Sadly my first volunteer experience in South Africa was not as fulfilling in the ways I had anticipated, I was determined to keep trying and to volunteer again. After the lessons learned in South Africa, I figured I would get an English teaching job overseas and look for volunteering opportunities on my own. I was determined to do true volunteering, no middle men, no organizations, no fees - just offering my time, strength and energy directly to the people that need it.
Now don’t get me wrong, if these organizations were not around, many of these people, communities, animals etc. would never get the help they needed. What I don’t understand is why so many of these organizations need to profit from it. Come on people! It’s called volunteering, not profiteering!
I understand the need to pay staff, to do research, to advertise and so forth .Kudo’s to those that keep the admin fee low; (but why do you need that each time? Why not an annual fee?) But please explain to me how so many companies can charge in the thousands and how so many people end up paying that.
This is what I’m here to figure out. If you pay more do you get a better experience? Volunteering is about the experience YOU make it. If you pay more, do you stay in better accommodations and get fed better? If that’s the case then your host family is not really needing the money or the community is not really benefiting if your set up in fancy private quarters. (Of course we all wish this was the case, and this is another reason why I’m here to help. Take a holiday the way you want it, but pop in for a day or two at local communities that would love your help - I’ll be compiling a list & links for this option soon.
When most people were planning their families, starting their career and thinking about a mortgage...my plan was to help others, even if it meant giving up all those things. Volunteering became my passion and I would always find a way to make it work. Since 2010 I've travelled the globe and have had some amazing volunteer experiences ... and a life I'm proud of.