How do I know IVI is a legitimate Organisation?

Involvement Volunteers Association Inc is a Government registered, Not-For-Profit organisation established in 1989 with Australian Business Number 61 226 364 141.  This can be verified by contacting the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) in Australia. Outside Australia, contact an Australian embassy or consulate.

Over the years, we’ve placed thousands of volunteers overseas successfully.   We are more than happy to put you in contact with recent volunteers upon request. Please feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss any queries or concerns you may have.  You can also check out our Facebook site to see real customer interaction.

Why are IVI fees less than other organisations?

As a non profit organisation profit is not a main motivator for us.  We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to participate in quality life changing experiences at an affordable price. 

The application fee goes to IVI to cover the costs involved in creating and maintaining the programs including inspection costs, marketing and administration.  The program fee goes directly to our in country partner organization who’s job is to look after you and ensure you receive a high quality, unforgettable experience.

Why do I have to pay to volunteer?

IVI is a self-sustainable non-profit organization. To accomplish the mission of IVI, to fight global poverty with sustainable development programs, we train and recruit impassioned volunteers to travel to underdeveloped countries to serve as human capital for poverty-alleviation efforts. IVI is as big or as small as the volunteer base that signs up for the teams each year. Although some outside funding and grants are used throughout the year to run the organization, the volunteer program fees are how the organization sustains itself. 

IVI charges a program fee in order to fund our projects in our areas of operation and to run the organization at large. This cost may be paid out of pocket or through fundraising. Program fees go towards  project costs, housing and food, volunteer support, insurance, volunteer trainings and handbooks, promotional items, domestic overhead, etc. When you pay a program fee, you are facilitating impact around the world, as every location costs the same for volunteers but not the same to run on the ground. Your donations are bigger than just the one location you will work at during your program. All that IVI is able to accomplish is because of the support of the wonderful participants each year. 

Will I have support while volunteering?

Absolutely!  You will have a dedicated volunteer manager assigned to your booking from the time you enquire to the time you return home.  You will have dedicated in country assistance on all programs.  Our in country staff are specialists in volunteer operations and have heaps of valuable information to share.  

You’ll receive a farewell departure pack which includes all the relevant information pre-departure such as contact details, addresses, transfer information, local customs, culture and much more.  Once in country, for most programs you’ll also receive a detailed operations guide with more detailed localized information.  Alternatively, you can contact IVI in Australia, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the world.  Volunteers should be able to travel independently and not expect to be guided all the time however.

Why pay to volunteer?

Fees are required in return for the service of developing placements and creating and coordinating an individual program. IVI is a not-for-profit organisation, and the funding of all IVI activities is covered by a contribution received from the participating volunteer. The fees you pay cover the costs involved in creating and maintaining an organised and safe program for you to engage in meaningful volunteer work overseas.

If you do not want to pay any money to be a volunteer, that is understandable. You can always organise things by yourself from home and as you travel. Of course, it is difficult to find trustworthy contacts in a foreign country when you have limited time and money. Most people will find it a more cost effective and fulfilling experience to have a program arranged by IVI before they depart, rather than to hope for the best as they go.

Can IVI assist in fundraising?

GoGetFunding is a Crowd funding site which offers a simple and professional online fundraising solution to help fund a portion of your trip or even a donation toward your chosen project.  Simply create a fundraising page to share your story via social media platforms such as facebook & twitter. If you use the above link, our logo will be displayed in your profile to help us share our message through your social network community.  IVI receives no direct financial benefits.  GoGetFunding simply take a cut (eg. 4%) of all funds donated.  The rest goes to you!

How many other volunteers will be with me?

This depends on program type and time of year.   The 2 types of programs are Home Stay or Volunteer Center.  In a home stay, you’ll typically have your own room or shared room in a house with up to 4 other volunteers and the host family.  You’ll commute out to the project site daily where you’ll meet up with other volunteers participating in the same program.   The number of volunteers at each project site is normally between 2-5 maximum.   In a Volunteer Center, you’ll be sharing a house dorm style with 20+ other volunteers.  You’ll commute out to the project sites daily normally in teams of 2-5.

While the volunteer center is inherently, a more social experience, for the home stay placements, we provide either a central hub for volunteers to connect or a regular BBQ get together.  For example, in Fiji the IVI Country Manager hosts a BBQ every fortnight where all volunteers meet to eat drink and enjoy the friendly Fijian hospitality.

Can I volunteer in more than one country?

Yes. You may volunteer in as many countries as you wish.   The US$275 application fee is a one off and covers multiple countries at the time of booking.

Are there any age restrictions for participants?

No. While many volunteers have just finished high school or university, people of all ages are valued. We have had volunteers as young as 16, however written parental consent (such as a letter) is required if under 18. Most importantly, a volunteer needs to be self sufficient, independent, and be able to travel alone in a foreign country. Certain placements have a lower limit of 21, and this is specified where applicable. To date, our oldest volunteer was 75; we are happy to accept mature individuals for our programs.

Do I need a police check or working with children certificate?

In placements involving the care and education of children, volunteers are required to provide a Police Records Clearance. Please allow time for your Police Records Clearance to be processed. In fact, you would be well advised to organise your Police Records Clearance today, so that you can send a copy to us for it to be sent by us to your Host, and take the Original with you so that you can produce it if required.

Can I go with my friends, partner or spouse?

Yes. You can specify that you want a program devised for more than one person.   We can provide a discount of between $50 – $100 p/person if travelling together.  Ask us when you apply.

Can we volunteer in a group?

Certainly.  Over the years, IVI has placed hundreds of volunteer groups from corporate team building to universities, church groups and schools.  We can tailor most programs and offer group discounts as well.  Volunteering in a group is amazing as it really maximises the impact which can be made in a short period of time.  For more information, visit our groups page.

How far in advance do I need to apply for a program?

You can apply at any time, however to ensure we have availability it’s recommended to book at least 3-6 months prior to departure. Too confirm your spot, we take a deposit of US$275 with the balance paid 33 days prior to departure.

Do I need specific Experience?

Placements requiring specific skills and/or experience are generally included in the specialist program categories.

Is travel insurance included?

Travel insurance is mandatory for all programs, however we do not provide this coverage within the application or program fees.  For the best travel insurance deals, Check this out. 

Does IVI provide a letter of reference upon completion?

A Certificate of Completion is provided to all volunteers.  This is normally emailed to you approx 1 month after your return home.   The completion certificate outlines the program and dates volunteered.  If you require a letter of reference we are more than happy to provide for you upon request.