We are a ministry of the United Methodist Church

FAQs

Church/Agency Question: Are we already on the NOMADS schedule? We applied but have not heard yet.

You should have received an email from the NOMADS office when your project was scheduled.  And, our website upgrade in 2014 now allows for hosting agencies to LOGIN and check the status of projects, find their team leader information, update your staff contact info and apply for future projects.  Please login using your email address.  

What is the financial value of NOMADs donated labor?

The United Methodist NOMADS donate over 110,000 hours each year, valued at more than 2.5 million dollars. 

How do NOMADS get involved in Disasters?

When natural disasters occur, we immediately PRAY for those affected, we may donate money to help, and we also pray that NOMADS might be able to send teams there to give hands-on assistance at the appropriate time.  The NOMADS are not the first in, but sometimes we are the last out.  There are a number of reasons that we are not First Responders, and they include the fact that our people are SKILLED...we (as a team) can do carpentry, hang and finish sheetrock, install and finish trim, install windows and doors, do plumbing and electrical, lay tile, paint, build decks and handicapped ramps, and repair just about ANYTHING!  These skills are very important later on in the effort.  There are other reasons that we do not immediately hitch up and go:  we must be invited by the local group overseeing the effort.  Sometimes that is the area Annual Conference of the UMC along with UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) and sometimes it involves a conglomerate of others.  Our DR coordinator is the authority in NOMADS on how this all works, but much planning regarding locating or building RV sites, who's paying for them, who's paying for building materials, whether any insurance claims are involved, and many more details need to be worked out IN ADVANCE of NOMADS teams planning to assist.  This can take a quite a bit of time to put in place and the DR Site Selection Committee has the responsibility of reviewing applications and determining where the NOMADS DR teams go.   A few years ago the NOMADS Board of Directors changed what we call this section of NOMADS from Disaster Response to Disaster Rebuilding to more accurately reflect what NOMADS involvement is in these critical areas of need across the country.  NOMADS DR teams go to rebuild homes, facilities (most often churches) and lives after the cleanup has occurred.  And often, after many others have left.   

As a NOMAD, what can you do when a disaster occurs?  1) pray for the affected people; 2) contact the area UMC DR Coordinator and tell them about the NOMADS DR possibilities; 3) pray for God’s direction as the NOMADS DR Site Selection Committee reviews applications; and 4) sign up when a NOMADS DR site is announced.  Remember, prayer is the foundation of the NOMADS DR service. 

Who provides what in the NOMADS Program?

The United Methodist Organizations/Agencies that NOMADS work for provide a safe place for us to park our RVs with RV hook ups (Electric, Water, and some way to deal with sewer). The Agencies plan, organize and supervise the work for the team as well as provide the supplies to complete the work . NOMADS members travel to the project at their own expense, bring their own tools, provide their own meals, and pay for any incidental expenses.

What is a NOMADS "Agency"?

NOMADS use the term "Agency" for any United Methodist organization that hosts NOMADS teams. This could be a church, camp, conference center, college, children's home, community outreach program, or disaster recovery program.

Where does NOMADS get their funding?

The NOMADS are blessed to have some very generous churches, agencies and individual donors who donate each year from their mission budget or tithe to us to support our work around the country.  Some churches take up collections for NOMADS and many of our own members tithe or make annual donations.  Others donate through the auction each year at our annual meeting, in which people donate items such as homemade crafts, new items or gently used items.  You can help by clicking on the donate button on the home page and make a donation online now.  We also have an Advance # 982658 through the General Board of Global Ministries.  

Where and how do the NOMADS use donated funds?

Over 84% of our expenses typically are used in direct support of our project work.  The NOMADS have a very active Project Funding program in which we use donated monies to help provide building materials to the neediest of the agencies we support.  At our disaster sites this may be in the form of a new stove for a family, or for funding to help in the construction of a new home to replace a home destroyed by a hurricane.  At the local church we may provide some of the supplies needed for a family as part of a community outreach effort, or we may help purchase lumber to build an ADA handicap ramp at a United Methodist Church.  

Do I have to be a member of the United Methodist Church to join NOMADS?

No.  Most of our members are United Methodists because we are part of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.  But our members represent a variety of Christian denominations.   Some other denominations have programs similar to NOMADS.  

What does it cost to be part of NOMADS?

Our membership dues are $45.00 per person per year, payable each March 31st.  A partial year rebate may be available if you join just a few months prior to March.  If you are joining as a new member, after completing the application, having a phone interview and doing our background check, you will be accepted as a new member and you will be asked to pay your first year's dues online or to mail a check to our office.  In addition, NOMADS pay their own expenses to travel to and from the project sites and any incidental expenses during the project.  This includes meals and any associated travel expenses to get to the work site if it is located away from where the team is parked. Many members also participate in our fundraising activities such as the annual auction, yearly EVERY MEMBER CAMPAIGN or by making regular donations to support our work.

What is the NOMADS Sunshine Group?

The Sunshine Group is NOMADS prayer request group.  They are truly a blessing in times of need for prayerful support.  NOMADS members are welcome to join the Sunshine Group.  Please contact the NOMADS office for further information. 

We don't have an RV, can we still be NOMADS?

Currently, we are not accepting new members without RVs.  If you're interested in a United Methodist Mission Volunteers group for those without RVs, please contact the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission program.

We aren't retired yet and can't work for three weeks at a time. Can we still be NOMADS?

Yes you can. Although most of our projects are 3 weeks in length, we may have opportunities In Disaster Rebuilding projects, for which you can sign up for as little as one week.  And for projects that are short-handed, we may take 1 or 2 week commitments.  

Can we work a trial project before we join?

No. NOMADS Guidelines require that everyone on the team be a current member of NOMADS. However, once you join, you may choose to work for as little as one week on some projects.

I am single, can I join NOMADS?

Yes you can. We do have single NOMADS and they report that they feel very accepted in the NOMADS community and on projects.

I don't have any construction skills, can I still join NOMADS?

NOMADS has no expectations that new members have a certain skill set. As long as you are willing to work within your abilities and you are willing to learn new skills as you are able, you can join NOMADS. Most NOMADS learn new skills each time they work a project and skilled members are very willing to teach new skills to others.

I travel with pets. Is this a problem?

Some Agencies do not permit pets. Information about pets is provided for each project location.  NOMADS who travel with pets should sign up for projects in which pets are allowed, and also inform their Team Leader in case the pets policy has changed, for example, if the commercial RV park to be used has changed. NOMADS are expected to be responsible pet owners, pick up after their pets, and not let their pets run free. Pets are not allowed in any Agency buildings and are not allowed at the work site, just at the RV site.

I'm only interested in working projects in Florida in January and February. Are there opportunities for me?

There might be, however, many of our NOMADS want to work projects in Florida in January and February, and those projects fill up quickly. There are few excess RV sites available there at that time of year, and permitting for additional site installations is also very difficult to accomplish there.  So we'd ask for your flexibility, we'd ask you to consider South Texas or other locations in the winter, and to not plan on Florida as your only option for volunteering as NOMADS.   

NOMADS are mostly at or near retirement age and may have some limitations. How does NOMADS address safety?

Safety is number ONE. NOMADS team leaders are asked to assess situations as to safety and safety measures that need to be employed and stressed to team members. Team leaders are empowered to tell an agency that a task is beyond the capability of a team or that safety equipment such as scaffolding or a power lift are needed to accomplish a task. Additionally, NOMADS members are encouraged to realize their own limitations. NOMADS should NOT do anything they do not feel comfortable doing related to skills and physical ability/safety.

What is the NOMADS work schedule?

NOMADS typically work a four day week- Monday-Thursday, 6 hours each day.  The day begins with devotions and a brief team meeting to outline work and identify any specific needs. Lunch is an hour long and NOMADS take a break in the morning and the afternoon. Breaks are part of the team fellowship time plus an opportunity to get to know the people for whom we are working. A four day work week leaves a 3 day weekend which gives team members time to for personal endeavors such as shopping, laundry, visiting family, and time to explore the area. Sometimes the days of the week vary depending on the needs of the agency.  The work schedule at Disaster Rebuilding Projects may vary depending on the work being done and the distance to the work site.  

Why do NOMADS only work 6 hours a day and only work 4 days a week?

Many NOMADS are at retirement age or well into their retirement years, and many cannot physically work a full 40 hour week without wearing themselves out. At the end of the fourth day, NOMADS have worked hard and are ready for a break. Even so, new agencies are always amazed how much work the NOMADS team accomplishes by working only 24 hours each week.

Is there a limit to the type of RV or size of RV?

NOMADS RVs vary from conversion vans to 40+ foot 5th wheels and motor homes. If your RV is not fully contained, (for example, no shower), you will want to carefully select projects that do have showers available. The parking at some Agencies does have limits on RV size due to limited maneuvering room. Information such as shower availability and RV size limits are part of the specific agency information provided for all hosting sites, and should be reviewed prior to committing to any NOMADS project. 

I travel in a motor home, do I need a tow car?

Most of the time, NOMADS are working in close proximity to where they are parked and will not need a tow car. However, some projects do require daily driving and a tow car is necessary. Car pooling is not always an option as other team members may not have room for additional NOMADS (pick up trucks, cars loaded with tools, etc.). The distance to the work site is included with the project information. If you do not tow a car, we ask that you pick projects that do not require a commute to the work site.

How do I select a project?

NOMADS projects are listed in the member's area of our website, and projects are available for signup at all times. Projects are listed by work period and location. Each listing includes a brief description of the work the Agency has requested from NOMADS, and the details about the number and type of RV hook ups, availability of shower and bathroom facilities, whether pets are allowed, RV size limitations and alot more is available there for members. NOMADS pick projects for many reasons- for the work to be done, the type of agency being served, the location, the timing, proximity to family, the weather, etc. However, we do expect that NOMADS look at the project description and make sure that they have some of the skills that match the work that is planned. Once you decide which projects you would like to work, you would simply signup using our software on our website.  Or you are welcome to contact our office for assistance.

What kind of RV hook-ups are provided?

It varies. Agencies are expected to provide a safe place for NOMADS to park their RVs with hook-ups (electric, water, and some way to deal with sewer).   Agencies deal with this in a variety of ways.  Most electrical hook-ups are at least 30 amp but some are 20 amp and occasionally a team will have to boon dock (camp without  hookups) temporarily. Specific information for each Agency is listed in the member area of our website.

What tools will I need?

There is a Basic Tool List for NOMADS.   Most likely you already have most of these tools in your basic RV load. You are expected to bring your own tools with you on projects. You may also choose to bring specific tools to a project, based on the anticipated work to be done. Many NOMADS are willing to share their tools with team members as long as members take care of them and return them clean and in good condition.

Agency Question: What is the process for requesting NOMADS help for first time NOMADS Agencies?

First, please review this web site to help you determine if NOMADS will be a good match for you. If you have any questions, please contact our office at director@nomadsumc.org or 866-466-6237 (866-4NOMADS).  The application process is as follows: 1. Click on REQUEST HELP and fill out the New Agency info for us.  2. You'll receive an email confirmation, and then a phone call from our volunteer project coordinator in your jurisdiction.  3.  We will arrange for a site visit to discuss the work you want to have done, review application details, and assess RV parking.  4.  We will review your application and the results from the site visit to determine if your are a good candidate for hosting NOMADS teams.   Assuming it is a good match, you are then approved to begin applying for projects (selecting specific dates and specifying your work for that time frame) and will be given a login.  5.  Login and make application for a project!  6.  Your project app will be reviewed, scheduled and published for our members to sign up.   7.  Once we have a Team Leader signed up for your project, they will be your liaison and will contact you for updated information to share with the team and also talk with you about your priorities for the work to be done. 8. The Team Leader arrives a few days before the team to become familiar with your agency, the work, the RV parking, and the area. 9. The Team arrives and starts work on Monday morning.

Does NOMADS require background checks?

Our NOMADS board of directors voted to require background checks for all new and active members beginning in late 2017.  Also, some of our hosting agencies (United Methodist organizations who have NOMADS projects) require other, more specific checks.   

Agency Question: What kind of RV hook-ups do we need to provide?

If you do not already have RV hook ups at your Agency, your jurisdictional Project Coordinator and/or Site Visitor will be able to answer specific questions based on your situation.

Agency Question: Once our Agency is on the NOMADS PROJECT SCHEDULE, does that mean we will have a team?

Being on the schedule is the first step. However, we cannot guarantee that we will have a leader and team members sign up. Sometimes we do have to cancel a project for lack of NOMADS signing up. Should that happen, we will work with you to try and schedule another project.

Agency Question: How much work can a team accomplish?

NOMADS are at or near retirement age or may have already been retired for some time. Our teams work 6 hours each day, 4 days per week. How much work they can accomplish depends on the number of team members, the type of work, the skill set of the team members and, to some extent, the weather, if the work is outdoors. Even so, new agencies are always amazed by how much a team can accomplish.  We encourage agencies to make a long list of work to be done, prioritize the list, and have materials available promptly when the team needs them. The team may not be able to accomplish everything on the list.  Based on the abilities of the team members, they will start with your highest priority and work down.

Agency Question: Are we expected to feed the team?

Absolutely not! NOMADS are expected to be self sufficient once they arrive and have no expectation that the Agency will provide any meals. Please do not feel obligated to do so.