Volunteer safety is the single most important issue to Volunteer Alliance.
When most people think about volunteering, they are concerned about whether it is dangerous to travel to a new country, to start a new job, or to stay with someone that they have never met. These are all reasonable concerns.
At Volunteer Alliance we have taken all possible measures to protect our members from the potential dangers of volunteering.
Please read on for more information about the safety features we have incorporated into our community, along with our general tips on travel safety. If you think of something that is missing, please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll add it to this page.
Volunteer Alliance Safety Features
Organizations profiles include everything that you need to know to volunteer, including location, causes, skills required, accommodation and cost.
Contacting Organizations, Volunteers and Ambassadors
If, after reading the Organization profile, you still have questions, you can contact the Organization directly from their profile.
Profiles also include reviews by past Volunteers, to give you confidence in the Organization, and so you know exactly what to expect. And again, if you have more questions, you can view the Volunteers profile and contact past Volunteers directly.
You can also contact a Volunteer Alliance Ambassador. Volunteer Alliance Ambassadors are super volunteers who represent Volunteer Alliance for various regions around the world. Contact Ambassadors through Volunteer Alliance to learn about volunteering in their region or for help using Volunteer Alliance. They're here to help!
Volunteers help protect one another by leaving Reviews about their experience.
Reviews are Volunteer's rating of an Organization where they have volunteered. Reviews also include an open text field for Volunteers to explain their rating. Organizations and Volunteers cannot delete or change their reviews. We recommend that you read Volunteer Reviews and Organizations replies before your Request to Volunteer.
We encourage all Volunteers to write Reviews for one another to build transparency and trust within the community.
Volunteer Alliance’s payment system is designed to make transferring money between Volunteers and Community Based Organizations as simple and reliable as possible.
Here’s how it works:
- Volunteers pay Volunteer Alliance after an Organization sends them a Volunteering Request
In exchange for operating the Volunteer connection program and related services, Volunteer Alliance automatically includes Service Fees in each transaction.
*The Volunteer agrees that Volunteer Alliance accepts payments in the limited capacity as an agent of the payee (in most cases, the Organization) and that the transaction occurs between the Volunteer and the Organization.
**The Organization agrees that Volunteer Alliance is acting as the agent of the payee (in most cases, the Organization), and that the transaction occurs between the Volunteer and the Organization.
Money Back Guarantee
Volunteer Alliance guarantees the safety and accuracy of our organizations profiles with our 100% Money Back Guarantee.
If you Volunteer with an Community Based Organization whose profile is false or misleading, Volunteer Alliance will refund 100% of the Volunteering Request Subtotal. See our Terms for Volunteers for full details.
Arriving at an Organization
We recommend that you arrive at the Organization at least 1-2 days before you are start Volunteering. That way you can spend a night or two at a local hotel or hostel and get to know the area. You can also visit the Organization for the first time during the day and observe, before you start Volunteering. If possible you should visit the Organization with someone else.
Flag as Inappropriate
Volunteer Alliance is an organic community. If a member is using Volunteer Alliance in a way that is not consistent with our vision, mission and values, that is website abuse.
Please "flag as inappropriate" all kind of abuse to keep the Volunteer Alliance community clean and safe.
Travel Safety Tips
Most of the world is peaceful, though this can be hard to tell from the media. Nevertheless, it is very important to determine if a place you are going to is actually dangerous, how to take precautions as you go, how to avoid some basic scams and what to do if things actually do go wrong.
The things you should concern yourself with as a Volunteer are quite basic: get your pre trip health details in order before you leave (including a pre departure check up and all necessary immunizations); take some fundamental precautions while you're on the road; keep an eye out for some specific symptoms and get yourself to a doctor if you encounter any of them.
To find out if your destination is safe, start by getting the official position of the state department. But keep in mind, a country can be safe but for a single, remote border dispute.
If the political climate changes we recommend you do not travel to this location, or if you are already there you should leave immediately. The best way to do this is contact the local national embassy. The Australian embassy, Canadian embassy, New Zealand embassy, UK embassy and others should be fine, even for American citizens.
How to Avoid Being a Target
The basic trick here is to blend in, keep out of areas where you’re likely to be a target (ask a local to mark the ‘dangerous’ areas on a map), stay alert, carry your valuables securely and provide yourself with a quick exit when you need one.
Each country and city has their own common scams. The best trick is to learn some of the most common scams from a local so you know what to avoid.
If You Have Everything Stolen
This doesn't happen as much as your friends and family who haven't traveled much are going to try to convince you, but if it does act immediately and you could have everything you need within 10 days.
The first job is to file a police report and ask for a copy of the report. You will then need to present this copy at your local embassy to get a new passport.
You should call your travel insurance (reverse charge/collect call if necessary). Most good insurers accept charges and keep you on the line while they cancel your credit cards and have new ones issued.
Another option is to have a friend back home wire you money to sustain you while you get back on your feet. This will cost around $40, but money is your best friend in this scenario so it's worth it.
This should be enough to get you back on your feet as you plan your next move.
It's always a good idea to travel with insurance so we've listed a few reputable insurance comparison sites here: