Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to the most common questions we get asked.
What does indiGO Volunteers do exactly?
indiGO Volunteers is an online platform that helps connect volunteers and projects around the world. We provide volunteers with a list of amazing projects abroad on our website, outlining the skills they require and the relevant contact details. This enables the volunteer to search through and match themselves with a suitable volunteering placement and arrange their trip directly with the project. By helping connect the volunteers and projects, we are also giving the projects a chance to gain the volunteering support they otherwise may not have had.
Why do you not charge money but other companies do?
We operate so neither the volunteer nor the projects are charged any money. To provide our service, we firstly find projects, meet them to ensure they have the right goals and fit our criteria, and then list them on this website. The costs in doing this are relatively low and have either come out of our own pockets or from donations to the charity. By providing the volunteer with all the projects’ contact details they can contact them directly and organise the volunteering placement themselves. This means we do not need an office filled with staff answering phones. We also have very low costs. For example we are predominately run by volunteers and we do not spend money on marketing.
What will it cost me to volunteer?
Our charity’s values are to make volunteering as cheap as possible, therefore we do not charge a fee for our services. However you will need to pay your own personal expenses, such as for your own flights and accommodation. Accommodation fees will vary from project to project.
But going through a company that charges a fee means I will be safer, right?
This is a common misconception. Organising a volunteering placement with a company who charge a fee does not necessarily mean your safety will be enhanced. Whether you go through an organisation or arrange a placement directly, any trip to a foreign country has its own risks. Some projects have more support on the ground and are are more ‘first-time-volunteering’ friendly. Safety is extremely important to us and we recommend that you travel with the highest degree of caution. The project you volunteer with should discuss safety with you. If you are concerned about your safety it is advised you discuss this with your chosen project and resolve any concerns before you leave. Please read indiGO Volunteers disclaimer for more information.
Surely going through a company that charges a fee means I will have a lot less hassle and stuff to organise?
We cannot speak on behalf of every company that charges, however in the main part, what you are paying for does not consist of anything that anyone cannot do themselves. If you organise your own volunteering placement, the biggest challenge that takes a lot of time and effort is finding a suitable project. This is exactly the information we provide! Other than this, the additional elements a company that charges a fee may do for you aren’t usually that time consuming or difficult. In fact, we believe there are great benefits to organising your placement directly with the project. You have the control and can choose which project to work on according to your skill set. And you are able to build a relationship with people who work on the project and ensure you have mutual goals before you leave, which can truly enhance your volunteering experience.
I have not volunteered before, what should I be aware of?
Volunteering is one of the most wonderful things you can ever do. It can also be quite unpredictable, especially when volunteering in a foreign country. For this reason we recommend that if you have not volunteered or travelled in a foreign country before, you should take advice from those who have. Use the projects as a source of support where possible. Ask yourself if you’ve travelled to that country or a similar one before? What challenges did you face? Any potentially ‘unpredictable’ elements with volunteering are typically the same as when you travel. Where possible, we recommend that you travel with those who have traveled before and ideally those who have volunteered abroad before also.
How are you funded?
We started and developed indiGO Volunteers as a fully operational charity with our own savings. We have been able to grow through people kindly donating to us. Co-founder & COO Benjamin Western is also working on a program that will enable us to be self-sustainable and not rely on donations in the future. But for now, we receive donations from friends, family, strangers and people who are very happy with how we have helped them. We also raise money from events and challenges- check out our blog or donation page for more information on these!
Have more questions? Feel free to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to do our best and answer them 🙂