5 Reasons Why You’ll Want To Pay To Volunteer Abroad

Want to get off the tourist trail, experience the real world, and get involved with something that actually makes a difference? You want to volunteer abroad! But, you ask, if I am doing this great work, why must I pay to volunteer my time?

1. There Is No Such Thing as FREE Volunteering

However you choose to help, when you volunteer abroad, there are costs that need paid. Airport transfers, housing, and food, are the most obvious basic costs, but there are typically extras such as language classes and excursions also. If the volunteer doesn’t pay for these, then someone else has to – and the projects themselves can’t do this. At Kaya, my volunteer program, we believe that any project doing great work should spend what little money they have supporting their goals. When they have available funds, we want them to hire local people to do that work. It’s BECAUSE they don’t have enough money to get the work done by paid labor that they need the help of volunteers. So those volunteers then need to pay for the costs associated with being there to make it possible. As a volunteer, you genuinely get as much out of the experience as you put in and you are there to support the organization or cause not the other way around.

2. The Cost of a Trustworthy Organization

A good volunteer organization spends time and money creating and monitoring the volunteer placements they offer. They will carry out assessments to ensure that the project is genuine, determine the needs of the site, ensure safety, avoid corruption, and work with volunteers to find them the ideal placement. Finding good projects, building trust, and forming long-term sustainable relationships, ensures volunteers are never a burden because of a lack of skills, knowledge, or cultural sensitivity. This requires a great time investment, and this is the only way they can ensure volunteers arrive and start work right away on a project that is a good fit and will actually benefit from their visit. Companies have to pay their staff to do this work, which is covered in placement fees.

3. Volunteer Support

For international volunteers, there is a need for someone to be available to provide support. This can include cultural immersion sessions to help you interact appropriately with the local community, an orientation to help you find your way safely around, and making sure you know to locate a doctor, police station, or embassy in case of emergency. The project staff need to keep a focus on their work, and so a volunteer coordinator is an additional staff member that can provide that support without taking away from the goals of the project. The cost of that extra staff member is covered in your volunteer fees.

4. Project Donations

Many projects request that each volunteer provides a donation to the project. Sometimes this donation is used to provide volunteers with the tools and materials required for them to be able to do their work. Other times it enables the project to expand and do even more. When funding is the single biggest need of many development and conservation initiatives, this can be a great contribution.

5. Operating Costs

Just like us, volunteer companies have to pay taxes, insurances, and other bills. Laws govern the liabilities of volunteer companies, websites charge to list the programs so that you can find them, and banks charge a fortune to transfer money between countries. By paying your volunteer fees, organizations can maintain a flow of volunteers to local projects, which allows them to function effectively.

The Good News?

When you decide to become a volunteer, there are often many people who want to help you achieve this, so we always encourage volunteers to fundraise for their fees. The greatest thing about this is that through fundraising you can also help raise awareness for the issues and organizations.

Volunteering abroad is a life-changing experience for the participant and a welcome support for those who devote their lives to the projects – so sign up to make a difference today!

Heilwig-JonesAuthor: Heilwig Jones

Heilwig has been involved in volunteering abroad since the 2004 Asian Tsunami and has travelled in 45 countries, across 6 continents. Kaya organize volunteer placements for hundreds of individuals and groups travelling to Australasia, Africa and Latin America every year in the fields of environmental conservations and community development .

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