Worldpackers Tips for Ecological Projects: Getting ready for Experiences

Planning activities is one of the most important steps for the experiences. That's why we've prepared a special material with planning tips from our Hosts with Potential that run Eco Projects:

Aligning expectations in your Worldpackers profile

1. Having a long-term plan for your project can help you structure the volunteers' day-to-day activities, and choose well which groups of skills you'll ask from travelers on the platform. To help you with this plan, organize your activities according to your priorities on a calendar: goals with a high degree of importance and urgency should be prioritized, but remember to add daily routine activities (such as caring for animals, gardening and planting, among others).

2. If activities are part of everyday life - such as cleaning, handling waste, extra activities reported in the profile (such as yoga classes) or even cooking for oneself - but they're not within the volunteer work hours stated in the site, make sure the traveler is aware of this information in advance.

3. If your project activities vary based on other factors - such as seasons, weather, or some specific holiday season - always make it clear in your profile so there is no misalignment of expectations. You can create distinct volunteer positions with different descriptions so that when that specific activity is not available, you can close the position and reopen it only when you need volunteers again.

4. If you require payment of any fees to help you on a day-to-day basis, always present clear reasons and tell how much you'll charge in your profile. Make sure travelers are aware of the fee before confirming the trip through the platform.

5. If possible, share the activity schedule with travelers via inbox on the platform even before the experience begins. This way volunteers will have an idea of the type of activity they will be asked to do and can better prepare themselves.

6. If you prefer, get help from the first volunteers you welcome to structure clearer activity planning.

Training

1. If you offer theory classes or any kind of activities that require previous elaboration, remember to provide the necessary materials when volunteers arrive - and also let them know in advance.

2. Get all the necessary equipment ready, and make sure they are in good condition and allow the volunteer to help you safely. In activities that may offer some kind of accident risk - such as construction activities, hiking or climbing in high altitudes, or any activity that requires special skills - make sure that volunteers are supervised by a more experienced professional.

3. Even if you think it's a simple and easy activity, keep in mind that not all volunteers have had the same experience before. Therefore, take the time to allow you or some member of your project to demonstrate such activities and personally train each of the volunteers. By doing this, in addition to showing how much you care about the quality of experiences, will help improve the whole dynamics of the collaborative exchange.

4. Always keep in mind that the experiences should be positive for you and the volunteers. During the training, look for activities that match the volunteer interests and abilities. This will allow you to better target activities within your volunteer team.

5. Make some time during training to allow volunteers to feel comfortable and ask questions if they have any.

6. Remember to delegate tasks and communicate them to travelers in a clear way. For example, if the task is fruit picking, it's important that you train volunteers on how to harvest correctly, within proper cleaning and handling standards.

7. In ecological projects, it's common for the host to give flexibility to volunteers so they can choose the activity that pleases them the most. In this case, don't forget to balance activities among all travelers so that no one feels overwhelmed, and to state what you expect from volunteers in detail.

Volunteer experiences

1. Make sure that each volunteer will have time to learn and that he or she feels useful in collaborating with daily activites while, at the same time, having enough time to enjoy the experience and exchange knowledge.

2. Whenever possible, share with volunteers your best techniques and methods used on a day-to-day basis to run your place - and be sure to ask them to share what they know with you. In addition, take a few moments in the daily routine to show sustainable practices to volunteers, and help them adapt such practices into their daily lives.

3. Establish breaks for meals and make clear what kinds of meals are offered and who is responsible preparing them. Also, tell volunteers whether meal times are included or not in the amount of volunteer work hours stipulated.

4. Show travelers the outcomes of their actions on a day-to-day and long-term basis: this tends to make them even more motivated!

We hope these techniques help you create a complete plan so you can offer incredible experiences! Don't forget to share your planning techniques with our community in the comment field below! =)


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