Preparing for Volunteering
When you volunteer through Indigo Volunteers you are supporting grass-roots, small organisations who really need your help and expertise. Volunteering is a wonderful experience which does require planning, researching and preparing for. So we thought we would help you out by providing information on preparing for your trip and different sites to research. As you go through your journey with us we will be giving you information on ways to take care of your self, things to pack and ways to prepare.
Once Indigo matches you with a project, you will be able to contact the coordinator of the potential project. This is not an offering of a placement but an introduction to a team that has reviewed your application and expressed interest in you.
At this stage, it is important you find out what work the project does and what you would be doing to decide if this suits both the project and yourself. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding the work, the commitment and the logistics of your stay eg accommodation, local and international transport, what to pack, budgeting, general expectations, code of conduct and welfare. You can even ask to speak to a previous volunteer from the project, to get a better understanding of what to expect.
Indigo may match you with up to five projects in order to give you options. It is vital to respond to each match to either confirm or decline your interest. The projects we support have finite resources and are spread thin so please be respectful of their time by responding to them. If none of your matches are successful or you would like even more options, please don’t hesitate to email us. If you would like advice on which placement to accept, should you be offered more than one, we are always available to advise you.
Below you can find some general information however this can differ from project to project so you should still ask about specifics.
The best way to prepare for your volunteering experience with us is to take time to get some training before you leave. Indigo Volunteers has partnered with The Human Hive to provide both online and in person training which has been specifically designed for people supporting vulnerable people in grass roots projects.
This training will give you tools to manage the trauma you may encounter in the people you work with, teach you how to use your skills effectively to include others in your activities and give you a supervised real world experience before you leave home.
Cost with Indigo discount code: £32.50 + £6.40 (VAT) = £39
Read more about this on our training page
When volunteering throughIndigo you are expected to be self-funded in terms of flights, accommodation and living expenses. Please be aware that projects are unable to financially support you. We recommend you budget around £70 per week, excluding accommodation, but of course this depends on your lifestyle (eating out, going for coffee/drinks, going on trips, shopping, etc.). It also depends on your project location, but it hopefully gives you an idea.
Some projects may offer volunteer housing at a subsidised price or they will recommend to you accommodation previous volunteers have stayed at. Depending on the project, there may be special conditions for long-term volunteers (1+ month). We suggest you do not book accommodation before you know which project you will be supporting.
To ensure the process runs smoothly, you will be expected to stay in regular communication with indigo and the project we match you with. This includes letting us know whether you have decided to come volunteer or not, and if we matched you with more than one project, which project you will volunteer with. Please find out more about behavioural expectations under ‘Volunteer Guidance’.
Welfare and tips on looking after yourself
When volunteering it’s important to take care of your own health and well-being. You may be affected by what you experience during your volunteering placement. It is important to pay extra attention to your own well-being, meaning you’re physically and mentally fit to help others. We suggest you read the following two page sheet to help you before you go to prepare for your volunteer placement > view here
General destination information
Travel publishers like the LONELY PLANET or ROUGH GUIDE are a great source of information about the location of your volunteer placement, especially if you’re based in a city. Check out a few examples below:
Join our Facebook Group dedicated to volunteering: The Volunteer Hub