Crowdfunding and Volunteering Abroad
By Brittany Edwardes
So You Want to Volunteer Abroad?
Volunteering abroad has become a popular way for people and organizations to take a direct role in finding solutions for the problems that they are passionate about, while making real connections around the globe and gaining new skill sets. For almost any cause, there are great opportunities to volunteer abroad. You can work in education, HIV/AIDS and health care, environmental conservation, community development, and many other fields. Although people of all ages volunteer abroad, it is becoming a rite of passage for many young people, as they seek to find ways to use their own talents and skills to create positive change in the world.
Volunteering abroad can be an amazing and eye-opening experience, and is a significant and effective way for people to tackle their social concerns through direct action. However, many people find themselves unable to volunteer abroad for one reason– the price tag.
Volunteering abroad...isn't free?
While it seems natural that volunteer work would be free, organizations and volunteer abroad projects often fund themselves to an extent through the fees that they charge volunteers and the work that the volunteers do. Because of a lack of funding and resources to address the many needs in a community, organizations often have to charge for the coordination of the volunteers that come to help them. So, when you pay to volunteer abroad, it helps to think of it as a further donation you're making to the cause that you are passionate about; by paying to volunteer you are supporting the cause with both your money and your time.
Aside from program and placement fees, there are many other costs associated with international volunteer work, such as plane tickets, accommodations, food, and vaccinations. Despite their desire to travel and to work in a meaningful way, many people find that they simply can't afford the expense, and find it difficult to raise the support needed from friends and family to help out. That's where Volunteer Forever comes in!
And the Solution is...Crowdfunding!
You have probably heard of crowdfunding, as it has become a popular way to help fund endeavors like small businesses or artistic projects. The concept is that someone with a specific project, like a documentary film or an innovative new mobile app, creates a campaign on a crowdfunding website, describing the details of the project and the amount of money they need to raise to complete it. They then share it with their friends, family, and other networks to gather support and donations. People who want to support the project donate to the campaign through the website. Crowdfunding has been highly effective in campaigns like nonprofit businesses and product development, and Volunteer Forever is excited to bring the concept to the world of volunteering abroad. The crowdfunding site works as an axis that connects, in our case, the volunteer in need of financial support with those who have the resources available to fund them.
Our goal at Volunteer Forever is to help you raise the funds for your volunteer trip while also creating a way for people to support passionate volunteers in effective projects. In donating to a specific volunteer's experience, donors are able to directly assist a project by supporting the on-the-ground work that they want to see done.
Crowdfunding for volunteering abroad has the potential to change the industry of international volunteering. Through Volunteer Forever, we help volunteers leverage the support of their communities and networks in a way that engages everyone for a good cause. Rather than just bringing a volunteer to a community that needs them, we are changing the system in a way that unites everyone– communities, social networks, volunteers, and those in need– to make the world just a little bit better.
Ready to get started or want more tips? Check out: "Fundraising to Volunteer Abroad: A How-To Guide"