Community Organizations

Why and How to Become a Community Organization

You may not know it, but there are groups of college students that are enthusiastic (okay, understatement) to find out about the work your organization is doing in the community. To get ready to work with you, they'll begin meeting months in advance to learn about the social issues you focus on, the historical and cultural context of your community, and your vision and mission. They'll come prepared with skills you've asked them to develop, having fundraised themselves into a position to contribute time and energy to projects for your organization. Over 600 organizations are listed here—we'd love to add yours to the mix!

Sign up now as a Community Organization

The SiteBank

The SiteBank is an opportunity to connect you with some dedicated and informed student volunteers. The SiteBank is searchable only by staff and student leaders from our Chapter schools - over 230 alternative break programs - who are committed to building a relationship with the organizations and the communities they serve with. With an approved listing, you'll be able to login and update your information at anytime for the eager eyes of student and staff leaders. Profiles include organization and contact information, project details, issues of focus, group size, required equipment, and times of year you're able to work with breakers.

Approval Process:

Once you register as a new Community Organization, Break Away staff will be notified and will review your information. We'll then make sure your information is complete and make any necessary edits. We'll be in touch if payment is required, or if we need additional information and documentation. After your profile is approved, you'll be able to login using your unique username and password to update your profile any time.

Payment Process:

Pricing for being listed in the SiteBank follows a sliding scale that mirrors the costs charged to students for working with your organization. Orgs who do not charge fees to students will be listed in the SiteBank for free. Orgs who charge set fees for working with volunteers should email us documentation showing the average cost for one student to engage in a one-week volunteer project. Organizations who charge set fees will be sent an invoice and must submit proof of payment before profiles can be approved. Orgs who would like to discuss the fee for their organization, or the availability of scholarships, can reach out directly to our Community Director, Tia.

Expectations:

We ask that Community Organizations do the following:

  • Update volunteer opportunities, as needed, to keep them current. Remove information about volunteer opportunities when they have been completed or filled.
  • Be upfront about any volunteer costs or material requirements in the profile - volunteers should know if the project won’t happen unless they are able to donate paint, bring shovels, make a donation, etc.
  • Complete timely updates to your SiteBank profile when there are staff transitions or changes to your contact information.
  • Share your success stories with us! Your organization may be highlighted through social media, on our blog, or in other ways.

What you can expect from Break Away:

  • We'll promote the SiteBank database – and your volunteer opportunities - far and wide! That means at our trainings, on our social media platforms, and in our communications with Chapters and alumni.
  • We're a small staff, but will do our best to respond to questions and approve profiles within 3 business days.
  • We'll make edits, as needed, to keep your profiles looking their best. We may occasionally edit some content within your profile to remove typos, improve readability, and ensure organizations are categorized correctly to maximize potential interest from Chapter schools.

Types of Community Organizations: CPs and IOs

Break Away works with colleges and universities who are interested in working with organizations of all types, sizes, and capacities. Therefore, the SiteBank database includes profiles for organizations that are able to work with alternative break groups in a variety of ways. To help Chapter schools better understand how your organization is able to work with short-term volunteer groups, we have made a distinction between two main categories of organizations - Community Partners (CP) and Intermediary Organizations (IO).

A Community Partner is a community group or nonprofit that exists to work with the assets and needs present in communities (i.e. food security or ecosystem restoration) to serve their clients and constituents. Volunteer groups may work with one - or many - Community Partners during an alternative break trip.

An Intermediary Organization has greater capacity in working with volunteer groups and is able to assist with the development of the entire volunteer experience. IOs will often provide housing, meals, transportation, project coordination, educational workshops, and/or cultural experiences and typically charges a fee for these services. Volunteer groups typically work with one Intermediary Organization during an alternative break trip.

Break Away's goal is to provide transparency in the SiteBank around the nature of all organizations and the levels of involvement they are able to have in the alternative break experience. We also aim to equip Chapter schools with training, tools, and resources to examine which organizations best fit the mission, aims, and priorities of their alternative break program. For example, some schools may be most concerned about safety, while others place a higher value on relationships with the organization's staff. 

In order to determine an appropriate partnership, we encourage schools to thoughtfully consider their ability to engage in local community efforts and the amount of work involved in developing strong community partnerships.