Dear Group Leaders,
Thank you for your efforts in leading your team of volunteers. Your position is critical to your team having a successful experience with Outreach360; we sincerely appreciate your efforts! Below are some suggestions/requests we have:
Volunteer Guide/Volunteer Questions:
- Please fully review each of the Volunteer Guide sections on the right side of this page. Please ask each member of your team to read them as well, and to also review them with their family. Sometimes families have more questions and concerns than the volunteers. When families are well informed, it will reduce the questions/inquiries coming from them directly to you.
- Thank you for fielding those questions from volunteers and their families. Please contact us if you need any help answering those questions.
- Trip Logistics Status:
- The people registered on your team and the donations received can all be seen on your team page.
- To see donations received for each volunteer, you can look at their individual fund-raising page, or send us a request for an excel spreadsheet with that information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ground Transportation – Thank you for taking care of arrangements for your local ground transportation to and from your local airport.
- Flights – Please read the Volunteer Guide Travel Details section. Confirm with the person making your flight arrangements the correct airport, arrival and departure times, etc. We’ve had more than one team mistakenly make their reservations into Santo Domingo instead of Santiago. Please make sure to email us a copy of your team’s flight information to volunteer@outreach360 at least 30 days prior to your trip. Note that the ground transportation is included in your program donation for your team provided you all arrive and depart together during the specified times; there may be additional ground transportation charges if your team arrives or departs on separate flights. If you plan/desire to arrive or depart on days other than Saturday, please let us know as soon as possible, and before purchasing your tickets. We can then confirm the availability of sleeping space and transportation.
- Funds – Your team’s program donation is due in our office 30 days prior to your trip. Please plan into the schedule whatever additional time is required for your school, church, or group to internally process the payment.
- Fund-Raising – We invite you to encourage your team to enthusiastically embrace the fund-raising portion of this trip. Your team’s volunteer hours will make a big difference on this trip, so will the funds that they raise. Fund-raising can also be a great team builder. We encourage you to set a high fund-raising goal; funds raised beyond your minimum program donation will go to the Outreach360 general fund to be used for important projects. Each volunteer will receive a personal fund-raising page on our web site; the team will also have a page. Donations made on the individual’s page will roll up to the team total; donations made on the team page will not roll back to the individual. Outreach360 will only be concerned that you meet or exceed the team minimum program donation; we will not be focused on individual pages. Note that donors will only receive a tax deduction from Outreach360 if the check or credit card donation is made directly to Outreach360; another good reason to use the Outreach360 provided fund-raising pages.
- Donations – The communities where you will be working are very poor. There is a list of many needed donations in our Volunteer Guide. We ask that volunteers put their personal items in their carry-on, and reserve their checked luggage for donated items. A great team builder is to focus on doing a “drive” for one or two specific items. Some suggested items are good quality new or used shoes, peanut butter and jelly, school backpacks, movie DVD’s, baseball gloves, school logo tee-shirts, Spanish children’s books, soap and other health items, and jeans. Note that shipping items to the Dominican Republic is expensive; donated items may need to be prioritized with excess items going to a local charity at home.
- Volunteer Registrations – Please have your team members sign up on your team page as soon as possible; the cut-off date for volunteer registration is 30 days prior to the trip. 30 days prior to the trip is considered a “frozen zone” – if a volunteer needs to cancel within this period of time, we will credit his/her program donation toward a future trip, but we request that there be no late substitutions. It is important that we have 30 days to fully prepare for your trip, and that each volunteer has at least 30 days to also prepare.
- Medical Precautions – Please make sure to review the medical precautions noted in the Volunteer Guide.
- Communications Contact – We ask that you be the primary contact between Outreach360 and your team. This includes copying and forwarding any information/emails to faculty advisors or program coordinators that may not be registered through our website and are not going on the volunteer trip.
- Specific Communication Issues – Please make sure that your volunteers and their families are aware of the following items:
- Telephone Access – We will provide a phone for each volunteer to call home with a “got here safe” message within 24 hours of arriving, not necessarily the instant you arrive. After the “got here safe” message, we ask that all phones (both O360 and personal) be put away for the remainder of the week (phones will be available in the event of an emergency). Please make sure that family members don’t expect a daily phone call, and that they know the plan for the team’s return. Limited internet access will only be available for volunteers staying more than one week.
- Dress Code – Please make sure your team is aware of the Outreach360 dress code.
- Pre-Trip Orientation Guide – Outreach360 has developed a pre-trip curriculum that you and your team can use to prepare for your service experience. This is a five week curriculum that provides a deep understanding of Outreach360’s mission and vision, the foundations of development work, and how volunteers help Outreach360 achieve our mission. Download
- Attitude – Your role in your team having a successful experience is critical. We ask that you fully embrace the nature of these trips – that they are unpredictable trips to a developing country, that some things will go great, some things won’t go so great, and a trip will never go completely according to plan. Your team will feed off your energy – if you show disappointment, frustration, etc, your team will adopt that energy. We ask that you quickly share any concerns your have with the O360 Team Leader on-site, and we will work to address those concerns as best we can.
- Leader vs Chaperone – We ask that you be an active leader on the trip, and not just a chaperone. Unlike some volunteer programs, we don’t have a “chaperone” position at Outreach360. Active participation in all activities is requested. Your team can use and will appreciate your active support and guidance. And your full participation makes for a better overall experience for you and your team. We ask that you please help to make sure your team is at meals on time, ready for programs on-time, respects quiet-time rules, and follows the different guidelines we have in place to ensure a successful trip for all volunteers. We like to consider you an extension of the Outreach360 in-country staff.
- Obligations at Home – We ask that you delegate any obligations back home during the time you are with us in order to ensure a complete immersion in this volunteer experience. If there are commitments back home that can not be delegated where you will need internet and/or phone access at specific times, please communicate those to us prior to the trip so we can help facilitate meeting those commitments. Note that internet access can be intermittent, so people on the other end should know you may be unconnected during the expected meeting time.
- Other Teams – There will likely be other teams volunteering with us at the same time your team is. A significant side-benefit of the trip is the opportunity to network with other groups and their leaders. We encourage your team to welcome other teams, and to promote some interchange. We’ll help with some ice breakers, etc. Your team will be able to maintain it’s own identity by working together, eating together, and having your own reflection time.
- Post Trip Re-entry – Re-entry to home life can sometimes we difficult for volunteers, even after just a one week trip. We will provide a closing the night prior to your team leaving to help your team members process the trip, but you might want to have a get-together scheduled sometime after you get home to fully complete the trip.
- Sharing with Others – People in your network: Family, friends, school, church, or workplace are interested in how your experience was. It’s great to schedule a post-trip presentation with them.
- The Chain – The Outreach360 volunteer program is built on volunteers joining us week after week, year after year. We encourage you to set up plans for your team to join us in the future.
- On-Going Involvement – Once your team has been with us and seen the need, a natural follow-on is to stay involved financially. We encourage your team to become an on-going supporter of Outreach360 by becoming a Hero Fund donor. Individual families could be involved, or the team could take on a post-trip fund-raiser.