The Outreach Foundation Mission Trip Policies
The Outreach Foundation regularly sponsors mission trips in our effort to engage Presbyterians with global partners in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. These trips foster global partnerships and help to raise resources needed by partners for their work. The trips are led by Outreach Foundation staff, board members, or mission staff members. All trips must be approved by the Executive Director.
The trips are chiefly of two types: Mission Vision Trips focus on learning about the work of The Outreach Foundation by visiting with mission projects and partners. These trips have a strong development component as we invite church leaders and donors to commit to supporting our mission efforts around the world. Mission Vision Trips are coordinated through the office of The Outreach Foundation. Mission Work Groups are organized to involve participants in working alongside our missionaries and partners in specific tasks, such as church construction. Mission Work Groups are coordinated by the sponsoring church or group in consultation with the appropriate Outreach Foundation representative.
Application and Deposit
A deposit of $150 and a completed Basic Mission Trip Application are required to hold a place on Mission Vision Trips. The non-refundable deposit will be credited towards the participant’s trip cost. If a trip applicant is not accepted by The Outreach Foundation as a trip participant, the deposit will be returned.
When credit cards are used to pay The Outreach Foundation for trip related expenses, a 5% surcharge will be added to defray the cost of related fees and expenses.
Travelers with TOF are expected to defray the full cost of their participation on the trip. A total cost for participants will be set which will cover direct and indirect expenses, including the travel expenses of the trip leaders. Occasionally, grants may help to defray a portion of the trip costs. Scholarships are at times available to facilitate the participation of seminarians and pastors near the beginning of pastoral ministry. One-half payment of total trip costs is due 90 days prior to departure; full payment is due 45 days prior to departure.
For Mission Work Groups, sponsored by particular congregations, the participants may also be asked to contribute towards the cost of materials or to assist in raising funds for the project on which the group will be working.
Deductibility of Mission Trip Expenses
The Outreach Foundation issues tax receipts for payments made by individuals for the cost of that individual's participation in one of our mission trips; however, in so doing The Outreach Foundation is not giving tax advice. Each individual should contact their personal tax advisor to evaluate their situation and determine deductibility of trip expenses. If side trips or add-ons are recreational in purpose, the cost of those portions are clearly NOT tax deductible, and participants should pay those costs directly to the travel agent. The IRS is very clear that one individual may not pay the cost of another individual's travel, whatever the purpose, and deduct that amount on their income tax return. If someone wants to help with your travel expenses, they should give those funds directly to you.
Participation in Full Itinerary
It is expected that travelers will not deviate from the group’s itinerary and program. Approving any changes to the itinerary is, finally, the responsibility of the trip leader. If a traveler wishes to go earlier or return later than the other group members, he/she will be responsible for themselves during that time and for any additional expenses, including higher transportation costs that may result from deviating from the group travel arrangements.
Individuals participating in Outreach Foundation trips must have medical insurance that provides adequate coverage while they are traveling. Participants should review the provisions of their own policy and contact their insurer to determine whether or not they should obtain additional personal coverage for the duration of the trip. Uncovered expenses that are incurred by trip participants due to accident or illness – including medical costs, airline change fees, and medical evacuation – are the responsibility of the participant, not The Outreach Foundation. The Outreach Foundation does not provide trip cancellation insurance, which trip participants may decide to purchase themselves.
Inoculations and Medications
Outreach Foundation trips often venture into areas of the world posing special health risks. Trip participants should review the travel health advisories on the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization websites and should consult with their own physicians or an international travel clinic to make informed decisions about inoculations and medications. The Outreach Foundation does not offer medical advice but will make it clear when inoculations are required for entry into a country on the itinerary. Participants shall notify TOF of medical conditions and prescriptions that they are taking to ensure the availability of that information in case of medical emergency.
State Department registration
The Outreach Foundation registers Outreach trip participants through the U.S. Department of State’s “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.”
Release and waiver of liability; emergency contact form
Each trip participant on an Outreach-led vision trip or Outreach-sponsored work trip is required to sign The Outreach Foundation’s release and waiver of liability form, which must be filed with the Outreach office before departure. An emergency contact form shall also be on file for each trip participant.
Cancellation by participants or The Outreach Foundation
Should a person need to cancel participation in a trip, money that they have paid for the trip will be refunded to them, minus the deposit and any non-refundable payments that have been made by Outreach for the traveler. The Outreach Foundation’s Executive Director, in consultation with the trip leader, reserves the right to cancel trips at any time when it is believed to be in the best interest of those traveling and/or The Outreach Foundation.
Updated Feb 06, 2013 RJW