Advice To RAWCS Volunteers
RAWCS Volunteers do a tremendous job throughout the world, providing their time, effort and personal commitment to help others. RAWCS Australia aims to make easier the process of volunteering on RAWCS projects for both Rotary Clubs and individuals involved in programs and projects.
The information below relates to some commonly enquired about areas by RAWCS volunteers. Below are some simple procedures to aid with the administrative support RAWCS can provide to volunteers. By following the simple advice and procedures listed below, you can facilitate the administrative process and help your volunteering experience run smoothly and to plan.
The only recognised RAWCS account that will provide tax deductibility for donations is the "Rotary Australia Overseas Aid Account" (see the RAWCS – Financial Donations page). All donations made by online donation will receive a tax deductible receipt.
Should You Register Your Project?
When you plan your Project, consider whether you project meets the guidelines set out by AusAid in their Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme available at:
If it does then you need to register it as an official RAWCS Project to received tax deductibility. Generally, if you are collecting donations for materials, programs and possibly a Matching Grant, it will be easier to register the project with RAWCS than trying to register as a standalone project.
The key benefits of registration with RAWCS for all Projects by every Rotary Club are:
A RAWCS project:
- Minimises or eliminates duplication of materials and teams to the same cause or destination.
- Confirms sustainability of the project and its benefits.
- Is listed on a data base on the RAWCS website with details of the country, purpose and contact details of the Project Manager.
- Can attract volunteers from other Rotary Clubs, Districts & Regions if there is a need.
- May attract funds from Rotarians and non-Rotarians to their cause, if funds are required.
- Offers the facility of receiving tax deductible donations online by credit card, cheque or direct deposit on a secure website.
Offers tax deductibility for donations to the project used for development aid purposes.
- Ensures that team members are registered with the various authorities and that all insurance requirements have been completed.
- Requires reports on value and outcomes.
- Will be aggregated in the sum total of what Australian Rotarians do and the benefits given or arising from their actions. This becomes a strong selling point to potential or major donors
- Enables a complete record of volunteer names and destinations to be given to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (this provides support if an emergency arises both, at home or abroad and is used to acknowledge the achievements of volunteers).
- These benefits apply even if you have a grant from The Rotary Foundation
To register a RAWCS Project contact the RAWCS National Project Coordinator John Roberson firstname.lastname@example.org
A copy of the RAWCS Project Application Form may be obtained here RAWCS Project Application Form
Paying for Travel, Meals and Accommodation
Some projects build in the travel, meals and accommodation costs into the total cost per volunteer payable to the Project and the Project Manager arranges tickets, transfers and accommodation. Other projects (usually where the materials are already provided) expect the volunteer team to purchase and cover their own travel, meals and accommodation costs.
In both cases the expenditure by a volunteer on travel, meals and accommodation is NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
Team reports are important for two reasons:
1. They provide feedback to the respective RAWCS Coordinators and Project Manager of total project progress and any difficulties experienced so that future teams can benefit from your experiences, and
2. They provide visibility of the expenditure of money and manpower on RAWCS Projects and this information is helpful in promoting the work undertaken by the volunteers.
So please write a report on your project and send it together with photographs to your RAWCS Coordinator and your Project Manager.
All RAWCS volunteers need to complete the forms listed below which are to be sent to your Regional Coordinator. They will ensure that the RAWCS insurance company is notified so that you have insurance cover for your trip. These forms also enable the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to be notified in case you need their services while overseas.
All volunteers are required to fill out 4 forms (5 in NSW):
- Volunteer Application Form
- Volunteer Agreement Form
- Volunteer Waiver & Liability Release
- Volunteer Medical Form
- Volunteer Child Protection Form (NSW only)
Forms can be downloaded here.
You are responsible for having a travel medical consultation to ensure you have any necessary inoculations and obtain anti-Malaria medication if necessary.
RAWCS Youth Abuse and Harassment Policy
All volunteers are also required to submit any Child Protection documentation required by their state of residence and the countries they will be visiting and working in. Please check with your RAWCS Region to find out what is required in your state or territory.
Copies of the RAWCS Youth Abuse and Harassment Policy and all RAWCS Regional policies will be made available on this RAWCS National website.
Passport and Visa Requirements
You will be responsible for obtaining your own visas, if required, and ensuring your passports are valid for your trip and (usually) for a minimum of six months after your intended return date. Please be sure of this as there have been cases where travel was not permitted because of passport validity of less than six months past the intended return date.
Visa requirements can change so it is usually best to contact the embassy or consulate of the country concerned.
Many volunteer teams find that they need to carry baggage in excess of that permitted on their ticket. National carriers are usually cooperative in allowing an additional 10kg of excess baggage for Rotary volunteers. Contact the carrier concerned at the highest level. Embassies and Consulates can also be helpful in facilitating this. A letter from the RAWCS National Coordinator for the project confirming the reason for travel may also be useful.
Initial contact can be made to the named Rotarian – Project Manager for basic information about each project but then all formal arrangements should be made through your local RAWCS Project Volunteer Regional Coordinator who will ensure all procedures are properly followed.