Our volunteers help developing world delivery organizations grow and maximize their impact to needy people, by leaving a meaningful legacy through a passion-connected, personalized volunteer service opportunity!
VOLUNTEERING with HFI: HOW IT WORKS
So you want to have a personalized opportunity to serve with a delivery organization that connects with your passion and leverages your seasoned professional expertise – right?
Do any of these sound like you?:
- participated in past group mission trips where everyone became a painter or dramatist. While you felt like you contributed in a small way to the organization’s mandate, you never got a chance to do something unique for them and leave your personal mark
- too busy with work and life responsibilities to break away from the day to day and do something significant that ignites your passion
- don’t know where to start to find an organization that is serving other people that you are passionate about and at the same time would invite you to be a part of their team and apply your professional business or technical skills, after all…
⇒ there are so many organizations out there – how do you choose the right one? Who do you know you could trust?
⇒ how can you have a safe experience with all the trouble going on in some of the most needy places in the world today?
- not prepared to become a full-time missionary or take on a longer-term volunteer role overseas but you don’t think its possible to find a shorter-term opportunity that would still leave a meaningful impact
- You know there has to be more than just having a successful professional career. You’d love to “give back” using the resources and expertise you’ve built through the years but you’re not quite sure how best to do that?
- You would like follow your heart, your passion to help alleviate suffering and help make life better for marginalized people groups in developing parts of the world but you’re not sure you have what it takes
- A sense you could do more to walk out your faith in practical ways, especially in the more needy places in the world
- You want to expand your circle of influence in the world and leave a lasting legacy that leverages the resources and expertise you have worked hard to build over the years
- You would love to spend some quality time mentoring a young leader who could actually become a thought leader within their organization, community and even their country as it develops. To pass along the leadership learning’s that you’ve gained over your career.
- We’ve been on similar group missions and know how it feels upon your return that you wish you could have done more, added more personal value, and have the sense of longer-lasting results
- We know it’s difficult to take that leap of faith to commit to taking on an overseas volunteer posting
- We understand your desire to make a difference by leaving a personal legacy and expand your influence as a Christian professional – our team has been there in our own career and faith journeys.
- We’ve placed people for 5 years
- We have the delivery partner relationships
- We’ve done the vetting of each opportunity and partner
- We do the matching for you, ensuring that your personalized volunteer opportunity for service aligns with your specific passion, professional skills and experience.
- We do the planning and preparation to ensure your stay is safe and comfortable, your impact on the organization is maximized and your overall experience is amazing and life changing – for you and the communities your volunteer service reaches!
LET’S BUILD A PLAN TOGETHER…
- Apply – fill in our application for volunteers. Let us know if one of our posted opportunities interests you or tell us about what you are great at as a professional , what you are passionate about to serve and to whom, and where in the world would you prefer to serve. One of our Opportunity Coordinators will follow-up and lead you through the next steps
- Match – One of our Volunteer Coordinators will ensure that your skills and experience and your service passion are a perfect match to a role looking to be filled by one of our partners who is looking for someone with exactly your skills and are passionate about a cause that they are working hard to deliver to.
- Prepare – Once your application receives final approval by our Review Council, one of our Logistics Coordinators will work with you in regards to fund raising, travel arrangements to/from the city where the hosting partner is operating, local living and transport arrangements, medical insurance, etc. so that your posting will be worry-free! They also oversee setting formal agreements in place between the hosting Partner, the Posted Volunteer and HFI so that understanding and expectations are in alignment and all parties are committed to the mutual success of their joint endeavors.
- GO! –Once you arrive in your hosting partner’s operating city, you are met by their local contact who helps you settle in to your accommodations and introduce you to the team you’ll be working as a volunteer with. You serve out the mandate of the posted volunteer role and then wrap up and fly back home. You are fully debriefed by your Logistic Coordinator who helps you wrap up your posting account and helps you create and post your story of posting service on our Story Wall!
with existing Partners
To the volunteer business/technical professional we bring:
- Experience – coaching and opportunity vetting:
- Partner organization validation – ensure volunteered skills match & onsite assignment feasible
- Volunteer qualification and expectation level-setting
- Connection and Matching:
- Business / Technical Professional talent base in Canada
- Pre-defined opportunities with Christian delivery organizations in the developing world
- Superior personalized service experience options: tailoring and customization vs. “cookie cutter” opportunities with larger volunteer team service “missions”
- Channel to become a fund raiser of receipt-able donations in support of HFI’s:
- Expenses to post sanctioned volunteers in service opportunities with qualified donee delivery partners; or
- Sanctioned project costs within a service opportunity or with a qualified donee delivery partner
- Non-denominational, Christian faith-based status
- Posting lifecycle cover:
- Pre-trip planning and readiness support; post-trip re-entry support and lessons learned capture
- Travel and living expense funds management and accountability over course of service opportunity / project
- Coordinate escalated issues and support any on-field conflict resolution
Business/Technical Professionals interested in an overseas volunteer assignment through Hands and Feet International – do you check these boxes?
- Canadian, English or French speaking
- Christian-based values and worldview
- Business/Technical Professional
- Accomplished and seasoned in field of expertise, skills, know-how.
- Able to take time away from job, or retired
- Able and willing to mentor and coach leaders
- Service mindset, mature, solid track record
- Looking for sense of fulfillment, adventure, giving back
- Wanting to leave legacy through contribution of talents, skills and abilities
- Cross-cultural capable, adaptable, lower-needs individual
- Overseas travel ready ( in good state of health, necessary documents in place )
- Willing to fund raise to cover volunteer service posting costs
If you can say “yes” to all the above statements, then why not consider applying for one of our existing Opportunities or, if none of them match your skills/experience/location/development interest, then bring forward your own Personalized Service Opportunity and have it reviewed by our team! Although we cannot guarantee a match, we will do our utmost to find an opportunity to put your unique skills and passion to work in serving one of our qualified delivery partners.
FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
- Medical Fitness:
- Are you physically fit and free of medical conditions or disabilities, including chronic anxiety & depression that could limit your activities and/or prevent you from travelling or performing the volunteer services you are interested in applying for?
- Timing of Application process:
- may take from 3-4 months to move through candidate review & approval, partner readiness and travel arrangement processes.
- What should I be prepared for as far as the on-site work experience:
- the opportunity to work in a diverse and multicultural team, may be intense and very demanding at times, will always be a dynamic working environment;
- living and working abroad within developing nations can be stressful and challenging, and the work may not be heroic, but it will certainly be rewarding.
- note: To hear about volunteer experiences directly – see our Story Wall from past posted volunteers.
- Working hours:
- Working hours vary considerably depending on the posted opportunity, role and partner; but generally average, two days off per week. Work can frequently be hectic and you may be required to put in longer hours. However, time is normally set aside for rest and relaxation.
- Living conditions:
- living conditions are generally basic. In some situations shared facilities may be required, which can have an impact on privacy. Volunteers need to be tolerant and flexible and possess solid interpersonal skills. The ability and willingness to interact with people of all nationalities and cultures are critical for a successful posting experience.
- Experience in developing countries:
- We understand that not every applicant may have had the opportunity to travel to or visit a developing country before wanting to serve in a volunteer posting with HFI, but since HFI works mostly in developing countries, previous work or travel experience in countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, or in remote areas such as the Canadian North, is essential.
- Ability to manage stress:
- Serving as a posted volunteer can often subject the volunteer to chaotic and volatile situations and where needs of the people you are trying to help seem to be endless and overwhelming. Assignments may carry heavy workloads from time to time with high pressure to respond, leading to increased stress for the volunteer. Volunteers undertaking longer postings must be able to cope with being away from home and family for an extended period in a difficult and unpredictable environment.
- Situations can change quickly in the field, and role descriptions may need to change accordingly. Team composition and working environments may also change during postings. Flexibility and adaptability are critical to one’s success on an HFI volunteer posting.
- Acting as trainer, mentor and coach:
- The willingness and ability to train, coach and mentor others is a core expectation of HFI volunteers. Although one key aspect of HFI volunteer postings is to provide partner organizations technical/business resources where such skills and experience are scarce, building the capacity of national staff to become less dependent on outside intervention is an important goal in all HFI postings. In particular, growing leadership competencies with other nationals within the partner’s team is the second key expectation for all HFI volunteers. This means that the focus is on both delivering excellent service in the role through application of skills and knowhow, and teaching others how to do the same role while developing in their leadership capabilities.
- What if I get sick:
- HFI will arrange and cover you for health insurance while on assignment. These insurance costs will be mandatory within your overall posting expense budget. Coverage includes evacuation and repatriation if required. Maximums do apply (see * travel insurance program and coverage details *)
- Spouse accompaniment:
- We encourage volunteers to consider bringing their spouse in situations where postings are of extended duration (i.e. 3-6 months).
- While the work is generally intense and includes long hours, having you spouse with you provides an opportunity to share in the rewarding experience as well as a travel partner on days off to do some travel and exploration within the culture and surrounding areas.
- All accompanying spouse’s travel and living costs are to the personal account of the volunteer and these expenses are non-receipt able under CRA guidelines.
- In rare circumstances, a spouse with professional business/technical skills may also be in demand with the same partner and special arrangements can be made to sanction a joint service volunteer posting with the same delivery partner in the same location.
- HFI volunteer opportunity postings may involve living and working in insecure environments. While it is impossible to exclude all risks, our security briefings, plans, guidelines and protocols have been designed to manage risks and are part of every pre-departure orientation and briefing.
- Personal Reflection and Expectation Setting:
- As you consider your suitability to undertake an HFI volunteer posting, it is critical that you bring a well-informed and realistic understanding to your decision
- Do you have the patience to work with national coworkers and other leaders that may lack the deep experience and business maturity that you’ve attained to? Are you prepared to accept that there may be frustrating communication breakdowns that occur during cross cultural interactions?
- Are you open-minded and creative when facing unexpected problems?
- Do you have constructive and readily available means of coping with stress, anxiety and frustration?
- Are you prepared to compromise some of your personal freedom in order to comply with necessary security protocols that will be required to maintain your safety in some postings?
- Are you honest about your own motivation for seeking to volunteer and serve on an HFI posting and realistic in your expectations of what it will be like?
- Are you prepared to overcome such challenges in order to experience a posting that is deeply rewarding, even life-changing? Are you prepared to be the practical hands and feet of Jesus Christ extended, to serve an organization who is serving people in need through acts of Christian compassion?
- Volunteer sees HFI opportunity on Social Media or hf-I.ca site
- Volunteer wishes to apply:
– agrees with Statement of Faith, Statement of Christian Conduct and Practice
– fills in on-line application form, or downloads application form and emails completed form back
- Application pre-screened by HFI Opportunity Coordinator (OC)
- Application approved/declined by HFI Opportunity Review Committee (ORC)
- OC confirms Opportunity Filled with Partner
- Posting Budget drafted with help from HFI Logistics Coordinator (LC)
- Posting Budget Sanctioned & Funding Account Opened by LC
- Volunteer Raises Funds for Opportunity on behalf of HFI per Posting Budget
- Travel & Living Arrangements made for Posting with help from LC
- Volunteer Posting Agreement and Release signed
- Pre-departure prepping and briefing of Volunteer by LC and OC
- Volunteer deployed on Posting
- Volunteer submits T&L expenses for reimbursement; reimbursed per budget and expense reimbursement policy
- Volunteer submits progress update reports (per month) to LC
- LC reviews reports, actions any issues and posts updates to Story Wall (linked to social media profiles)
- Partner check-ins with LC monthly to ensure volunteer service delivery on-track
- Volunteer returns from Posting and is debriefed, final expenses reimbursement and funding account closed out.
- Sponsoring Partner is debriefed
- Volunteer writes their story and posts to Story Wall
- Posting Lessons Learned from Volunteer & Partner reviewed & actioned by ORC
Note: HFI reserves the right to accept or decline any application according to its specific needs and mandates. All decisions of HFI are final. You will be kept informed appropriately and in a timely manner throughout the application process. We will review your information per the application form and consider you for the applied for opportunity posting and inform of any appropriate next steps during our applicant / opportunity review cycle.