At Frontier we know it's not just a matter of spending your hard-earned cash; it's also about knowing where it goes. With us, you can see where your money is going and what you're getting for it, every step of the way. Whichever project you decide to go on, your contribution will be going towards both overseas and UK expenses. But it's not enough just to know that! So we've given you a quick breakdown of what you'll be getting for your money. Please remember this is a general outline but every project is different so please refer to the relevant project webpage for more detail.
From beginning to end, we ensure that you're getting the best out of your project and your money is having the greatest impact. Every project is assessed thoroughly, to make sure you are getting exactly what you sign up for. For more information about project security, read Why pay to volunteer? We spend the time to make sure all our projects are just right, and continuously check that our projects are giving consistent results, and quality experiences.
When you pay your project costs, there is only a percentage that you'll see in physical terms. As a not for profit organisation, Frontier can pass on the remainder of that fee to the project – to see how this benefits them, see Where does my money go?
On many of our projects, you'll be met from the airport by an in-country Frontier representative, dependent on your arrival date – so don't forget to check before you leave! They'll take you to your accommodation, and may be able to take you back to the airport once you've finished your project. So no need to worry! However, this isn't for all of our projects, so make sure you check what's included first.
If you've decided on a project that has several locations, you still don't need to worry! The majority of these projects include internal transfers as well – you'll be transported to these destinations as long as they're on the project itinerary (self-arranged travel either side of your project will need alternative arrangement); whether you're trekking across a continent on an ethical trail, or orientating yourself in the country's capital before going on to the village in which you'll be volunteering, you'll usually be provided with transport; make sure you check the project details to be sure what internal transfers are covered.
Sometimes, you might need to stop off for the night as part of your project. Your local Frontier or partner organisation staff will arrange a hostel for you overnight, and collect you the following day, giving you the chance to sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere without the anxiety. Again, don't forget to check your project details to be absolutely sure what in-transit accommodation is covered.
While you're on the project, you'll be provided with accommodation. This will have the standard amenities such as shelter, water and latrines, but it can occasionally very basic. This doesn't mean it's uncomfortable by any means – staying in a tent on the African savannah has its bonuses! The type of accommodation varies, from tent to hostel to homestay. It's not a good idea to choose a project with tented accommodation if you hate camping!
On the majority of our projects, you'll be provided with food, although some are self-catered. This varies a great deal according to what you're doing and where you are. On our group projects most of the meals consist of beans, rice or noodles and fresh vegetables and fruit, prepared by the volunteers. On our partner projects, meals may be provided by the homestay family or hostel you're staying in. This is usually local produce and specialities, so be prepared for some new and exciting dishes!
Whatever you're doing and wherever you're going, Frontier staff make it their mission to provide you with as much information as possible. We try to keep all our information as up-to-date as possible, and your volunteer co-ordinator works hard to keep you up to speed with events and changes!
If you're taking part on one of our group research projects you'll be offered a place on the briefing weekend. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to learn all about your project and the vital work it does, and bond with your fellow volunteers. The briefing weekend includes project specific briefings, health and safety talks, discussions on what kit to take, BTEC training and team building activities.
If you've chosen a teaching project then sign up for our new BTEC Advanced Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and take part in an intensive weekend training course designed to help you complete this unique qualification, and make the most of your teaching experience. Not only are these training days jam-packed with essential information and advice but they are also a great way to get some initial practice and swap ideas with other volunteers.
When you've arrived at your project, you'll usually be given orientation to help you get on your feet! This could include more information on the project or partner organisation, details of your daily activities and schedule, an introduction to the local culture, a short history of the area, a cooking lesson using the local delicacies or a quick brush up on basic language skills, all to make you feel at home.
We have representatives on the ground in every country we work in. You'll receive full contact details for your local coordinator prior to departure and they will be your first point of call for any advice and support you may need throughout your placement. These contacts are there to make sure you have what you need to make the most of your experience, and to provide essential assistance in case of emergency.
There is also international HQ back-up at all times, so you have contacts in the UK too! The UK emergency line is available 24 hours a day so that there will always be a friendly voice at the end of the line should you need any urgent help for any reason during your project. It also means there is an emergency point of contact for any parent back home that needs to get in touch.
Many of our projects also offer you some brilliant qualifications at no extra cost!
A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate usually puts you out of pocket by around £200, but with many of our teaching and community development projects, you can get it for free. Alternatively, for £260 you can sign up for our new and exclusive, internationally recognised, BTEC Advanced Certificate in Teaching English as Foreign Language, a level 3 qualification which is accredited by the examining board Edexcel and includes an intensive and informative training weekend.
You can also get your Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) whilst you're volunteering, worth an extra 70 UCAS points, for just £50.
A PADI dive qualification up to Advanced Open Water is available on almost all our marine conservation programmes for free too – even for beginners!
Our unique BTEC qualifications in Tropical Habitat Conservation and Expedition Management are also available for just £260, and add spice and depth to your CV.
Frontier is not for profit, which means that all profits must be feed back to maintain existing projects and introduce new ones. To be able to do this, some of the fees must go towards covering our staff and operational costs in the field and in our small London HQ, including the costs of maintaining the website, giving presentations to schools and universities and our other marketing activities. Without this, many of these worthwhile causes would not get the international support they deserve. To see a breakdown of these costs, visit Where does my money go?
Our priority is to make sure that the volunteer is getting the best deal, without a detrimental effect to the project.