Low-Cost Volunteer Programs in Latin America
- Argentina) Union de lost Pibes
- (Bolivia) Proyecto Horizonte
- (Bolivia) Condor Trekkers
- (Brazil) Casa do Caminho
- (Brazil) AEC-TEA
- (Chile) VE Global
- (Chile) Ama Torres del Paine
- (Chile) English Opens Doors
- (Colombia) Fundacion Mariposas
- (Colombia) Healing Colombia
- (Colombia) Heart for Change
- (Ecuador) IVHQ
- (Ecuador) Teach English, Volunteer
- (Ecuador) Sky Ecuador
- (Ecuador) Working Boys' Center
- (Ecuador) Ecuador Volunteer
- (Guatemala) Maya Pedal
- (Guatemala) Ninos de Guatemala
- (Guatemala) Mayan Families
- (Guatemala) Safe Passage
- (Guatemala) IVHQ
- (Guatemala) Trama Textiles
- (Guatemala + Nicaragua) Quetzal Trekkers
- (Haiti) All Hands Volunteers
- (Honduras) Honduras Children
- (Honduras) ProNino
- (Honduras) Farm of the Child
- (Mexico) Casa de Los Angeles
- (Mexico) Oaxaca Streetchildren
- (Nicaragua) Quetzaltrekkers
- (Nicaragua) Building New Hope
- (Nicaragua) Fabretto Foundation
- (Peru) Bemelsa
- (Peru) Fairplay
- (Peru) IVHQ
- (Peru) Threads of Peru
Low-Cost Volunteer Programs in Africa
- (Cameroon) IDA Africa
- (Cameroon) United Action for Children
- (Cameroon) Reach Out Cameroon
- (Cameroon) CAPEC
- (Ghana) Anmchara International School
- (Ghana) Cheerful Hearts Foundation
- (Ghana) Care Net Ghana
- (Ghana) Youth Creating Change
- (Ghana) Volta Aid Foundation
- (Kenya) Tumaini Miles of Smiles
- (Kenya) Volunteers in Community Development
- (Kenya) IVHQ
- (Kenya) Lisha Mtoto
- (Lesotho) Help Lesotho
- (Malawi) Back to School Foundation
- (Madagascar & Equatorial Guinea) The Ladybug Project
- (Tanzania) Hostel Hoff
- (Tanzania) Ujamaa Hostel
- (Togo) PDH-Togo
Low-Cost Volunteer Programs in Asia
- (Cambodia) Volunteer in Cambodia
- (Cambodia) Angkor Association for the Disabled
- (Cambodia) Sustainable Cambodia
- (Cambodia) Angkor Hospital for Children
- (Cambodia) Sorya
- (Cambodia) UBELONG
- (Cambodia) Sangkheum Center For Children
- (India) ICA-India
- (India) Nirvana School
- (India) Alice Project
- (India) BGM Social Service Centre
- (Laos) Equal Education For All
- (Laos) UBELONG
- (Nepal) Tender Loving Care
- (Nepal) Ajamvari Farm
- (Nepal) Volunteer to Learn
- (Thailand) DEPDC/GMS
- (Thailand) In Search of Sanuk
- (Thailand) Akha Asia
- (Thailand) Baan Dada
- (Vietnam) SJ Vietnam
- (Nepal) Alternative Volunteer
Low-Cost Volunteer Programs Worldwide
Offer Something in Addition to Your TimeVolunteering your time, however long it ends up being, is a huge donation no matter what. If you are a short-term volunteer (or even if you aren't), don't forget to think about what else you can offer to a project after your time is up:
Create a lasting relationshipBecause short-term volunteers typically aren't cost-effective (unless they're providing a service that requires a high skill level, like with Operation Smile), many organizations are still willing to take them on in the hopes that they can form a sustainable relationship that lasts long after the volunteer leaves. Maybe you only volunteer for one week, but continue fundraising for the organization once you return home.
Spread the word about your projectWord of mouth is huge for small projects, and it's the driving power behind social media success stories -- remember that Brooklyn school that got $1 million after appearing on Humans of New York?
Tell others about your volunteer project and share your experiences on social media or in an email to friends and family. You never know who else might be inspired to go, especially once they find out from you how affordable it was!
Bring donations with youLets be real for a moment: sometimes all an organization or development project needs is funding or resources they otherwise don't have access to. Schools need books, hospitals need medicine. Ask what sort of material good you can bring with you when you volunteer, or consider looking at projects like Pack For A Purpose, who match donations from international travelers directly with organizations in need abroad.
Why Should You Pay to Volunteer?Whether you are a student, retired teacher, or a married couple, you'll pretty much always save money by volunteering independently, as opposed to volunteering through a large organization. Why then, would anyone to volunteer, when you could just donate the money to the project instead? What's the benefit of paying to volunteer abroad?
You should consider paying to volunteer if...
- This will be your first time abroad.
- You are concerned about traveling and living on your own in a foreign country.
- You have a very specific type of field you want to work in and want support to make those connections
- You have a limited amount of time to make arrangements and volunteer.
You will also have support in the country to answer your questions and deal with any emergencies that may arise. For plenty of people, this level of comfort and safety is worth the cost - but it doesn't necessarily appeal to everyone.
There are also projects, like the Progressio International Citizen Service program, open to UK citizens, that ask participants to fundraise a certain amount of money, which will then go to the beneficiaries and covering volunteer costs, rather than asking for a program fee -- best of both worlds, right?
Being short on cash doesn't mean you have to give up your plan to do some good in the world -- it just means you have to look a little harder to find the right opportunity. There are effective volunteer programs out there for every budget, and there's nothing wrong with looking for an opportunity that will allow you to save your money for another good cause.