Earlier this year I read number of publications, including Inc.com predict Voluntourism to be one of the largest growth industries in 2018. Increasing awareness of global natural disasters and greater efficiency for disaster relief organizations to assist (and greater accountability and transparency for usage of fundraising dollars appropriately) is generating more opportunities for people to truly help and get to know a community in far off places.
There are hundreds of organizations who offer day volunteering, long weekend and even extended volunteer options.
I spent time volunteering with All Hands and Hearts rebuilding a school in rural Nepal, and was immensely impressed with the organization. On a personal level it was a great opportunity to work alongside locals who were affected by the earthquake in Nepal, meet likeminded travelers, learn new skills (I was building forms to support the second floor of the school), and gain an immense respect for the toughness and determination of the Nepalese people.
On a business side, I learned that All Hands and Hearts has put forth immense efforts to hone their disaster relief process, putting them at the forefront for evaluating and implementing relief and rebuilding projects shortly after major global disasters. They have projects set up globally, and you can volunteer with them for as little as a day or you can stay indefinitely.
When choosing a program be sure to evaluate the cost to you. Many of these organizations charge you a fee to volunteer with their project (All Hands does not charge a fee, but instead asks that you create a fundraising page). This, so they say, covers your living costs while working with them and any extra money goes back to the community. One such program we looked at, which involved cleaning up after cute sun bears (aka mini bears) in Borneo was going to run us $3000.
Also check it Work Away, a platform connecting travelers with short and long term volunteer projects. Work Away has an annual fee, but once you’re signed up you have access to thousands of projects that will provide you with free room and board in exchange for labor.
If you are interested in learning more about All Hands or any other program, check out their page or feel free to shoot me a message or email to learn more.