Volunteering is a great and rewarding way to experience the world. Make a difference and give back to some less fortunate regions. You will learn a lot about the local people and culture, make friends and stretch your yourself. It can give you the most rewarding memories of your life.
There is no shortage of companies proposing diverse and widespread opportunities. There can be a massive difference in the fees charged for different reasons. Many organisations are acting as middle men and taking a huge percentage for theirs services. Dealing with such a company may provide you peace of mind. They spend time verifying projects, ensuring that they are not scams. They can give help and guidance, often with a representative in the country so you have support on the end of a phone should you need it. The problem is that a large part of your placement fee is eaten up by western company overheads such as their flashy website, offices, marketing, administration etc. Often very little of the money makes it to the organisation you are actually volunteering with. We have also seen local travel agents, who charge the same amounts as their tours, then send you to the local project while pocketing the difference.
It's important to do your research. Things to look for are a registered charity number, a proper website, ideally with recent testimonials. YouTube videos are perfect where volunteers can relate their experience. Think about posting some videos on social media. Another thing to watch for is disguised employment : it's not the volunteer experience you signed up for. You should look to pay as little as possible up front, so that you always have the choice to pack your bags and walk away.
Grassroots Volunteering is a resource empowering travelers to connect to causes and communities in the places they travel. Volunteers should directly contact the organizations listed in the database.
Run by Shannon O'Donnell 🏆 @NatGeo Traveler of the Year. Advice for the nomad lifestyle at alittleadrift
Lists the free and low-cost volunteer opportunities in South & Central America. The site is designed for backpackers and independent travellers looking to volunteer abroad for free, without paying middle-man or agency fees. There's great advice in the FAQ including some warnings
This is a great starting point whichever destination you are considering. Run by Steve McElhinne since 2005 and based on his wide personal experience.
Volunteer Work Thailand is a non profit organization dedicated to helping people volunteer in Thailand for free and make a difference overseas.
A place where you can learn about organizations that offer volunteering programs in Africa. It is then up to you to contact the organization
IncludesSoft Power Education.. working at a grassroots level with communities across Uganda to improve quality of life through education.
True Travellers Society is a community of travellers sharing stories and resources to help you genuinely experience travel.
True travelling is getting off the tourist track and integrating with the local community. It is about exploring and experiencing culture away from the gift shops and the tourist traps. It is about leaving the all-inclusive resorts and going beyond simply meeting the locals. To truly travel, you need to immerse yourself with the locals and their culture. We want to genuinely experience travel while having a positive impact on the local community. The trick is finding opportunities that will enable you to do this.
This site aims to help you find ways to truly travel. We share interesting travel stories and adventures of people truly travelling.
Volunteers Base is a moneyless help exchange network, it's free and always will be! Hosts in need of helping hands list their Projects and Volunteers interested in joining can get in touch. Projects can be almost anything: farming, building, hostels, language teaching, house-sitting, community work, arts & crafts, housekeeping, etc.
committed to effectively and efficiently addressing the immediate and long-term needs of global communities impacted by disasters. All Hands and Hearts arrives early for first response and stays late to rebuild schools and homes in a disaster-resilient way.
We are a network of 180+ grassroots social impact orgs worldwide with the aim of making global volunteering more ethical & affordable
Create Change. Be Changed. See #Experteering in SSIR, Devex, HBR, Forbes and more as a way to develop skills & create real #socialimpact.
The site has a registration fee
Support programmes in over 30 countries, focused on wildlife research, nature conservation and sustainable community development. We strive to provide volunteer experiences that positively boost self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction while supporting our volunteers’ education, career and life goals. WorkingAbroad takes action for nature and society and makes a firm commitment to the ethical treatment of animals.
🌎Live unique experiences volunteering 🗣Develop new skills
🌱Make a positive impact 💙Conscious travelers and welcoming hosts
GVI runs programs in 21 locations, in 13 countries around the world, each manned by our own staff and aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs as well as the objectives of local partners.
We’re a nonprofit here to help you find 🌟 your #dreamjob 💚 volunteer opportunities 📌 #mutualaid groups 🎓 grad school
We ❤️ to travel! Affordable volunteer and internship programs tailored to your interests. Choose from 28 countries.
Offering affordable, life-changing volunteer abroad programs in over 30 developing countries ❤️ #lovevolunteers
🗺️ Champions of Meaningful Volunteer Travel since 1992 📸 #projectsabroad #myprojectsabroad
Supporting Africa through donation & exciting volunteer experiences. Created to provide an affordable & corruption free way to help.
Check out our website for affordable, ethical volunteering with the best range of community, wildlife & conservation projects in #southafrica
We connect communities wanting to improve their lives with passionate young people around the world to make real #change 🙌
Life-changing travel and virtual experiences, exclusively for teens and young adults. Be the change you wish to see in the world 🌍✈️
Fronteering takes you off the beaten path and offers many different volunteer abroad opportunities! Wildlife Volunteering, Care for huskies and dog sled or help save the Amazon Amerindian Way of Life!
Naturally Africa Volunteers offers medical and healthcare, teaching, sports and wildlife conservation projects in Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Namibia and South Africa
Abroadly helps you find and apply for the perfect volunteer, intern, or teach abroad program. 150 trips worldwide and counting! ✈️
Provide a safe, structured and social platform with volunteer travel opportunities available from 1-40 weeks. Registration costs and ongoing support costs.
Global Crossroad offers numerous and exciting abroad experiences to international volunteers in 18 marvelous countries located throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
🥇 World leader for volunteering abroad 🌍 50+ destinations. 💕 Over 300 volunteer projects
IFRE Volunteers is one of the leading volunteer abroad organizations in the world, and we offer the most affordable programs in the industry without sacrificing the high level of quality, safety and service we provide to all of our international volunteers.
The mission of RCDP is to encourage international volunteers to contribute in sustainable community development that benefits the underprivileged and extremely poor.
African Impact are leaders in the volunteer travel industry in Africa and experts in responsible volunteering, gap year programs, study abroad service learning, high school travel and internships in Africa.
Travel differently, connect globally ✨
Experience real travels & real people~ 50k+ unique exchanges worldwide.
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a worldwide movement to link visitors with organic farmers, promote a cultural and educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming and sustainability practices.
HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, farmstays, hobby farms, lifestyle blocks, homestays, ranches, lodges, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
Skills Based Placements
ACDIVOCA.org: Start here if you have a specialized skill that doesn’t appear in this list. They offer a wide range of niche projects.
Child Family Health International: Places health science students on two- to eight-week global health education programs.
CNFA.org: Farmer to farmer programs for those skilled and trained in agriculture.
DoctorsWithoutBorders.org: Accomplished doctors compete to work within this organization. Acceptance is highly competitive.
Engineers Without Borders: A wonderful way for engineers to train and empower communities with a highly useful skill set.
Financial Services Volunteer Corps: Ideal for professional accountants, financial advisors, and anyone in this specialized niche.
International Senior Lawyers Project: Requires volunteers to have roughly ten years of experience in law.
International Executives Service Corps: Places volunteers with businesses and projects that benefit from highly experienced leaders.
Kiva Fellows: Practical, hands-on experience in microfinance; highly selective long-term programs.
United Nations Volunteers: Provides competitive and skill-based volunteer opportunities for volunteers from more than 160 countries.
Winrock International: Skill-based volunteer placements in a wide range of areas (agriculture, business, livestock, gender, governance) for American volunteers all over the world. Competition is high, and programs are funded in partnership with US Aid.
World Nomads Travel Insurance Travel insurance for independent travellers. Buy, extend & claim online, even after you’ve left home.
The Underground Guide to International Volunteering – Kristy Henderson (the Nerdy Nomad) has put together a very valuable resource to help you learn about international volunteering. Her eBook will save you dozens of hours of scouring the internet for legitimate and affordable volunteering opportunities.
Warning: Some disturbing stories
The vast majority of people are kind hearted and selflessly working for the good of humanity and the planet. However, you need to be aware of a darker side to the current volunteering model which has become a business which is worth 3 billion dollars each year.