Frequently Asked Questions
You can find helpful information among these commonly asked questions by prospective volunteers!
If you don’t find what you are looking for, please contact us.
Where can I volunteer?
We offer projects in more than 100 countries around the world! You will find that most of our projects are offered in Europe, Asia, Africa, Haiti and the USA. We do offer some projects in Central and South America, but international voluntary service is still developing in this region of the world and we are constantly establishing new partners and projects in this region. Check back often and search our Volunteer Project List to explore all the projects that we are currently offering! Still not sure where to go then check out our Where Will You Go? page and get ready to feel inspired!
When are the volunteer projects?
Most of our projects (about 80%) occur between May and September which is the busy season for VFP and our partner organizations, however, we do offer some projects all year long. We encourage you to inquire about what is available during your time frame. Our staff is available to help you find the project that best fits your needs!
How long can I be a volunteer?
Most of our projects are short-term projects (2-3 weeks). We also offer medium-term volunteer projects (MTV) that are 1-3 months, and long-term volunteer projects (LTV). See our Where Will You Go? page for more detailed information about each project type.
Can I still participate if I don’t live in the U.S.?
VFP can only place American citizens and US residents on our projects. If you are not an American citizen or a U.S. resident you must apply to our projects through our partner organization in your home country. Partner Organizations have their own registration process and fees, but usually offer the same projects as VFP! Please contact us if you have questions!
How much does it cost?
For adult volunteers (ages 18 and up), the registration fee is $500 ($650 for those under 18), regardless of the length of your program. The registration fee includes the placement process, food, accommodation, leadership, and work materials during the project. Some projects, especially those in developing countries, have an additional fee payable on arrival to help subsidize the cost of the program for our partner organization. Volunteers arrange and pay for their own transportation for the project.
Do I need to know a foreign language to participate?
English is the spoken language in the majority of projects, unless otherwise stated in the project description. There are some projects that are specifically designed to enhance language skills for a specific language like German or Italian, in which case some previous knowledge may be required.
What type of work will I be doing?
You pick the type of volunteer work you want to do! Projects can incorporate many types of work because the theme arises from the needs of the local community. Some work themes include construction, renovation, environment, agriculture, archaeology, historic preservation, teaching, working with children, campaign awareness like AIDS/HIV education, and working with vulnerable populations such as the the elderly and mentally or physically disabled.
What are the accommodations like?
Living conditions vary greatly from project to project. Generally, 10-20 people from four or more countries are housed in a community building like a school, church or community center with separate accommodation for male and female volunteers. Living arrangements are generally cooperative, like a family, with volunteers coordinating and sharing the day-to-day activities such as food preparation and cleaning. Most accommodations are rustic and require volunteers to bring a sleeping bag and mat. Longer volunteer experiences are usually less rustic and may include a home-stay or a dormitory style situation.
How do I find transportation to my project?
Transportation costs are not included in the registration fee. Volunteers are responsible for arranging and funding the transportation needed to get to the project location. A detailed information sheet is sent to all accepted volunteers no later than 1 month prior to the project start date which includes directions to the project meeting point where all volunteers will travel to the project location together.
Can I volunteer with a friend or spouse?
Yes, absolutely! Please list the name of the person you would like to volunteer with on your registration form. Projects are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. VFP and our partner organizations aim to keep projects as diverse as possible. Therefore, usually no more than 2 volunteers from the same country will be placed in a project together. We recommend registering well in advance if you want to be placed together!
Do you offer group projects?
We sure do! Contact us, our staff is standing by to help you create a unique volunteer experience specifically tailored to address the academic or social needs of your group. We are happy to work with and place school groups (High School and College), church groups, professional groups, or even families that may be looking for an unforgettable family experience. Don’t wait, give us a call today to get started!
Do you offer a Gap-Year experience?
We are happy to help students looking to volunteer for up to a year in-between your studies. We can organize volunteer projects in multiple different countries to create and immersive and diverse year of learning and giving back for young students. Give us a call to get started!
Can I fundraise for my trip?
Great question, yes you can, we encourage that you do, and there are so many possibilities! Here are a few methods that have worked for VFP volunteers in the past.
- Contact Rotary International: Many Rotary Club chapters will support your international experience if you contact them and give a short presentation before and after your volunteer project. Find a Rotary Club near you and give it a shot! Let us know if you want brochures or posters to go along with your presentation, or if you’d like to speak with someone who has done this in the past.
- Ask your friends and family to donate for a worthy cause: Sometimes all you have to do is ask! Who knew that fundraising was so easy? Rely on your personal network and community to support your ambitions and be sure to send them pictures and stories when you return. These contributions can be tax-deductible for the donor if they make a targeted donation to VFP in your name – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
- Set up a matching donor system: Find a family member or organization who is willing to match the dollar amount you raise from others! This is a great way to show initiative and double the impact of small donations from other friends and family.
- Organize a fundraising event: Go with the good ol’ fashioned car wash, bottle drive, bake sale, or benefit dinner – and make it about more than just you! Raise money to bring clean water to Haiti or bring a donation to the school you’ll help build in Kenya, as well as for your project and trip costs!
Is there insurance provided?
Coverage is provided for accidents at most, but not all, projects abroad. For additional information please visit our Volunteer Resources page.
How do VFP’s partner organizations work?
All projects abroad are managed by our partner organizations abroad. VFP places our volunteers on projects through our partners. In exchange VFP receives foreign volunteers from our partners to work on projects that VFP organizes in the United States. In other words, VFP only exchanges volunteers with our partners. No money is ever exchanged, just the hard work of our dedicated volunteers!
Can I receive college credit for a volunteer project?
If you are already a student, the simplest way is to arrange an “independent study” through a willing professor/sponsor at your own school.