Hopefully you already have a passport or are in the process of getting one, BUT if you’re one of those last-minute folks and still don’t have one, START NOW. Go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/.
If you are obtaining a passport for the first time, you must go in person to a passport acceptance facility, such as a U.S. post office. You will need to bring the completed application, two passport-sized photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate), and a valid form of photo identification such as a driver’s license.
If you do have a passport, well done! Now make sure that the expiration date is later than six months from the return date of your trip.
Please make a couple copies of your passport. Leave one at home and bring an extra with you in your checked baggage.
Unless your specific location requires certain immunizations (African countries often need proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination upon arrival), then Envision doesn’t have any other requirements. We leave it up to you to determine with your doctor or a travel clinic what immunizations you may need or want. In many tropical countries, malaria prophylaxis may be highly recommended.
The best place to find information on immunizations is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. This website will give you a precise health outlook on the country/region you are traveling to. These immunizations may require appointments made weeks in advance.
Some of our Envision Sites or Alliance Field locations do require that you have a COVID vaccination based on local laws and regulations. If you are unsure as to whether or not your field has this requirement, contact the Intern Coordinator.
The first place to start is with your Envision Site contact or Alliance Field contact. They most likely have specific steps for obtaining a visa for their country—FOLLOW THEM EXACTLY.
To learn more about visa requirements for your destination, please refer to the Travel Document Systems website. TDS will hand-carry your passport to the embassy to get the necessary visa stamp. This is an expedited service, and TDS charges a fee on top of that of the embassy (this is generally the recommended method of obtaining a visa while in the U.S.; however, in many countries, you simply receive your visa at the airport upon arrival).
A few more visa notes:
You have the option to register with the U.S. State Department before you depart on your trip. You can do this by using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This lets our government know where U.S. citizens are located in the unlikely case of emergencies. You will also receive travel alerts and other information about your destination.
The sooner the better for cheaper prices! Since YOU will be purchasing the tickets yourself (see below), you can do it as early or as late as you want. We do recommend that you have a good start on your fundraising (30-40% raised) by the time you buy your airfare. If your launch date changes due to lack of funding or for any other reason, any costs to changing your flight will be your responsibility to cover. We recommend ensuring your flight has a refundable option or flexibility to change dates, just in case.
You can do your own online research, use a travel agent you know, or if you are going international, we recommend checking out Flight Sugar:
Envision has recently partnered with Flight Sugar to get all of our volunteers and interns great deals on flights internationally! Although they do have flights throughout the U.S., their best deals can be found if you are going overseas! To utilize Flight Sugar, just go to this link and sign up with an account: https://flightsugar.com/welcome/envision.
Participants will pay for their own tickets using personal funds.
Interns/ GiveBack: Extra funds can be raised on top of the monthly amount seen on the website in order to be reimbursed for any personal costs incurred. Keep your receipts for your airfare and other travel related expenses (visa, extra baggage, and immunizations) in order to be reimbursed from your support account after your field costs are covered.
Alliance Volunteers: Your budgets for the field are created for you – thus they include estimated airfare costs. You will not need to raise extra funds in order to be reimbursed for plane tickets. You will still need to submit a reimbursement form though, as you will initially purchase your flights out of pocket. Keep your receipts for your airfare and other travel related expenses (visa, extra baggage, and immunizations) in order to be reimbursed from your support account after your field costs are covered.
Once you are fully fundraised and you know you have extra funds in your support account (or you are an Alliance Volunteer and are fully funded according to your budget), you can be reimbursed for your travel related expenses (see above). You will be reimbursed through a form you fill out. In order to get the form, go to the ‘Intern Folder’ that was shared with you in your on-boarding process. You will find the document in the folder labeled “Fundraising,” and then choose the folder titled, “Reimbursements.” Follow the instructions on the document.
When you arrive at your destination, you will first need to go through immigration/customs. You will be given a form on the airplane to fill out. Use the exact instructions your site leader gives you to fill in the info on the form. You will then follow the immigration lines, pick up your baggage, and meet your host or someone from the Envision site. Ask your contact for any other instructions they may have.
Please use the wording below to tell your supporters how to give to you online (preferred) or via check:
Simple instructions for investing in my ministry:
Write a Check
Make payable to “The Christian & Missionary Alliance” with my name (ENV – PARTICIPANT FIRST & LAST NAME) in the memo line and send to:
The Christian & Missionary Alliance
One Alliance Place
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Give Online (preferred)
ALL funds given to your support account will be tax deductible, and your supporters will get a receipt for their records once the funds hit your account.
ALL funds may take 1-2 weeks to process into your account once submitted.
Yes, you can feel free to set up your own online GoFund Me account (or something similar). Any funds you receive outside of The Christian & Missionary Alliance Give page will NOT be tax deductible for your supporters. You can use those donations as personal funds to purchase your airfare, etc., or you can turn those funds into your Envision support account for field expenses.
If a supporter makes a check directly to YOU, you can treat it as non-tax deductible personal funds and deposit it for yourself.
Any cash you receive directly (or from a fundraiser) can also be used personally, or if you desire to submit it for your field expenses, please use the online donation system (above) by “donating to yourself” that amount using your own credit card (and keeping the cash).
IMPORTANT—For any money (cash, GoFundMe, check) given to you directly and then submitted to Envision, your donors will NOT get a tax-deductible receipt.
All donations given to Envision are not legally allowed to be returned to supporters in the case that a participant either discontinues with Envision or raises extra.
If you choose not to go on your trip, any funds raised will be used to support other Envision interns, volunteers, and/or sites.
If you raise more than needed and have a leftover amount (even after airfare and travel reimbursements), you may request to use those funds to support another participant, an Envision ministry, or the C&MA.
In either case, you may also choose to keep your account open if you decide to participate with Envision again.
You can’t directly check your balance. Once someone donates to your account, it can take 1-2 weeks for the donation to register in our system.
Every week, if someone has donated to you, an automatic email will be sent to you with an attached list of donors who have contributed (check your spam folder). This report will also show you your total support amount, year to date.
PLEASE be very prompt in thanking your supporters—send a card, a text, make a phone call, etc. Acknowledging these gifts is extremely important! Include them in any prayer or update emails before, during, and after your trip.
There is an option for you to receive daily updates on your support account. This means you will receive an email showing the new donations your received that day/week (it also includes a total balance). Note: You will only get an email on days that you actually received a donation. If you would like to receive more frequent updates, email Courtney Maloney, and we can take care of that for you!
For trips four months or LESS: You will need to have ALL of your total funds raised 45 days before you go. We can reimburse you for your airfare once you have raised enough to cover your total expenses on the field plus your airfare.
For trips LONGER than four months: You will need to have at least the first two months of your total funds raised 45 days before you go as well as 100% of the rest of your funds pledged for the following months. Your supporters can choose to give a recurring gift each month, which is considered a pledge. We can reimburse you for your airfare once you have raised enough for your first two months plus the amount of your airfare.
We require a $150 non-refundable deposit to confirm your commitment to this Envision internship/ volunteer experience. It does not go towards the final amount you need to raise but goes towards training costs. Within two weeks of your acceptance, after you’ve prayed and discussed your participation with those who know you well, you’ll need to go to our online giving page* and make your $150 deposit.
*Please follow the support-raising instructions in your offer letter
We know that finances can be the biggest obstacle between you and your trip. It is a big leap of faith to ask others to invest in your ministry and because of that, it’s also one of the best ways to build your faith and dependence upon the Lord before you ever even go. Persevere, my friend! Spend time before God saying you are fully relying on Him.
Some other practical suggestions are in this intern folder, including how to make follow up phone calls, fundraiser ideas, theology of fundraising, and sample letters.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more encouragement or ideas!
There are two costs for your trip. First, is the amount you fundraise for your field expenses. This is the monthly cost, noted on the website, which covers your room, board, food, transportation, insurance, ministry experience, etc.—basically all of your expenses on the ground minus souvenirs, sightseeing, and personal extras.
The second expense is your “outgoing costs,” or what it takes for you to get there. This includes your airfare, visa, passport, immunizations, and departure/airport taxes if necessary. Since this second expense type varies so greatly by intern/participant and does not fall under Envision’s processes, these funds can either be fundraised separately (personally) or we can refund you with any extra that comes in to your field support account.
Every site is different, but your Envision leaders or field contacts will orient you with how you’ll receive needed funds for your time on the field! It may be a monthly or weekly stipend, or you may have most items paid for by the staff separately. Know that your housing, food, and necessities will be covered, and you shouldn’t have to worry.
All volunteers, whether domestic or international, must have primary medical coverage. Typically, if you are under 26, you are on your parents’ plan. If you don’t have primary coverage, then we suggest using a private insurance company or Federal Care through https://www.healthcare.gov. We can also recommend the Reside Prime plan to cover your primary care, and it also includes international travel coverage.
Utilizing funds you raise in your account, Envision will purchase supplemental travel/emergency coverage for all international volunteers (not necessary for domestic interns). See below.
If you’d like to see what is included in your additional emergency coverage, please see the Premium Plan for participants serving six months or less. For participants serving over six months and up to one year, see the 360 Plan.
Your Site Leader is experienced in knowing how to address emergencies that may happen on the field, and they will be in immediate contact with our National Office to troubleshoot how to proceed in various types of situations. Know that we will be in touch with your emergency contact and will work quickly to resolve any issue that arises.
All participants are required to complete a background check, an “Emergency Contact” form, an “Intern/Volunteer Agreement” form, and a “Release of Liability” form. We also require that you watch the “Keeping Children Safe” child safety video and quiz. If you think that you may not have finished these steps, please ask.
Though no amount of training can sufficiently prepare you for everything you’ll encounter on your trip, we want you to arrive as ready as possible (especially ready to be FLEXIBLE)! We’ve put together lots of resources in the intern folder to help you get your head and heart ready, and we expect you to read them. 🙂
Your field contacts or Envision site leaders also have materials they can send you, so don’t hesitate to ask!
These are all great questions for your Envision site director (or field contact if you’re not serving at an Envision site)! Please don’t pummel them with emails every day. We know there are a lot of unknowns, but keep your questions to 3-4 a week in a short and sweet email. You can also prepare now for being VERY FLEXIBLE during your trip! There will be things that neither you nor your site leader can prepare for, and you’ll have to go with the flow—a lot!
Our staff at the Envision National Office is here to help! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Courtney Maloney, Internship Coordinator, via email, phone, text, Zoom, carrier pigeon, message in a bottle . . .