Hello friends! As I mentioned before, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about volunteering abroad – the how, what, and why behind it. So I began this series to showcase some fantastic organizations around the world that are helping you volunteer abroad in the easiest, most efficient ways. I am having them answer your general questions, so you can decide what program and experience is best for you.
We first had Mandi from Go Overseas, and now we have another Q&A from my friends at Give a Day Global. I talked to Kelsey who wears a variety of hats for the small-but-mighty-organization, from coordinating volunteers, vetting nonprofits, to managing marketing. She has kindly taken time out of her day to answer my questions about why volunteering abroad, even just for one day, can make a huge impact.
Am I too old or too young to volunteer for Give A Day Global?
All ages are welcome to volunteer with Give A Day Global! We specifically search for organizations that have projects where all ages and demographics can step in for a day and lend a hand – there are some exceptions but the vast majority of our organizations are open to all. I often get questions from families who are traveling with younger children, “how will my child be incorporated?” When families volunteer with young children they simply get incorporated into the activities and projects going on that day. This is especially effective for projects at schools or daycares. The volunteer’s children have the opportunity to interact with the children from the local community, and can participate in any lessons, activities, or games held that day. We definitely believe that above all, the intercultural connections made regardless of age, is the most influential part of the volunteer day for the volunteers, local community, and nonprofit organizations alike.
What is the difference between paid and unpaid volunteer work?
There are many factors that differentiate between paid and unpaid volunteer work, including the length of volunteering, if the organization is vetted by a third party nonprofit, and if the organization provides room and board, and so on. Since Give A Day Global focuses on one-day volunteer experiences, room and board is not applicable. However, we do fully vet our organizations before scheduling volunteers, including months of research and an in-person visit, ensuring they have sound financials and verify their reputation for integrity and community impact.
Give A Day Global does not require volunteers to pay any fees, though we do strongly encourage volunteers to give a minimum suggested donation to the nonprofit organization they are volunteering at. Our logic is that we want the nonprofits that we work with to make big progress on the important issues that they work on. We met with each of the nonprofits and asked them: “how we can best support you in achieving your goals?” Then we listened. What we heard again and again is that a small financial contribution paired with volunteering would make a world of difference.
We give volunteers the option of either donating out of pocket, or using our crowdfunding platform, and 100% of donations are distributed to the nonprofit where volunteers give a day.
What if I don’t have specific skills to share?
There are two types of volunteering: both skilled and unskilled – Give A Day Global focuses on unskilled volunteering so that any traveler can participate. Our demographic of users are English-speaking travelers, so for some projects that is a skill in of itself. Other projects focus more on creativity or are labor-based tasks. We try to provide a detailed description of the volunteer day and what is expected so the volunteers themselves can decide if it’s a good fit for them before signing up.
How safe is it really?
Everybody has as different safety comfort threshold. We encourage volunteers to look at statistics rather than being scared by hearsay. We think that two great resources for safety before traveling is the US State Department International travel site, as well as The CDC, which is a great place to learn about travel health safety. We agree with The CDC regarding road safety as a top concern that generally gets overlooked as a leading safety concern while visiting other countries.
Will it be too hard/boring/strenuous/tedious?
Since Give A Day Global offers volunteers the opportunity to drop in on a project for a single day, we’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback about the experience including, “It was a meaningful & amazing opportunity,” “Volunteering was a huge highlight of our trip,” and “The experience was truly amazing.”
Learn more about Give A Day Global and connect with them on Twitter! Thank you for sharing Kelsey! I think these answers are extremely helpful for anyone who is looking to dip their toe into international volunteerism. I promise you, you wont regret it!