Volunteers Organizations: Find a Meaningful Volunteering Opportunity Part 3

Volunteers Organizations; fiercely independent, adventurous and have time to do research? Organizing your own placement could be a little daunting, but with tenacity and patience there’s no reason you can’t make this approach happen. By going it alone, you forfeit the high costs associated with some volunteer placement organizations, but remember all the arranging, organizing and palaver falls on you. It’s your responsibility to shoulder.

I have no doubt there’ll be times when you’re out of your comfort zone. You’ll need to call upon reserves of self reliance, motivation and perseverance to stay the course; and of course the ability to look on all situations with a large dollop of humour.

volunteer organizationsVolunteers organizations; lend a hand where it counts. Photograph courtesy of A Broader View

In going the independent route, many of the in-country organizations, charities and local NGO’s you’ll be contacting are small in scale and don’t have dedicated volunteer programmes. This allows for greater scope in tailoring your role to suit your skills and attributes.

For the budget conscious, the costs are lower; it will depend on the organization whether any fees or a donation is required prior to getting underway. But unlike structured and organized volunteer programmes, you’re not paying an agency or organization to help you out. You do all the work; the research, the organizing, the getting there and the getting back – it’s all yours.

In organizing your own placement, you have the flexibility to adapt your volunteering around your travel plans or visa-versa and not being tied to an itinerary set by an agency. Through organizing your own accommodation, entertainment, shopping and day-to-day chores you’ll have a deeper level of interaction with community you’re in and in turn, a greater level of appreciation for it.

Do be aware this approach is hard work. Prior to going to India I spent many hours poring over numerous organizations and NGO’s. It was literally too time-consuming in the end and I ultimately went for the agency approach. Without the benefit of a third party agency, it was very hard to vet organizations and know whether they would meet my expectations.

For help understanding a more structured approach to volunteering, click here to view Volunteers Organizations Part 1 and Volunteers Organizations Part 2.

Importantly, know that by going it alone there will probably be little or no in-country support should things go awry. But that’s what you should expect if taking the independent approach!

A great web directory that acts as a hub for independent, grass-route volunteer initiatives around the world.

True Travellers is a forum and web directory for many low-cost volunteer opportunities throughout Asia, Africa, Central and South America.

A great resource with a Central and South American focus, Volunteer South America lists free and low-cost volunteer opportunities.

Specialising in connecting applicants to non-profit organizations in Central and South America. Focus is on free and low-cost volunteer opportunities.

WSE specialise in advice for people who want to undertake volunteer work or are seeking paid work in the international development sector. They publish an annual volunteering opportunities guide covering 350 organizations.

World Wise Volunteering is online database with over 1700 volunteer organizations based in the UK and abroad and claims to have 1.5 million placement opportunities.

A database of community and non-profit organizations, listing paid and volunteer positions of both domestic and international origin.

If you’ve got a few volunteers organizations in mind, try and track down previous volunteers for advice. People who have been there and done it are an invaluable resource. If taking the independent route, your challenge will be to garner as much information as possible about your placement and all salient issues surrounding your proposed volunteering escapade so an informed decision can be made.

Best of luck with your research, the links above should give you a good place to start. Happy volunteering!

Find a Volunteering Opportunity Part 1

Find a Volunteering Opportunity Part 2

Return to Volunteer Work Overseas

Return to Adventure Travel Advice