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What Questions Should I Ask My Program?

We believe that the quality of international volunteer programs is based on a great many factors. When researching programs, you should consider asking questions such as the ones listed below in addition to your own concerns.

You should also visit our complete list of IVPA Principles and Practices, as well as our current membership list.

Staff

  1. How many full-time staff members do you employ? With how many of these people will I come into contact during my program?

  2. What are the roles of the full-time staff positions at the program where I will be volunteering?

  3. Are the full-time employees part of your organization or do they work for another organization?

  4. During a typical day, how often will I be with a staff member of your organization? 

  5. Will I have a bilingual staff member on-site and available to me in person at all times?

Accommodation

  1. How and how often is the accommodation selected and monitored?

  2. What type of security is in place overnight?

Contact

  1. How will my friends and family contact me if there is an emergency at home? 

  2. How will I contact my friends and family if I have an emergency during my program?

  3. Is a 24 hour emergency number provided? To whom does this number connect?

Organization

  1. How long has the organization been conducting programs?

  2. How many people do you send each year? How often will I see those people?

  3. All of the organizations listed on this website are approved by the IVPA as upholding the IVPA's stringent Principles and Practices, which includes making publicly available detailed information about how program fees are used. You might want to study this information to decide whether or not you approve of how funds are spent. (if it is a nonprofit, these are publicly available, including through the website www.guidestar.org)

  4. Does the organization hold current and adequate domestic and foreign liability insurance?

  5. Does the organization have an operating manual and universal crisis management plan that is available to all staff?