Responsible volunteering

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

We are driven by the needs of the projects we support. We only offer sustainable volunteering projects where there is a genuine need for volunteers

Read about our approach to volunteering and how we ensure that everything we do is driven by ethical choices.

A responsible approach to volunteering

  • We specialise in overseas volunteering which means that, for us, there are no conflicts or distractions from any unrelated activities
  • Pod is driven by and focused on the needs of the projects we support, rather than external demands
  • We have developed long term relationships with a selection of hand-picked projects
  • We only offer sustainable volunteering projects that have lasting impact and positive impact on the local community
  • We only provide volunteers to support local staff, not to replace them
  • We only work with new projects that fit within our portfolio with the aim of providing an optimal number of volunteers rather than taking on too many projects and not filling them
  • We clearly indicate why volunteers are needed and how they can help to make a difference to the ongoing work of the project
  • Pod volunteers form part of a bigger picture of on-going project developments
  • We require all volunteers to agree to our Code of Conduct

Proactive volunteer matching and up front information

  • We help match each volunteer to the most appropriate project for them through the information we provide and our application management process
  • We undertake background checks on volunteers
  • We provide honest, clear and in-depth information before volunteers commit to a project
  • We have extensive knowledge of our projects and locations through regular project visits
  • Individuals who are not able to volunteer can still contribute to the projects we support through the Pod Charity

Support throughout the volunteering journey

  • We support volunteers throughout all stages of the volunteering journey; from finding a project to preparing for their travels and volunteering through to communication and feedback on their return
  • We provide 24/7 support for volunteers while they are overseas
  • We have a passionate, expert team of staff with overseas volunteering and travel experience
  • We arrange for volunteers to receive appropriate orientation / training for their role on arrival in-country
  • We provide past volunteer feedback and advice for future volunteers
  • We have a very active community on facebook where volunteers can connect with each other

Regular monitoring and reporting

  • We hold regular reviews with our projects to check how the project is progressing and how Pod can best support them
  • We publish feedback from our partner projects on our project pages so volunteers are confident that Pod’s support of projects is valued and beneficial
  • We ask every volunteer for feedback and have a proactive feedback review process with our partners
  • We publish independent volunteer feedback including overall volunteer ratings on our Reviews page

Honest marketing

  • We ‘tell it as it is’ in an honest and clear way to make sure volunteers are joining us with realistic expectations and are aware of the challenges
  • We are specific with our information so volunteers understand their project, location and role clearly so can find the project which is best matched to them
  • We specifically avoid poverty marketing in our photographs and wording so we don’t belittle or degrade the communities we work with

Financial transparency

  • We operate as a non-profit organisation with a linked charity giving volunteers the reassurance we are only aiming to cover our costs and not generate a profit
  • We provide clear and up to date information on how volunteer fees are used, including a breakdown of our costs

Maximising benefits and minimising impacts

Together with our partners we carefully consider the social, economic and environmental impacts of volunteers and try to put in place steps to address any negative impacts

Social

  • We encourage our volunteers to understand and respect local cultures and customs, through the information we provide and orientation sessions in-country
  • We have a Child and Vulnerable Adult’s Protection Policy in place including a code of conduct for volunteers

Economic

  • The majority of the fees paid by volunteers are spent in-country
  • We make grants to the projects we support through the Pod Charity
  • We encourage volunteers to fundraise to support the projects
  • We employ locals whenever possible in-country
  • We use local in-country organisations for any additional services we provide such as accommodation or transport

Environmental

  • We encourage volunteers to offset the carbon from their flights
  • We encourage volunteers to minimise environmental impact while overseas through our responsible travel policy

Our policies

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal