In 2023, we received the ESC Quality Label – a certificate awarded by the National Agency of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), which confirms that the organization meets the standards related to ensuring the highest quality of projects.
We have a Quality Label for the leading organization – which means that we can also help other organizations in accepting volunteers to work in their organizations (schools/libraries of other NGOs, etc.). We help with project coordination, logistics, monitor projects and ensure their quality, and finally, we report and help in the dissemination of projects.
We can carry out individual volunteering projects as both, a host organization and as a supporting organization.
What are volunteer projects?
Volunteering projects offer young people the opportunity to participate in solidarity activities that meet the needs of local communities.
Young people can participate in projects carried out in their country or abroad. Projects can address a wide variety of issues: environmental protection, climate change mitigation or social inclusion.
What types of volunteering projects are there?
There are several types of projects and we distinguish:
- Individual volunteering (2-12 months or, in some cases, 2 weeks to 2 months).
- Cross-border individual volunteering requires the involvement of at least 2 organisations playing the following roles:
- Host organisation: responsible for comprehensive activities related to receiving participants, including developing work programmes and guidelines.
- Sending/supporting organisation: responsible for supporting participants, their preparation and training before departure, as well as mediating between them and the host organisation.
- For individual volunteering within the participant’s country, one organisation with the quality mark serving as the host organisation is sufficient.
- Group volunteering (2 weeks to 2 months, 10-40 participants).
- The minimum requirement is one organization, regardless of the role it plays within its granted accreditation.
How to become a volunteer and go on a volunteering project?
1. Contact us, i.e. contact the sending organization.
To go abroad with ESC, you must have a sending organization (SO) in Poland. LEVEL UP has been accredited as a sending organization and can help you with your mobility process.
Contact us in any way: write an e-mail, call us or fill out our application form. We will be happy to contact everyone and, if possible and necessary, we will organize an online meeting.
What is the role of the hosting and sending organization?
When it comes to tasks as a host organization, it is responsible for comprehensive activities related to the reception of participants, including the preparation of the work program and guidelines, providing accommodation and covering the costs of meals, transport and pocket money (according to the program guidelines)
As a supporting organization, we regularly maintain contact with the volunteer. We guide them through the entire process of completing the formalities related to the trip. We make sure that the transport and the conditions in which they live and work are suitable for them, and that they feel safe and comfortable during the project and in the group of other volunteers.
What tasks can I perform while volunteering?
Each organization presents its offer on the website: https://youth.europa.eu/go-abroad/volunteering/opportunities_en
You can work in schools, libraries or NGOs. You may as well work with animals, run classes for children, help refugees acclimatize in a new country or help in a canteen for the homeless. Everyone will find something for themselves!
Where can I find volunteering offers abroad?
All offers must be published on the youth portal: https://youth.europa.eu/go-abroad/volunteering/opportunities_en
What can you do while working with LEVEL UP as a host organization?
LEVEL UP operates mainly online. For remote work, we use tools such as Discord and Trello, where volunteers can efficiently communicate and inform each other about upcoming tasks for each team member, who are provided with training and support needed for personal development as well as development of the organization.
Nevertheless, LEVEL UP is not only online volunteering and travel projects. We also focus on local events, which take place mainly in Łódź. These events are the result of the work of our team. They are well-thought-out and adjusted to the needs of the participants who are happy to take part in them.
Volunteers who would support us in events organized by our team, but also people who are interested in community development are of the essence. If you are curious how LEVEL UP works from the inside, contact us and become part of our team!
By joining the program, you can work with us on international projects, local activities and promotion and marketing activities held onsite and online (social media, website and blog). You can also implement your own initiatives!
By joining our International Masters team, you will be able to choose activities in two areas:
- Project area – creating project applications, looking for sources of funding, helping in project coordination, taking part in local events – conducting classes, including language classes, facilitating activities during international projects and coordinating mini-projects.
- Marketing – Creating content for social media – including audiovisual content (photo videos), creating graphics, writing articles for the Association’s blog, disseminating projects and promoting them online and offline. Creation of a guide for foreign volunteers in Poland. Logistical assistance in events and their organization, handling stands at the Fair and promotional events.
Hybrid activity in both areas.
Q & A
How long can volunteering at ESC last?
There are short-term and long-term mobilities within the framework of European Solidarity Corps volunteering. Short-term mobilities last from 2 weeks to 2 months. Long-term ones, on the other hand, last from 2 to 12 months.
Individual short-term volunteering is mainly aimed at people with fewer opportunities (minorities, with disabilities, with a difficult financial situation, etc.).
What is the difference between individual and group volunteering?
Individual volunteering is the most popular form of volunteering. It is aimed at individuals. This does not mean that there will be no other volunteers in the project! Organizations often look for several people who work together or perform various tasks within one project.
Group volunteering is a 2-week-to-2-month trip in which a group of 10 to even 40 volunteers from at least two different countries jointly carry out an activity.
Can I resign from volunteering during the project?
For various reasons, including fortuitous situations, it may be necessary to finish the mobility earlier. Should this happen, the volunteer does not incur any costs on this account, provided that they have not abandoned the project arbitrarily, without informing anyone. Mobility can also be suspended for a maximum of 2 months and then completed.
Of course, such situations are rare, and in case of difficulties during mobility, you can always count on the help of a mentor, sending organization or national agency. The volunteer is obliged to maintain open communication with organizations in order to be able to agree on the optimal solution. According to the rules, the deadline for the costs to be settled is set then.
I am over 30, can I still become an ESC volunteer?
An ESC volunteer cannot be more than 30 years old at the start of mobility, and the cut-off date is their 31st birthday.
For example, a person born on June 30, 1991 may start their mobility before that date and celebrate their 31st birthday while volunteering.
What does green travel mean?
ESC projects place special emphasis on being planet-friendly. Green travel is a journey to the project site with the lowest carbon footprint. We encourage all volunteers leaving for projects to choose the least invasive means of transport for the environment (train or bus instead of plane) if possible.
How many times can I go on ESC volunteering?
You can go on ESC volunteering only once. The exception is when the volunteer goes on short-term mobility first. After this type of mobility, he or she may go again, this time for long-term volunteering. Attention! The reverse situation, i.e. first long-term mobility and then short-term mobility, is NOT possible.
Also in the case of group volunteering, it is possible to go on several mobilities.
How long does it take from the moment of looking for a project to the departure?
The search for the perfect project can take time, so it’s worth starting at least three months in advance. You will get access to the database of volunteering projects for which recruitment is currently underway after registering here. When you notice a project which you find interesting, you need to apply by sending your CV and writing a few words about the reason why you want to take part in a given project. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get an answer right away! If the organization likes your application, it will probably invite you to an interview via one of the online messengers and, on the basis of that, will decide whether to accept you for the project. In order to volunteer, you will need a sending organization (such as LEVEL UP, we will gladly undertake this task!). From this moment, you can start preparing for the trip: refining tasks with the host organization, planning the trip and applying for a visa, participate in a pre-departure training organized by the sending organization, packing your suitcases and saying goodbye to your family and friends 🙂
It is worth starting your search earlier, especially when you want to go on a project to a country outside the European Union and the Schengen Area – in this case you have to add the waiting time for a visa, which can last even several months.
Where will I live?
The accommodation of the volunteers depends on each project – it is the responsibility of the hosting organization to provide it. Volunteers usually live in an apartment shared with other volunteers or other people, in a dormitory, etc. They can have an individual room or share it with another person. When talking with the host organization of the project you want to apply for, be sure to ask about the housing conditions.
I am a person with a disability, can I become an ESC volunteer?
Yes, as part of ESC volunteering, people with fewer opportunities, including those with disabilities, are particularly supported. Therefore, you can count on more support from your sending and hosting organisation, including financial support and/or an assistant.
What am I guaranteed as a volunteer?
As a Volunteer you are guaranteed:
- reimbursement of travel costs: the amount of it depends on the distance from your town to the project location;
- food and accommodation: throughout your stay abroad on the project, the host organization is obliged to provide you with accommodation (it can be a room in a larger apartment that you will share with other volunteers, a host family or a dormitory – there are many possibilities) and meals;
- pocket money: its rate is set by the European Commission. You get pocket money every month and you decide what you spend it on;
- insurance: on the basis of an agreement between the European Commission and an insurance company, each volunteer is supported by a group insurance program. So you can easily use health care in the country to which you will go on ESC and do not incur any costs;
- learning the language of the country where you are staying: if you want to learn a language, the host organization is obliged to provide you with language support (it can be carried out in the form of a language tandem, individual lessons with a teacher or a course at a language school);
- a series of trainings: before departure, you are prepared by the so-called pre-departure training (a pre-departure training in the sending organisation). When you arrive at the project site, you take part in the on-arrival training, i.e. a training introducing you to a new cultural and social reality. About halfway through your stay on the project, you participate in the mid-term evaluation, which helps you reflect on what you have already accomplished on the project, what challenges lie ahead of you and how you will manage your career after the end of the project.
After returning to Poland, you meet with your sending organization again for the final evaluation of your project.