to help ensure the impact on the community from their presence is a positive one.
Organisations ensure that 100% of volunteer expenses on site (food, accommodation, transport) are covered by their placement fee.
- It will be made clear to the volunteer and the host organisation that no financial demand will be made on the host organisation to cover the cost of the volunteer’s stay. This will include all food, project related transport and accommodation, and will be covered by the payment made by the volunteer to the organisation.
- Organisations will also ensure that, wherever possible, the payment for these services (food, accommodation, transport) gives direct benefit to the host community. Food should be bought locally, locally owned accommodation should be used etc.
Organisations provide a minimum level of investment into the project itself above and beyond the volunteer’s time and work. This can be in the form of finance, resources or training.
- A percentage of the payment by the volunteer will go directly to the ongoing support of the project they are working on. In some cases this will be in the form of financial support, but may also be in the form of resources (materials, staff etc.) or training or advocacy. This percentage will be made clear to both the volunteer and the host organisation.
Organisations have a direct relationship with the host project or community, and develop the project in joint communication with their project partners.
- Organisations will not operate their projects through agents, there will be a direct link between the organisation and every one of their partner projects.
- Development of the project will be a collaborative process, with both the placement organisation and the local project involved in planning the short, medium and long term vision for the project, and the volunteers’ involvement in it.
- Organisations will show a long term commitment to their project partnerships, with a minimum of three year partnerships in their planning (demonstrated by existing and previous projects)