Frequently Asked Questions
Before you go
What are the requirements to volunteer? What if I’ve never done this before?
To be a residential volunteer and sleep at our base you must be 18 or over. 16 and 17 year olds are welcome to join us as day volunteers providing they are accompanied by a responsible adult and are able to arrange their own accommodation. We don’t require any construction experience - just a pair of work boots and a good attitude!. Each site is supervised by a professional staff member or trained team leader to ensure that volunteers have a fun, safe, and positive experience.
Does it cost money?
Volunteering with All Hands and Hearts is completely free of charge, and we provide accommodation and meals. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for the cost of your travel both to and from the program, meals on your day(s) off, and any costs associated with taking a 3 day break each month away from program.
How do I sign up?
Visit our current list of active programs here, and once you find a program (or multiple!) that suits your fancy, follow the ‘next’ link to proceed with your application!
I’m from the local community. Can I still help?
We would love your help as a Day Volunteer! You’ll still need to apply for the appropriate program you would like to participate in, but you would join us for the day(s) you are available.
How long is a typical volunteer experience?
There is no minimum amount of time needed to volunteer with us. Most volunteers stay about 2 weeks, but many stay for less time, and many stay much longer! There is also no set start or end date, but each program has specific days of the week when they accept incoming volunteers. Please refer to the information packet you receive in your invitation to learn which days of the week your program accepts incoming volunteers. We only initially book volunteers for 2 months. There is an option to extend your time once you arrive on the program IF we have the capacity and volunteer need.
What’s the difference between a residential volunteer and a day volunteer?
Residential Volunteers (RVs) stay on our base with us for the duration of their volunteer experience. They are able to stay on base from their invited arrival date to their invited departure date (including days off) and they receive 3 meals/day for each day in the field. RVs must be at least 18 years. Day Volunteers (DVs) arrange their own accommodation, transportation, and food for the duration of their volunteer experience. Volunteers age 16 and 17 are welcome to join as Day Volunteers, provided they are joined by a guardian at least 18 years of age who will also be joining as a Day Volunteer.
Will you pick me up from the airport?
We do not arrange any airport pick up or drop off to our programs. Volunteers are responsible for their own travel to and from the program.
What do I need to know about visas?
It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain the correct visa information prior to their trip. While we’re happy to provide visa invitation letters once the applicant is confirmed, we recommend calling your local embassy for the most up to date requirements and steps to obtaining a visa.
How much money will I need to bring with me?
Consider the costs of transport to and from the program, laundry, meals on your days off and breaks every 30 days.
Do I have to go on a break every 30 days? Who funds this?
In a communal living environment, it is important that we take time away not only for physical health - but most importantly our mental health. All staff and volunteers will take a 3 day break away from the program every 30 days; all costs associated with this are funded by the individual.
Are there any health requirements?
We require volunteers to be up to date with their tetanus vaccination. As other recommendations depend on your personal circumstances you should check with a medical professional regarding all other possible vaccines and preventative medicines. We expect our volunteers to be both physically and mentally fit enough to take on physical labor in the challenging conditions of working in a disaster-affected area.
Is there any medical coverage?
All Hands and Hearts has organizational insurance, allowing all volunteers access to emergency medical coverage when volunteering outside of their country of residence. Starting in 2018, given the number of programs in the Carribean, our insurance policy extends to U.S. citizens volunteering in U.S. Territories.
Are there any Terms and Conditions?
Learn more about our Volunteer Terms and Conditions. Please read the “Hold Harmless” and “Code of Conduct” agreements carefully; by checking the boxes on your volunteer waiver, you confirm your understanding and acceptance of these terms.
On the program
What are the accommodations like?
Accommodations vary by program and the communities we are working within. They are often community center spaces, churches, or schools, and it’s communal living at its finest! Accommodation is always mixed gender housing, and there are always opportunities for functioning bathrooms and showers. Due to the communal living environment and limited residential space, we advise packing light. As soon as you apply and are confirmed, you will be emailed live information packets full of the most updated information of what to pack, what to expect, and how to get to the base you’ll be volunteering at.
What can I expect on a typical workday?
Each day depends on the scope of work that the home or school you are placed on requires. Typical tasks include mucking and gutting, mold sanitation, insulation and drywall insulation, carpentry, and painting. Don’t worry if you have never done this before - we will teach you everything you need to know when you get here! Each work day is from about 8 AM-4 PM, however these hours change depending on the needs of the program you volunteer for. After you return home from the worksite, you will have a chance to unwind, relax, and reflect on your day as a part of our nightly team meetings. Check out our day in the life video to get a feel for volunteering life.
What are days off?
Each week, there will be designated day(s) off as an opportunity for volunteers to unwind before the workweek begins. In a disaster zone, it is important to take time to reflect and process, as well as have an opportunity to build community on the base. You will be responsible for all meals on your days off, as well as transportation costs and activity fees. Volunteers will often take it as an opportunity to explore the local community.
I received an email asking if I could be a driver for the organization. Does that mean all I’ll do is drive?
Volunteers who sign up to drive are a crucial part of making sure volunteers can get to and from the work site! As a driver, you would be taking your team to and from the worksite, but you’ll also be working in the field with the rest of your team.
After the program
I loved my experience with All Hands and Hearts! What can I do next?
Join our alumni network! This resource is your space to connect and network with other alumni, take humanitarian training, find photos and blogs from other volunteers, and support All Hands and Hearts in local and global communities. We post job opportunities on the job board and announce priority sign-ups to new programs, among other alumni-only benefits!
Are there internships or employment opportunities?
For the most up-to-date employment opportunities, visit Our Careers page for a list of our current vacancies. You can also submit your cover letter and resume to the open resume submission form to be considered for future employment opportunities.
Can I get a certificate/proof of my volunteer hours?
Yes! Let your Volunteer Relations Coordinator on your program know, and we’re happy to provide proof of your volunteer hours.
Are complimentary flights available to go to the Puerto Rico program?
We are no longer offering flights to our programs in Puerto Rico at this time.
Are complimentary flights available to go to the Texas (Harvey Recovery) programs in Houston and Coastal Bend?
We are able to offer free roundtrip flights within the continental US to volunteers staying at least 2 weeks.
Are complimentary flights available to go to the South Texas Flash Flood Response Program?
We are not offering flights to our program in South Texas at this time.
Are complimentary flights available to go to the US Virgin Islands Program?
We are able to offer free roundtrip flights from eligible airports in the continental US to volunteers staying at least 2 weeks
Are complimentary flights available to go to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Program?
We are able to offer free roundtrip flights from eligible airports in the continental US to San Juan, Puerto Rico to support travel for volunteers staying at least 2 weeks. Volunteers are responsible for covering the remainder of their travel to the BVI.
Are complimentary flights available to go to the Dominica Program?
We are able to offer free roundtrip flights from eligible airports in the continental US to San Juan, Puerto Rico to support travel for volunteers staying at least 2 weeks. Volunteers are responsible for covering the remainder of their travel to Dominica.
Are complimentary flights available to go to the Mexico Program?
We are able to offer free roundtrip flights from eligible airports in the continental US to volunteers staying at least 2 weeks. Volunteers are responsible for covering the taxes for this flight.
Are complimentary flights available to go to the Nepal Program?
We are not offering flights to our program in Nepal at this time.
Am I eligible for a complimentary flight?
To be eligible for a flight, there are several requirements:
- Commit to at least 2 weeks on one of our programs in the US Virgin Islands, Mexico* or Texas
- Depart from a city in the continental U.S. that has an airport which provides flights through Southwest Airlines (As Southwest does not fly to the USVI you will need to fly to Puerto Rico, we will then book you a second flight with Cape Air) Go to https://www.southwest.com/flight/routemap_dyn.html to view the route map of where Southwest flies
- Apply for our programs via the online application (only applications submitted AFTER the launch of this promotion on April 23, 2018 are eligible for the flight voucher incentive)
How long is this promotion running for?
Our Southwest Flight Incentive is subject to availability! We will run this promotion until we no longer have any points to book flights!
Do I have to be a US citizen to be eligible to receive a flight?
To be eligible, you need to depart from a city in the continental U.S. There is no requirement to be a U.S. citizen to use this offer.
Can I get reimbursed for car travel OR if I’ve already purchased my flight?
As this incentive is only made possible through our Southwest Airline partners, we are unable to provide reimbursements for already purchased flights or for fuel/car rental costs.
How does it all work?
We are booking flights using our Southwest points. If you meet the eligibility criteria, we will contact you nearer your departure date to confirm travel details and book your flight(s).
Can I fly from any airport?
This offer is available thanks to our partnership with Southwest Airlines. We can offer flights from any airport in the continental US that Southwest flies from. As Southwest does not fly to the USVI you will need to fly to Puerto Rico, we will then book you a flight with Cape Air to take you the rest of the way.
Do I have to return to the same airport I arrived from?
To assist with our booking process, we ask that you depart and return to the same airport.
How do I arrange my flight?
To arrange your flight, you will need to complete the following:
- 1. Complete your online waiver to confirm your volunteer place
- 2. We will contact you in the run-up to your departure to confirm details and book your travel**
- 3. Once booked, we will email you your travel confirmation details
Are there any additional costs to me?
If you are applying to Mexico, you will need to pay for the flight taxes on your own, to cover the cost of your taxes we will require your payment details. As with most travel, there is the possibility of needing to stay overnight in between connecting flights. If you are required to stay overnight in San Juan, for example, you will be responsible for your expenses during this time. Our offer is strictly limited to covering the flights that we agree to provide.
I leave in 3 weeks and I still haven’t heard from anyone, what should I do?
Due to the high volume of flights that we are booking for volunteers, your flight itinerary may not be sent to you until close to your departure date. We appreciate your patience and understanding! If your expected departure date is less than one week away, please send an email to [email protected]
I have spoken with the Travel Coordinator, but I have not received my flight details, what should I do?
Your flight information will be sent to you in an email, please make sure you check both your inbox and spam folder as they do sometimes end up in there! We will prioritize those with a departure date in the immediate future, so if you are not leaving for a couple of weeks, don’t worry too much our flight details will be sent to you soon! If your flight details have not arrived and it is less than one week until your departure, please send an email to [email protected]
Ways to give
Can I give monthly?
Yes! Monthly donations help us to plan for the future. In a world where disasters are unfortunately increasingly common, recurring funding enables us to assess more communities impacted by severe weather and to commit more resources to help them onto the long road to recovery.
Will I get a receipt?
A donation receipt will be sent to you at the email address you provide on this form. Please be sure to keep a copy of your receipt for tax purposes. If you select a recurring donation, you will be sent an individual receipt each month when your donation is processed.
Is this donation tax deductible?
Yes. All Hands and Hearts is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. To claim a donation as a deduction on your U.S. taxes, please keep your email donation receipt as your official record. We'll send it to you upon successful completion of your donation.
Want to wire funds from a US bank?
Please contact [email protected]
Want to wire funds but live outside the US?
Please contact [email protected]
Want to make a stock donation?
Please contact our Finance Manager, Lori Sylvia for JP Morgan account details for stock transfers at [email protected]
Can I mail in a check donation?
Absolutely! Please mail check donations to All Hands and Hearts Smart Response ATTN: Engagement Department 6 County Road, STE 6 Mattapoisett, MA 02739
When are the donations from my fundraiser due?
We encourage All Hands and Hearts sponsors to send in their donations as soon as they are collected, but donations should be sent no later than 30 days from the time your fundraiser has ended. Please use our Mail-In Donation form.
Can I accept the bulk of the donations and write All Hands and Hearts one check?
Checks should be made out to All Hands and Hearts Smart Response, Inc., with “Your Fundraiser Name” written in the memo line. If the check is from your account, you, and not your donors, will receive a tax receipt from All Hands and Hearts.
Hosting an event
When I create a fundraising page, is my information or my donors’ information shared with anyone?
When you create a personal fundraising page, your registration information is shared with All Hands and Hearts. All Hands and Hearts will also have access to the information of people who make donations through your page (unless they donate anonymously).
How do I receive a refund for my donation?
If you made a donation by accident, or accidentally donated multiple times and would like a refund, please contact us directly at [email protected]