Frequently Asked Questions
About Village Volunteers
- When was Village Volunteers established?
- Is Village Volunteers a registered non-profit?
- What is the philosophy behind Village Volunteers?
- Is Village Volunteers just a volunteer organization?
- Who are Village Volunteers’ partner organizations?
- How does Village Volunteers select its partner organizations?
- Does Village Volunteers give out grants?
- Does Village Volunteers accept in-kind donations for the partner organizations?
- How can I donate to Village Volunteers?
Volunteer Placement Program
- How will you determine my volunteer placement?
- I don’t feel I have any skills. How can I make a difference?
- What types of projects do you have available?
- Will I have a specific placement for my volunteer work?
- How can I learn more about volunteering in Kenya, Ghana, India, or Nepal?
- What is your age policy?
- What is your conduct and dress code policy?
- Is travel health insurance required?
- Do you welcome volunteers who are not from the US?
- What is your language policy?
- What is your deposit refund policy?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- How far in advance do I need to apply for a program?
- Once I have been accepted as a volunteer, how long do I have to submit my deposit?
- What kind of orientation is offered before my departure?
- Where are the Travel Preparation Documents?
- Why am I paying to volunteer?
- How do the VV partner organizations benefit?
- What is not included in the volunteer program fee?
- When is my final payment due?
- Is the volunteer program fee tax-deductible?
- How much money should I bring with me?
- I have more questions.
About Village Volunteers
Village Volunteers was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in October 2003.
Yes, Village Volunteers is registered as a 501(c)(3) public charity with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, EIN 20-0342079. Village Volunteers is also registered in Washington State as a nonprofit corporation, UBI #602-334-972.
Village Volunteers was founded in the belief that partnership is a key factor in the renewal and healing of areas plagued by poverty and disease. Committed to preserving autonomy and cultural heritage, Village Volunteers works in collaboration with village non-governmental and community-based organizations to support the achievement of their goals and objectives by integrating international volunteerism, sustainable community development projects, and program assistance.
No, Village Volunteers is much more than an organization that provides volunteer opportunities overseas. The mission of Village Volunteers – to work in partnership with rural village and capacity-building programs to support the development of sustainable solutions to community challenges – is our pledge to the communities we serve. Village Volunteers carries out this mission and supports the work of partner organizations by:
- facilitating donations and fundraising events
- managing orphan support and educational sponsorships
- funding community development workshops – e.g. organic farming, briquetting, etc.
- providing grant writing and review services
- placing international volunteers that support a hospitality industry.
- providing access to an advisory board of experts
Village Volunteers currently partners with non-governmental and community-based organizations run by transformational leaders in Kenya, Ghana, India, Malawi and Nepal. We invite you to learn more about our partner organizations sorted by country.
We love helping volunteers find their perfect placement. Fill out our Interest Form to get started!
Village Volunteers carefully selects each of its partner organizations. Potential partners typically come through referrals and are invited to complete Village Volunteers’ partner organization application. Partners are selected based on their ethical philosophies, well-respected leadership, and sound program management. Their hospitality is to provide clean water, hot food and basic room with mosquito nets and linens.
Because Village Volunteers is not a foundation, we unfortunately do not have the resources to provide funding for individuals or non-partner organizations.
Instead, Village Volunteers facilitates donations, funds community development workshops, and provides grant writing and review services for our partner organizations. Village Volunteers operates under the belief that we can make the greatest impact by focusing our efforts on supporting the work of those organizations with which we have an established relationship.
Village Volunteers is happy to collect the following in-kind:
• medicine that has not expired
Unfortunately, Village Volunteers cannot accept used clothing, toys, or large or heavy items. Village Volunteers typically transports donated items by sending them with volunteers who are going overseas.
You can make a donation via check, draft, wire transfer, stocks, or securely online by PayPal.
Volunteer Placement Program
After you complete your application, Village Volunteers staff will work with you to identify a placement that best fits your interests and goals for your trip.
Joshua Machinga, Director of Common Ground Program, recommends the following for volunteers: “Leave your material possessions at home. You will need very little of them here. What you will need is natural curiosity, a positive attitude, plenty of patience and a willingness to help those in need.”
Regardless of your skill level, your participation in a village program will have a meaningful impact. Your very presence is treasured and valued. When you arrive in the village, the director or volunteer coordinator will work with you to identify appropriate volunteer activities. Also, some possible volunteer projects can be found in the Sustainable Village Library.
Check out our program page to learn more!
The areas in which you participate will depend on your interests, skills, abilities and the needs of the community. Even if you are a teacher or medical professional, we suggest you work in several areas to get a well rounded view of working in a village.
You will work with the director or volunteer coordinator in your village who will assist you in finding ways to contribute effectively. We ask that all volunteers be flexible and willing to pitch in where needed.
We invite you to read our blog’s Volunteer Journals. Simply click the blog tab in the main menu and select the country of your choice.
Volunteers who are 17-years-old or less must be accompanied by a parent, a legal guardian, or a person appointed by that parent or guardian and must take full responsibility. We will evaluate exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Families with small children, as young as 5-years-old, are welcome to apply and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please keep in mind that weather conditions and lack of basic facilities – such as plumbing and electricity – in some villages may be difficult for young children. Also, please note that childcare is not available for volunteers.
There is no upper age limit. Our eldest volunteer to date was 81-years-old.
Please refer to our Cultural Sensitivity Policy for our policy on conduct and attire. This document is available to you once your application and fees have been accepted.
Yes. Traveling abroad is exciting, but like life, it is uncertain. For this reason, travel health insurance is required for all volunteers. Volunteers should submit proof of travel health insurance coverage to the Village Volunteers office 3 weeks prior to departure from their home country. .
Volunteers are recommended to first check with their current health care provider to see if overseas coverage is available and what procedures one must follow if medical care is needed. travel interruption insurance is also recommended.
In addition, there are many companies that offer health coverage as part of a larger travel insurance policy. Here are a few examples:
- American Express – (for American Express card holders)
- Global Underwriters
- Seven Corners, Inc.
- STA Travel Insurance – (for students)
- Travel Protectors
- Travel Underwriters – (for Canadian citizens)
Yes. In addition to our volunteers from the US, we also have a number of volunteers from Canada, many parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand, etc.
All volunteers must be fluent in conversational English. Language guides are provided however it is unlikely that you will become fluent in a local language. While many speak English and schools are usually taught in English, interpreters are available when needed.
50% of a Volunteer Program deposit is refundable within the first month and 100% of the deposit is transferable.
If a volunteer would like to postpone his/her Volunteer Program, the deposit can be applied to a Volunteer Program that starts within 1 year of the original scheduled.
A cancellation charge of 100% of the program fee will be assessed for a cancellation (or changing to a program of shorter duration) made 21 days or less prior to the start of a Volunteer Program.
A cancellation charge of 50% of the Volunteer Program fee will be assessed for cancellations made 22 to 30 days prior to the start of a Volunteer Program.
Participants who depart a Volunteer Program early forfeit the program fee for the time not spent in the Volunteer Program. Any and all costs incurred by the volunteer, will be at the volunteer’s expense.Refunds will be processed within 14 days of Village Volunteers’ receipt of the refund request.
It is highly recommended that you apply for a program at least 60 days before your anticipated departure to ensure that space is available in the program of your choice, you have time to prepare, and you have obtained the necessary immunizations, visas and a passport.
Trips can be expedited. If you register less than 60 days prior to the desired departure date, and space is available in the village placement of your choice, then arrangements can be made. You must consider, however, the time needed for immunizations and the extra fees for expediting your passport and/or visa.
To reserve your placement, your $100 USD deposit should be submitted within 60 days of receiving your acceptance letter by email. Once your acceptance has expired, we can no longer reserve your place in our volunteer program.
If you would like to request an extension beyond 60 days, feel free to contact our team.
To thoroughly prepare you for travel, Village Volunteers provides comprehensive informational documents and personalized travel guidance, including:
- Visa, Passport and Embassy Information
- Language Guide
- Cultural Guide
- Tips for Travel Arrangements
- Travel Considerations
- Tour Guide
- Packing Guide
- Health Guide
- Local Issues
- Arrival Guide
- Sustainable Village Library
- History Guide
Travel Preparation Documents are accessed from the My Village section of our website. Before you can access the documents, you must have submitted a Volunteer Application, been accepted to our Volunteer Program, and have submitted a $100 USD deposit. Below are the instructions for reaching the Travel Preparation Documents:
- Go to My Village.
- Log in with your email address and password.
- Scroll to the Travel Preparations Documents section and select the link for the country in which you will be volunteering.
Volunteer fees assure that you have support before, during and after your volunteer experience abroad. See Why Pay to Volunteer.
Please refer to our Volunteer Abroad page to learn what your fee supports.
Please refer to our Volunteer Program Fee page for an explanation of program benefits.
Please refer to our Volunteer Program Fee page for a summary of expenses that are not covered.
After you submit your flight information to our office, you will receive an invoice for your Volunteer Program. Your final payment must be received by our office at least 3 weeks prior to your departure from your home country. If payment is not received by this time, you will not be admitted to our Volunteer Program as there will not have been adequate time to process your payment and send the funds to your volunteer destination. A $40 USD fee is assessed for late payments.
Contributions made to Village Volunteers, for humanitarian purposes, are typically tax-deductible; however, be sure to consult your tax advisor to determine any eligible tax deductions. Our US tax identification number is 20-0342079.
Please note that Village Volunteers provides tax receipt letters for contributions of $100 USD and above. For contributions totaling less than $100 USD, a receipt from PayPal or copy of a cancelled check, noting Village Volunteers’ tax identification number, are sufficient proof of a contribution.
Please also note that money paid through Village Volunteers for safaris, excursions, or other tourist activities are separate from the Volunteer Program fee.
You may want to consider changing $100 – 200 USD into the local currency prior to your departure. We do not recommend taking travelers checks. While overseas, you will have periodic access to banks and ATMs in towns and major cities.
If you think you may be interested in purchasing crafts while in the rural areas, ensure that you visit an ATM or bank prior to departing for the village. Simply notify your director, volunteer coordinator, or in-country coordinator and they will assist you in locating an ATM or bank.
Prior to departing for your Volunteer Program, be sure to notify your bank that you will be using your credit or debit card overseas. Depending on your bank and the country you are in, you may still need to call your bank to “unlock” your account, but it is always best to notify your bank in advance.
Please note that in Ghana, VISA is the most commonly accepted credit card, and only VISA debit cards will work in the ATMs. You can access funds with a MASTERCARD debit card, but you will have to enter the bank and show your passport in order to withdraw money.
If you have additional questions about the volunteer program – e.g. volunteer accommodations, how long you can volunteer, whether you need a visa, which airport you should fly to, who will meet you at the airport, or whether you will have internet access – be sure to read our specific FAQs about volunteering in Kenya, Ghana, India, or Nepal and individual program descriptions.
For more assistance, please contact our team.