Volunteering Done Right
There’s a million and one ways to volunteer. Here at Domino Volunteers, we want to ensure that volunteering is done in safe and sustainable ways that are developed from the bottom-up and directly address projects' needs and volunteers´ skill sets. We are a registered company in Colombia, and all of our staff lives in and loves Cartagena, which makes us different than many international volunteer organizations and keeps us constantly in touch with projects.
We offer services where we have found that volunteers need most assistance in order to become competent, safe and integrated into Cartagena. This includes staying with a host family -- for a complete description of our services click here.
In order to ensure mutually positive experiences for both our volunteers and the local community, our Volunteer Programs feature the following:
We only send volunteers to organizations that request volunteer assistance and have a proven record of success with foreign volunteers.
With our network of over 35 local projects and a personalized connection process, we offer a variety of placement types, which helps ensure that a volunteer is not randomly assigned to a project but instead is matched with the most fitting pacement for their interests, skills and goals, and one where they will be appriciated, busy and needed. You can find more information on our approach here.
Because we have such a wide network of projects and volunteers working in different areas, we offer our volunteers additional ways to get involved and meet others. These include volunteer meet ups, community events, and additional volunteer opportunities to get involved in and meet others.
We provide volunteers with a variety of materials including an updated Volunteer Manual, maps and transportation information, safety & security information, and personal orientation to living in Cartagena and its culture, thus making certain that our volunteers are well prepared for working in our local communities and having a positive as well as memorable experience in Cartagena.
A Domino Volunteers team member will accompany a new volunteer throughout the entire first day at their assigned project site in order to provide an additional orientation to the organization, ensure that transportation is clear, support the volunteer understanding his/her schedule and tasks, and answer any questions or concerns. From there, we will be in contant contact with both the volunteer and the project, including sending periodic check in surveys and offering additional support when and where needed.
Lastly, our local team is available for 24/7 assistance, allowing volunteers to feel well supported with an experienced team of former volunteers and locals.
Our Approach: Shared Value
We believe in a Shared Value approach to volunteering, meaning: positive change happens when there is a mutual benefit for both the project and the volunteer. When someone comes to us who is interested in volunteering, we facilitate a connection with a project based on where the volunteer's profile is most needed and where the volunteer will most personally benefit.
Volunteers should not expect to make large, structural changes but instead will collaborate with local professionals who are already doing fantastic work while they themselves gain value from the experience: (improved Spanish, additional professional experience, increased cross-cultural awareness, etc).
¿Listo? Steps to Volunteering in Cartagena
1. Review program options
Visit our Program Areas page here to learn more about the local projects we currently work with and gain a better understanding of what areas you would like to volunteer with.
2. Contact our team
Send Domino Volunteers an email with your expected travel dates. Feel free to add any questions or concerns as well. We will respond to you promptly with further details about our services and a link to our Volunteer Interest Form.
3. Help us get to know you
Please fill out our Volunteer Interest Form as throughly as possible. The form asks about your interests, skills and experiences, and helps us to gain a better understanding of projects that would be a good match for your profile.
6. Prepare for your trip
Once you confirm with our team your travel dates and documents, we will send a Volunteer Manuel, maps and other useful information on how to prepare for your travels and tips on how to make the most of your volunteer experience. If you have any questions unaddressed in the manual, our team is more than happy to address any lasting concerns.
5. We contact our local partners and confirm your project placement
We will discuss with our 35+ local partners to determine which project would be the best fit for your profile and intended volunteer dates. We will then send you a detailed email with complete information about the project, their schedule and tasks that you would be doing. You then review this information and confirm with us that this looks like a good match for you.
6. Join our team on a call
Next, we will schedule a Skype or WhatsApp call with you. During this call, you will have the chance to learn more about our volunteer model and services, learn about possible projects we think would be a good match for your profile, talk about host family accomodation and meals, and address any additional questions or concerns.
7. Arrive to Cartagena
Now to the exciting part: it's time for your travels to Cartagena! If you are staying with a host family, one of our team members will greet you at the airport, bring you to the family and give you a full orientation to the house and city. Otherwise, if you arrange your own accomodation, we will be in touch with you to determine where to meet on your first day of volunteering.
8. It's time to volunteer!
Now that you’ve landed in Cartagena and are settled into your homestay, the next step left is to start volunteering with your assigned local project. A Domino Volunteers team member will accompany you on your first day of volunteering, ensuring that the start to your volunteer experience is smooth and enjoyable.
9. Continued Support
Domino Volunteers is based only in Cartagena, Colombia, and therefore we have team members on the ground 24/7 able to assist you. We are in constant contact with projects and volunteers, organize additional events for volunteers and locals to meet at, and support volunteers if they want to make additional contributions or donations.