FAQ Volunteering

Volunteer in China Program FAQs

Before applying for our programs, we realized more applicants have questions which needed to be answered to clear their minds before they starting the application process. We have arranged the questions into categories to help the situation. In case you did not find what you wanted to ask about, please visit our contact us page with the questions and we will respond within minutes.

Why volunteer with CIP?

CIP was established to provide affordable, high quality and responsible volunteer programs for people wishing to volunteer abroad. The company is built on ten strong foundations that we aim to provide every volunteer with – Affordability, Responsibility, Quality, Support, Safety, Friendship, Need, Loyalty, Experience, and Enjoyment. Visit our Why CIP? page to learn more about why thousands of volunteers choose to volunteer with CIP every year.

Why volunteer abroad?

Volunteering is founded on the concept of giving through the donation of your time, your skills, your energy, and often just simply your presence to help others in need. However, while volunteers have a tremendous effect on the people they work with, you will very rarely find a volunteer who feels they have given more than they have received. The lessons and benefits that a volunteer receives while volunteering abroad are endless and can include increased self-confidence and social awareness, development of life skills, personal growth, friendship and building of independence. Furthermore, volunteering can help to enhance career prospects. Not only do volunteers increase their skill base, work experience and international contacts through volunteering abroad, employees often look favorably upon those who are willing to go outside of their comfort zone and give up their time to assist others.

Why pay to volunteer?

As a CIP volunteer, you give up your time and your skills to assist abroad, therefore many people fail to see why they should also have to pay to volunteer. The Registration Fee you pay to volunteer abroad with CIP goes facilitate your volunteer abroad trip. The Program Fee you pay goes directly to CIP's partner organization in the city or province you are volunteering in China. The Program Fee is used to pay for the expenses associated with your stay in China, including airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, and staff support to ensure your volunteer program goes as smoothly as possible. All CIP partner organizations are funded almost entirely by the Program Fees and therefore in order for the program to continue, it is imperative we charge volunteers for their airport pick-up and accommodation. To see exactly what you receive for your fees, visit our Program Fees page.

Why are the CIP fees so much more affordable than other volunteer travel companies?

CIP was established to provide genuinely high quality and responsible and yet affordable volunteer travel opportunities. Our Registration Fee and Program Fees have been designed to keep the quality of our volunteer programs high, yet at the same time ensure we do not include any unnecessary costs or middlemen, which often inflate the fees of other organizations. The Program Fee you pay goes to our partner organization in the country where you are volunteering, leaving only the Registration Fee to cover costs outside of the country, such as marketing, quality control, program visits, and pre-departure administration and support from your dedicated CIP Program Manager (to help you prepare before you depart). Many other companies take thousands of dollars from volunteers, much of which never make it to the country in which you are traveling to. CIP does not sacrifice the quality of our programs, rather we work on a transparent financial system, whereby we can operate at a sustainable level, provided we have high numbers of volunteer travelers participating on our programs.

Why are your prices cheaper?

While other companies may only have two or three volunteers in each country at one time, due to the fact CIP has thousands of volunteers joining our programs annually, we can operate on a system of economies of scale, allowing us to keep fees low and the quality of our programs high. In each of the countries where we run programs, we have at least 150 CIP volunteers participating on our programs annually, with some projects hosting over 60 volunteers! The majority of our programs average between 20 and 40 volunteers each year. By guaranteeing our partner organizations high numbers of volunteer travelers, we can ensure CIP volunteers are offered low fees. The benefits of this are not limited to low fees, but also great social interaction with other volunteers from a diverse range of cultures. Not only are our programs incredibly affordable, but their popularity means you have the peace of mind of knowing that you will always have a group of international volunteers to socialize, work and travel with.

How do I volunteer with CIP?

Visit our Booking Process page for more details on how to volunteer abroad with CIP or simplyapply online now.

Does CIP accept groups?

CIP does accept volunteer groups and if a group has 10 or more members, we can even arrange special projects and itineraries for groups. Every year, CIP hosts hundreds of group volunteers from universities, schools, church groups and companies who participate on a wide variety of volunteers programs.

Can I volunteer with a friend(s) or a partner?

CIP accepts friends and couples who wish to volunteer together and we can ensure that you are placed in the same accommodation and project as a friend or partner, provided this is request prior to arrival on the program. When you apply online, please make a note on the application form with your friend's name stating you wish to be placed together.

Can children under age of 18 volunteer with CIP?

If a person is under the age of 18, it is not possible for them to volunteer abroad on a CIP volunteer program alone. However, if they are volunteering as part of a group (with adult minders) or with a parent, guardian or family member (18 years or over) then this is acceptable. When a volunteer under the age of 18 applies to volunteer with CIP, it is important that he/she notes the name of the person they are volunteering with (and their minder does the same), so we can ensure they are placed together and our staff know they are eligible to volunteer.

Do I need specific skills or qualifications to volunteer?

Requirements vary from project to project, however for many of our projects, our only requirements are fluency in English, a clean criminal background and a willingness to learn. It is important to note that for the majority of our Medical and Health projects, volunteers must be qualified or training in a relevant medical field (documentation to be presented to partner organization on arrival in China).

Is CIP a charity and does CIP accept donations?

CIP is a social enterprise and not a charity. As a social enterprise we are a registered company that does good. CIP is focused on providing the most affordable, quality and responsible volunteer abroad opportunities available and due to the fact we are not a charity, we will not accept donations. If a CIP volunteer wishes to make a donation to their volunteer placement, we encourage volunteers to inform our local staff so they can ensure the donation is invested as intended.

Will I be working with other volunteers?

On the majority of CIP programs, volunteers are placed in small teams at placements and can expect to be working with at least two to three other CIP volunteers. Some of our programs are flexible and if you wish to be placed by yourself our local team may be able to accommodate this, however in most cases CIP volunteers live and work together in small groups.

Is travel insuruance included in the program fee?

Travel insurance is mandatory in order to volunteer abroad on a CIP volunteer program. To keep costs as low as possible for volunteers, we do not include travel insurance in our fees. While CIP does everything it can to ensure your trip abroad goes smoothly and is a fantastic, memorable experience, it is imperative to ensure you have adequate travel insurance should you fall sick, your bags go missing, or something is stolen.
We provide health insurance in China to cover the health of our participants.

How far in advance should I apply and register?

We do not have a deadline for volunteer applications and registrations, but our advice is the sooner the better. CIP volunteer programs are very popular and at busy times of the year, some programs are booked up months in advance. As soon as you apply to volunteer with CIP, you will be connected with a CIP Program Manager who will help you prepare for your volunteer trip. Once registered on a CIP program(by paying your Registration Fee), you are given access to extra features on My CIP and are provided with an in-depth CIP Information Booklet about the program and country you are traveling to. Your CIP Program Manager is also on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to collect all the required information from you before you depart. In addition to this you, are introduced to our local team who will email you to welcome you on the program. In order to avoid disappointment, please apply online and register as soon as possible.

Will CIP provide a reference or act as referee for me ones I finish volunteering?

Your CIP Program Manager can provide you with a letter of reference at the completion of your trip, upon request. Our local staff are often happy to act as referees for past volunteers as well.

What are the accomodation and meals like?

The type of accommodation and meals provided on CIP programs vary from country to country. For more information on accommodation and meals, visit the specific country you are interested in via our Programs page.

Do I need to be able to speak the local language?

Language requirements vary from country to country and can depend on the type of project you are participating on. However, for the most part, volunteers are generally only required to speak English to participate on a CIP program. CIP volunteers are provided with basic language lessons during their orientation and we recommend that volunteers take additional language lessons where available. The more you can speak and converse in the local language, the more you will be able to immerse yourself into the program and local culture.

Can CIP help with fundraising?

CIP has a partnership with leading crowd-funding website FundMyTravel which provides CIP volunteers with access to professional online fundraising services. CIP volunteers have been successful in raising thousands of dollars via FundMyTravel, highlighting the effectiveness of this system in raising funds. If you would like to explore other forms of fundraising in addition to FundMyTravel, see our Volunteer Fundraising Tips page to pick up some more fundraising ideas from previous CIP volunteers. Your CIP Program Manager can also provide you with a verification letter that verifies that you are volunteering with CIP and gives potential donors some information about what you are doing to help you raise money.

Can I go traveling and sightseeing during the weekends of my volunteer program?

At CIP we believe an important aspect of any CIP volunteer trip abroad is the sightseeing and tours that volunteers can do outside of their volunteer work. Although we believe a CIP volunteer trip abroad is the most authentic way to experience a country through living and working with locals, we also understand that many of our volunteers wish to visit and experience sites like regular travelers. Our local teams are flexible and often encourage you to take time out from volunteer work to travel and explore the country you are volunteering in.

Is it possible to combine volunteering with other programs?

It is possible to combine volunteering with other programs such as Internship, Language Programs etc. Where participants decide to take on an extra program, no additional charges are made. This is our goodwill to support you as a volunteer in China.

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