Becoming a Volunteer

EDYN is a network of autonomous organisations working at national and international levels that exchange volunteers. The processes described here apply to persons who wish to volunteer for service with an EDYN member as the hosting organisation.

General remarks

 
The possibility of hosting a well-motivated volunteer will be limited by external factors:

 

  • How many placements are available in regard to the number of applications for that year
  • Whether a visa can be obtained for the person wishing to volunteer
  • Whether a placement exists that fits the volunteer’s interests and language capacities
  • Whether the necessary financing for hosting the volunteer can be arranged.

 



If the prospective volunteer is resident in a country which has an EDYN member organisation:

 

 

  1. Contact the member organisation in the country and get information materials (see address list and/or brochures of member organisations)
  2. Fill out an application form. The application procedure is different from country to country. Some members require attendance at an information event first, others do not. All members ask candidates to fill out a written application and to indicate what preferences they have in regard to field of service (working with elderly, special needs, parish work, homeless, etc.) and in which countries they would be willing to volunteer.
  3. Selection interview – this usually involves a discussion of the candidate’s written application in a face-to-face interview, but in some countries where distances are great, it may be done by telephone. In many countries there will be a selection event for all those interested in volunteering in that year. Some of these events have ex-volunteers and someone from the potential hosting organisation present to give more information and to help to conduct the interview.
  4. Matching volunteer and placement - If the request is for service within the home country, the organization contacts the placement that fits the interests of the candidate. Depending on their responses, they make proposals to the candidate of possible placements. Alternatively, the volunteer may visit possible placements and speak to the placement staff. If the candidate wishes to volunteer in another country, the sending organisation discusses with the potential hosting organisation what possibilities there are for that candidate in that country. The hosting organisation then contacts the possible placements and, based upon their responses, makes an offer to the volunteer. Depending on the organisation, this may be before, during or after the selection interview. For both national and international placements, the candidate can accept or refuse the first offer. When the candidate and the hosting placement are satisfied, then the EDYN network members (the sending and hosting organisations) draw up an agreement confirming the placement, duration of service, financial arrangements, etc.
  5. Preparation and orientation – the potential volunteer takes part in a preparation event (3 to 10 days) offered by the sending organisation. There is also an orientation seminar in the hosting country for all the foreign volunteers coming in that year.

 


Process if the prospective volunteer is a resident in a country with no EDYN member organisation:

 

 

  1. Contact the member organisation in the country(ies) in which the candidate is interested in serving and ask for information.
  2. Fill out an application form. Due to the absence of a sending partner in this situation, it is very important to include references from pastors and/or church workers, or other persons who have supervised the applicant in their home country. Such letters of reference should mention the church and voluntary work the referer knows the volunteer has done, since the hosting organization has to work out the best possible placement for the volunteer. References are important to help in this process. A pastor’s certificate that the applicant is a member of the local congregation or comes from a good family and is of good moral character is not enough.
  3. Interview - After the receipt of the application form, the hosting organisation will generally try to conduct a telephone interview with the candidate, either in the language of the host country or in English if the applicant doesn’t speak the host country’s language yet.
  4. Matching candidate and placement – This is the same process as in step 4 above. The host organisation will look for a suitable placement and will communicate to the applicant the placements that would like to have them as a volunteer. If the candidate accepts, then the hosting organisation will send them information about obtaining a visa, health insurance and other things they need to do to get ready.
  5. Arrival and orientation: The volunteer will  take part in the orientation along with other international and national volunteers.

 


Advice for all candidates:

  

 

  • EDYN members give preference to applicants from countries with member organisations because they can rely on the sending partner. The sending partner has explained the programme, explored the candidate’s motivation and has experience in preparing candidates for service in another country. For a candidate who is not applying through an EDYN member, it is important, therefore, to provide the fullest possible information in writing to make up for this deficit.
  • Candidates who express interest in more than one field and more than one country have better chances of being placed because this gives the sending organisation and the possible hosting organisations more chances of finding good matches for all the candidates they have in that year.
  • An accurate statement of the potential volunteer’s existing language skill is very important. For Austria, Germany, Belgium, France and Great Britain a minimum level of knowledge of German, French or English is expected. How much fluency is required depends on the kind of placement.
  • Applications for international service should be made as soon as possible because processing an international application takes longer. Six months in advance is suggested. Since almost all programmes begin in August-September, this means an application should be submitted by end of February at the latest. (Please note: for applicants in Germany wishing to go abroad, the deadline is the end of December the previous year)

 


What does it cost an individual to volunteer?

 

 

Voluntary service is not cheap. There are the costs directly related to the individual: accommodation and food, insurance against accident, ill health and civil liability, pocket money. When someone volunteers in another country there is also the cost of travel, possible visa charges and language training. In addition to these costs there are the costs of preparation, in-term and end of service events, personal support of volunteers during their service, finding suitable placements, recruiting and interviewing volunteers, dealing with visa issues, finding funding, etc.
Each EDYN member has their own financial model to cover these costs. All ask for a participation fee of some amount but no member organisation asks a volunteer to pay the whole cost. Where a candidate is genuinely unable to pay the fee proposed, member organisations will work with the volunteer to find a solution (sponsorship by a church, subsidy by a church fund, etc.)
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