Q: Why do I have to pay to volunteer?

A: The minimum contribution fee for your program covers not only the cost of your meals, accommodation, on-site travel (but not airfare), donations to the various community projects, your orientation package, volunteer coordination, program development, country manager expenses, community team recruitment, logistical support, medical emergency evacuation, medical insurance are included and project consultants. Your entire contribution is used to support Globe Aware sponsored programs and development. By spreading the costs across a number of our programs, Globe Aware is able to assist in projects that would otherwise not be able to exist. No funds are collected from any religious or political organization. Less than 12% of your program fee goes toward overhead and administration.

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Direct Program Costs

by Joseph Collins, Stefano DeZerega, and Zahara Heckscher
published by Penguin Putnam, Inc, 2002.

Prospective volunteers are surprised to learn that many programs charge their volunteers a fee to participate. At first, this can seem ridiculous - Why should you pay money to work for free? Aren't you already forgoing income you could be making? Here are a few things to keep in mind while trying to understand why the vast majority of programs charge international volunteers a fee:

  • The local organizations and projects with which you volunteer overseas have limited resources and are seldom able to subsidize your trip or cover the costs of hosting you. (These costs include housing, feeding and transporting you, among numerous other things.) If they did have the financial resources to pay an international volunteer, it would almost certainly be more beneficial and cost-effective to hire a local person instead, someone who already knows the language and culture and is likely to stick around.
  • Identifying appropriate host organizations overseas and working with them is time-consuming, takes resources, and requires an experienced and professional staff.
  • The process of preparing, training, transporting, housing, feeding, and supervising volunteers is not cheap. Additional services such as health care, re-entry assistance, travel medical insurance, and more, all add to the expenses of a program.
    The costs of recruiting volunteers, producing literature, answering the phones, sending mailings, developing a web site, and interviewing potential volunteers are significant.

Arranged Volunteerism: "Why pay money to volunteer?"

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