Cancellation and Emergency refund policies for outreaches

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From time to time an outreach needs to be cancelled or a staff or participant needs to withdraw from an outreach. Although YWAM outreaches are good value for money, there is a lot of money involved. The question of refunds is often raised. This question is fraught with tension if there are not clear policies that have been agreed to in advance. Here are some areas you should consider.

Cancellation Refunds

Different classes of people should be considered:

  • Participants/students cancelling - early and late cancels
  • Staff cancelling - early and late cancels
  • Cancellation due to sickness (some tickets are insured but cheap ones might not be - plus if their own insurance covers the refund)
  • Cancellation due to circumstances out of your control - War etc!

It is very important to know what is refundable and what is not refundable. Cheap air tickets are rarely refundable. Obviously food money will not be used. But it is important to consider what to do. Often the outreach organisers operate on a very thin budget and have little spare funds!

You might want to build up some reserves for problems like this. I could also imagine a future case where a team needs an emergency visit or to repatriate someone. 2000 should be enough.

Insisting on Flight Cancellation Insurance for all participants (leaders included) would affray some of the expenses of a cancelled flight (which is often about half the entire cost.)

Whatever policies are decided they should be written up, explained when participants book, easily available (perhaps on a website) and adhered to!


In the past this author used to add a 10-20% surcharge to an outreach budget for emergencies. The policy was that if there was no emergency, the money was refunded. If there was an emergency there was no refund (unless the amount needed was small) It also gave a team a "cash buffer" when on the field. This author was glad of it in Ghana when he had to pay cash to get a student operated on for Appendicitis!