How to Find a Cheap Volunteer Abroad Program
You’ve decided to volunteer abroad. Great! But, after a few hours of searching, you realize that finding an organization and program in your budget is going to be a challenge. You’ve found many programs that interest you but they all cost a small fortune. Your not cheap, but you want a cheap volunteer abroad program. Don’t worry, there is a way around the hefty fees.
When I was in Argentina, there were a number of us volunteers doing similar work with the same organization. We all volunteered at CEDHA in Cordoba, Argentina. The thing was, everyone arrived at the organization through different paths. Some found it on online their own, some found it when they were travelling through the Cordoba, and some were placed there through a company based out of Europe. As a result, everyone paid different amounts to volunteer. I had received a grant from Canada to work their for 6 months. I know this is not really volunteering, but I was considered a volunteer. The ones who found it online did not pay anything, nor did the individuals who found the organization while in Argentina. The ones that had purchased their trip through an organization in Europe had paid a few thousand Euros! This money did not end up in the hands of CEDHA. In fact, if memory serves correct, CEDHA didn’t even know that people were paying to volunteer.
Companies that sell meaningful travel trips find local organizations that accept volunteers. They then organize trips and charge fees for this service. You are able to review the programs they offer on their websites. They will always have an itinerary or fact section describing what is included in their programs. This is where the gold mine lies for independent travellers. These companies have essentially done the research for you.
When you find a program you like on a website that offers volunteer abroad programs, check out the program’s itinerary. Try to find the local organization where the volunteering is going to be done. Then, email or call the organization directly.
Here’s an example. I found a program called “The Ultimate Lion Experience, South Africa.” In the fast facts section on the site it said: “Location of project: Near Sandton, Johannesburg, in Gauteng Province, South Africa”
I Googled: “Near Sandton, Johannesburg, in Gauteng Province, South Africa lions”
This search resulted in a number of Lion Parks. Pretty good starting point. If I were to take it further, I’d then email or phone these places directly and see if they accept volunteers or know of any organization in the area that would.
There you go. Hopefully, this trick will help you find a cheap volunteer abroad program.
(Don’t forget to check out our list of volunteer abroad program links)