The very definition of volunteering is a concept of improving quality of life and standard of living with no financial or other type of payment in return. With increasing competition to find work, volunteering is a great way to gain worthwhile experience, help build your CV, and most importantly, do some good in the world.
But does the act of generosity seem to come at a cost, particularly should you choose to volunteer abroad. Despite most people choosing to volunteer in developing regions of the world, where perhaps help is needed the most, they aren’t able to save money from the lower cost of living whilst working. Instead, most people will end up paying hundreds, or even thousands, for the opportunity to volunteer abroad.
However, there are some ways in which people can avoid paying these high prices, as more and more companies are now popping up in response to these high prices, offering help for people to volunteer without breaking the bank.
Volunteering for Free is a company which does exactly what it says on the tin! The company was founded as a result of one individual feeling like their volunteering experience was simply not worth the money they paid for it. In an attempt to bring volunteering back to what it really should be about, they set up a hostel in Tanzania to provide food and accommodation, as well as free volunteering options. The company soon expanded and now works across the globe, working with small hostels to provide similar services and provide an alternative to the more expensive options available today.
Also read: Top 7 Volunteering Niches
This organisation currently just focuses on South America, offering a grass roots option for volunteering. Again, the site was set up by an individual who was surprised by the high costs of volunteering, and seeks to provide backpackers and independent travellers with an alternative. The key difference between this company and others is the amount of support they provide, which is much less than alternatives. This means that it should really only be used by those who are experienced in travelling to these regions in the world and are confident to do most things on their own.
Vaops, this is a larger ‘dictionary’ website which offers experiences all over the world in a wide range of different options to suit everybody through links to other sites. It works under the premise of being a more ethical volunteering experience, with both free and low cost options depending on what exactly it is that you want.
True Travellers is another great organisation which ensures that the price volunteers have to pay is just for the travel out to the company they are visiting, not for the pleasure of volunteering itself. It receives information from non for profit and community based organisations on an international level to provide them with volunteering opportunities. It is also a great website to read and share travel stories and experiences with like minded people.
Using websites like these will ensure that individuals can see the world, help others, and it won’t have to cost them the earth.
Guest Author: Jenny Beswick wrote this article and recruits for Cancer Research UK; Volunteering opens up many travel opportunities, so get exploring what is on offer!
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