Do you think it is fair to pay for volunteering? - TravelPUNK Backpacker College Student Budget Travel Message Boards!

Go Back   TravelPUNK Backpacker College Student Budget Travel Message Boards! > Backpacker College Student Travel Message Boards > Studying, Living, Working, Volunteering Abroad, Expats

Studying, Living, Working, Volunteering Abroad, Expats Currently or planning on studying abroad, living abroad, working abroad, and volunteering abroad. Expats talk for all of you Huck Finn's out there. You rebels with a without a cause. Summer travel is child's play to you.

View Poll Results:
Yes 10 31.25%
No 15 46.88%
Undecided 7 21.88%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll See Europe by train
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-01-2006, 08:17 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 4
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Hi everyone! With so many companies around offering volunteering placements overseas, I was just wondering: how many of you thought it was fair to have to pay for the opportunities they have available?
Olympic Parrot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2006, 04:05 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Posts: 1,315
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via AIM to foofiter Send a message via MSN to foofiter Send a message via Yahoo to foofiter Send a message via Skype™ to foofiter

I went with undecided. If it is a true volunteer organization then it is possible to be fair to charge. If they provide (not arrange, PROVIDE) accomodation, food, transport, etc then it can be fair. On that note, I would explore how much it really cost for that on your own and compare.

I personally wouldn't pay to volunteer outside of those specs. I think paying in my own time and sweat is more than enough. If I wanted to give money I can do that from right here.

My 2 cents...


"To Alcohol! The cause of--and solution to--all life's problems." -- Homer J. Simpson
"I didn't get to where I am today worrying about how I am going to feel in the morning." -- Ron White (Blue Collar Comedy Tour)
"I was born to lose and destined to fail." -- Mike Ness, Social Distortion
"Eat healthy, exercise daily, die anyway" -- My motto
"Everyone I know, goes away, in the end...I will let you down, I will make you hurt..." -- Johnny Cash (NIN Cover of "Hurt")

I am traveling around the world until I find something that makes me want to stop. I am an aspiring photographer and hope to find whatever it is I am looking for...
foofiter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2006, 05:31 PM   #3
TPunk Emeritus
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: From Aussie, but living in Canada for now
Posts: 1,794
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via MSN to LostFarmboy

hmmmm....i went with no, but it's a hard question to answer, volunteer work is a very sensitive topic.

My theory is that if they are truly trying to do something good for a community, with the support of that community, they will not try to make money off those that are willing to help. Sure, you may have to pay for your own food and accomodation (although, like Foo said, the work you do should cover that), but paying for anything more is just rediculous.

If they are willing to try and make money off tourists for "volunteer" work, then i would wonder if it was just some money making scheme instead of a true volunteer program to benefit a community. I think a lot of the volunteer programs out there do not really provide many, if any, benefits to the community they are supposedly helping. They are more about some dude making money by charging tourists to build some useless building in a community that doesn't even have running water, just so that tourist can beef up their resume a bit. I think that the money spent on these sorts of projects could be utilized in a much more effective way.

Like i said, it's a sensitive topic, and not nearly as black and white as people may think.

Sorry to anyone i have offended.
My adventures:
LostFarmboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2006, 09:08 PM   #4
To Smart For Mensa
TheJake's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Salt Lake City
Posts: 5,818
Thanks: 3
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Send a message via AIM to TheJake Send a message via MSN to TheJake Send a message via Yahoo to TheJake Send a message via Skype™ to TheJake

I grew up with my dad being the business director for an NPO outside of chicago. Granted it was a christian youth camp but when people came to volunteer for us, we housed them and fed them as a show of gratitude.

Personally I think this whole business of paying the companies and then on top of that, paying your own room and board to volunteer is ridiculous. I know for a fact I will never do it. If i wish to volunteer someplace then I will volunteer there and take care of my own room and board and all that but I will not pay them on top of it.
Adventure needs to be as much about discovering yourself as it is about discovering the world.
TheJake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2006, 08:49 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 158
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

I went for yes because in most of the cases ive researched they provide free accommodation, so as long as they are asking for a reasonable amount then its fair i reckon.

I have researched companies that ask for anything between 150EURO a week to 1,000EURO a week so i would be a lot more sceptical about the companies asking for the higher level

Dance like no-one's watching
Sing like no-one's listening
Love like you've never been hurt
And eat chocolate like it won't make you fat
Chocolaty Claire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2006, 01:43 PM   #6
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 91
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via MSN to rae_of_sunshine

I wanted to volunteer in Peru this summer, but it cost $3000 to go for a month. I think thatīs crazy, it includes room and board, but Iīm pretty sure it doesnīt cost that much a month to live in Lima. And work for free. Iīm sure it would be a great experience though! I looked at a few different companies but they were all around the same price.
"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die tomorrow" -James Dean

"Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question, yes is the answer." -a t-shirt

"A fly canīt bird, but a bird can fly" -Winnie the Pooh
rae_of_sunshine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2006, 02:52 AM   #7
TPunk Recognized
MeTurk's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,590
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via Skype™ to MeTurk

I could see how there'd be administrative costs, if they have a website and need to conect to that website from remote locations that's going to cost money but it should be minimal if they get allot of people going.
"It's nice to have a nun around. Gives the place a bit of glamour." Fr Ted
Couchsurfer (:_irritainment_
MeTurk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2006, 01:57 PM   #8
TPunk Emeritus
LiveFreeorDie's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Newly relocated to C-bus - USA
Posts: 2,900
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

At the end of the day a lot fo the funds are used to help fund the charity. If you go volunteer at an orphanage in Nepal, where do you suppose the money comes from to feed the kids? A lot of it comes from the fees you pay. I agree that the posibility exists that some agencies may be skimming some of these funds and that is why it pays to do your homework, but at the end of the day, they are looking to attract funding, not just labor.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

"The plural of anecdote is not data"
LiveFreeorDie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2006, 10:35 AM   #9
TPunk Recognized
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: somewhere...
Posts: 493
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via AIM to goyincognito Send a message via MSN to goyincognito

it depends entirely on what you're getting for your money...if they're obviously doing it to make profits, and said profits are obviously not being reinvested into the work you're doing, then forget it.

otherwise, if it's designed to cover expenses, materials, room and board, etc, then it's obviously worth it.

it's extremely difficult to do development-type work and it takes a lot of money. that's why NGOs often work with governments to accept massive grants from governmental organizations while accepting provisos such as putting signs or other such things from said governments on the projects they finish.

so it makes sense to me that they charge nominal fees. just shop around and make sure these fees are reasonable depending on the work you're doing (building stuff might carry a higher fee since the fees probably go to getting building materials as well as housing for volunteers, whereas teaching might not be as expensive. use common sense, mostly.)

also, just remember that a good volunteer position in tandem with the usual suspects (bachelor's degree, foreign language) will make your resume gold-plated.
goyincognito is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2006, 11:10 AM   #10
***** gear guru
kingcrazylegs's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 6,328
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Send a message via ICQ to kingcrazylegs Send a message via AIM to kingcrazylegs Send a message via MSN to kingcrazylegs Send a message via Yahoo to kingcrazylegs

Some places overcharge, but I do understand why it is sometimes necessary for the volunteer to pay. Also, with the up front cost they also weed out most of the people who are doing it for all the wrong reasons!

all that is not given is lost
kingcrazylegs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2006, 04:29 AM   #11
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 31
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

I voted undecided.

In a lot of cases, the money people pay to volunteer there is one of the few sources of income for a project. I understand that they ask you, being a 'rich' person, to donate money to the projects besides just work.

I think it's wrong that these agencies make loads of money off people. I actually know people who work for like working holidays companies, and they earn A LOT of money from their job. So that's where your money goes to, also.
nena is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2006, 03:28 PM   #12
TPunk Emeritus
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Indefinite.
Posts: 2,874
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via AIM to bluepea

It's a really tough question and something I've been researching for months (volunteering abroad). It's much harder to find an organization that you don' t have to pay for/pays you than the other way around. Volunteering abroad and volunteer vacations have become quite trendy. People say they want to go to Africa for 2 weeks to help starving kids and pay a fee for some program and boom. They go, they're done. Everyone's happy.

The thing is, most of these places are low/non profit (the actualy organization you're working for, not the one organizing). It is not cost efficient for them to pay for someone to come "volunteer" for a few weeks. Especially, if its organized through a third party. There's housing costs, food costs, transportation, administration, etc.

At the same time, a LOT of the places that set these up give very little money to the actual organization. What they're doing is something you could do (ie set it up) for little - no costs if you look hard enough/do enough research. You probably won't get food/housing paid for/may have to contribure a minimal amount to it, but it's a small price in comparison to $2000 plus flight.

If you're wanting to go for a long term opportunity - check local job ads and also, get involved with local international NP/NGOs. There are plenty that have small chapters in the States that can give you an opportunity to volunteer abroad long term. Also, consider the Peace Corps, Americorps (locations in Puerto Rico, Guam, America Somoa and the Virgin Islands) and also the UN if you're over 25 and have special skills/education. Working Your Way Around the World is a great book also.

So, to answer your question: if you want to go for a short amount of time/have minimal personal investment aside from when you're there, yes, its totally okay to pay because people who act on your behalf have more resources than you and there are financial investments on your behalf. If you want something to get involved with long term, do some research on organizations in your community that have international branches/do int'l work and get involved with them, or contact an organization like stated above.
~~ Jamie ~~
You give me the most gorgeous sleep That I've ever had And when it's really bad I guess it's not that bad

Have some general questions such as whether or not to get a rail pass or how much money you'll need? Visit here!

First time travelers/travelers with a lot of questions - this forum is for you![b]
bluepea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2006, 07:33 PM   #13
TPunk Emeritus
blinkchick2134's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Here and there
Posts: 1,637
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

I voted yes. Most organizations I've been looking into charge a 'placement fee' usually between $100 and $300. This covers room and board for the term of one's stay. However, most have a minimum time requirement, ex. 6 months. I also don't like these volunteering holidays that are's much cheaper just to up and go rather than arrange everything and pay 5x as much.

"If I had a kid I'd f**k it. Then kill it. Then f**k it again." Seattle 2006

blog of travels and such

Currently located in HAWAII

Been to: Alaska, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Hawaii, Spain, Switzerland - - also meetups in Chicago, LA, and Seattle
blinkchick2134 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Strawberry Fair Cambridge!!!!! JeanB World Festivals, Events, Night Clubbing 0 05-27-2006 04:14 AM
AIR FAIR WATCH! JiveTurkey Travel Budget, Money Matters, Financial Talk 2 03-08-2006 04:00 PM
Volunteering in Nepal Esterina Studying, Living, Working, Volunteering Abroad, Expats 1 11-02-2005 11:34 PM
volunteering beergal Studying, Living, Working, Volunteering Abroad, Expats 3 05-22-2005 08:28 AM
Portugal, fair and ageless! Carisia Europe: Western 11 04-12-2004 08:00 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:05 PM.


Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.2.0

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121