I remember how nervous I was prior to getting on the flight to New Delhi for my volunteer abroad trip to India. Questions such as “did I pick the right international volunteer organization?”, “am I going to be safe?”, “will I meet other volunteers?”, and “is this going to be a worthwhile experience” were on my mind. But the most immediate question I had was “will someone be there at the airport to pick me up?”
Let’s face it. Volunteering abroad can be a scary process. I volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan with the United States Air Force a few years back, so I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that even I found the process to be a little nerve-wracking. The truth is there aren’t a lot of resources on the web to give you the full confidence to go abroad.
That’s where this site comes in. We want to empower you, the volunteer, with the information to go abroad with confidence. We believe other volunteers are the best sources of information for which placement companies are worthwhile and which are not. We also want to give you the opportunity to ask questions, to connect with volunteers, and to fundraise. Volunteer Forever is the only resource on the web that enables all of these functions in one convenient location. And by doing so, we’re going to build the most comprehensive community and collection of resources for you, the international volunteer.
Reviews of International Placement Companies
I’m a big of Yelp. I think hearing directly from customers on their experiences is the best way to evaluate a service. That’s why we’re applying a similar model on Volunteer Forever. We want you to hear directly from other volunteers who have already gone abroad. With these reviews, you’ll be able to judge whether a particular placement overseas is for you and if the services offered by an international placement company are worth your money. You’ll also hear firsthand how the all the various aspects of the volunteer experience was from the accommodations to the food to the in-country support. We believe knowledge is power and we want to empower you.
Furthermore, you can count on the integrity of this site. Long before we created this site, I posted an honest, but fair review on another Volunteer Abroad review site only to have it deleted the next day. I should not have been surprised- the company I reviewed was the site’s major advertiser. At Volunteer Forever, we will never delete anyone’s review, because it is in our best interest to promote an atmosphere of trust and integrity for our members.
We believe in promoting the free exchange of information among our members, which is why the forum is a central part of our site. You can use the forums to get advice about going abroad, get specific questions answered about your placement, get best practices for making a difference overseas, and get useful advice on fundraising for your trip. The forums are also a great way to meet other volunteers who may be volunteering at your placement at the same time as you. Furthermore, the Volunteer Forever team will be following the forums closely to answer any questions about the volunteer abroad process.
Although many volunteer abroad companies have their own facebook pages and groups for volunteers to connect with one another, our forum allows volunteers working with any placement agency to connect with each other. What I found volunteering abroad is that multiple volunteer abroad companies can have volunteers at a single placement site (i.e. orphanage, school, clinic, etc). Our forum removes those stovepipes so that you have a better chance of connecting with other volunteers.
Connect with Other Volunteers
We believe volunteering abroad can be a less scary experience if you can connect with other volunteers who are going to be at the same placement as you before you go overseas. That’s why we ask that each volunteer who creates a profile page fill out where they are going and when. Doing so enables you to instantly search for volunteers who are going to be abroad with you. For example, you can use the connect feature to search for other volunteer who are going to be in Nairobi with you this summer.
Volunteering abroad can be expensive. From program fees that cover your room & abroad and in-country support to airline tickets and spending money, you can easily spend $3000 for a volunteer abroad trip. However, we believe by being proactive and engaging in fundraising efforts early, you can minimize the amount of money that you have to come out of pocket. Your family and friends will be proud of your decision to do good for the world and will likely be your most ardent supporters. Unlike other sites that charge outrageous fees or keep any money you raise above a certain amount, Volunteer Forever charges a low 7% fee to enable you to raise money effortlessly and we never place any fundraising caps.
Raising money online is much more efficient than going door to door for donations. Also, it’s a method of raising funds in addition to other great fundraising ideas such as car washes, hosting a paid BBQ, babysitting, etc. Furthermore, donors will be more apt to give money when they see you’re fundraising from a trusted volunteering site like Volunteer Forever.
Go Abroad with Confidence!
Armed with the great resources provided by Volunteer Forever and the amazing connections you’ll make with our site, you can go abroad knowing you’ve made informed decisions about the process. And you can be confident that your in-country staff will be there at the airport to pick you up- if not, write about it in your review!