Why PAY to volunteer??

13 January 09

This is undoubtedly (and understandably) one of the first questions people ask themselves. The idea of paying to volunteer suprises some people. But is there a logical reason for it? 

If you look around and try to pin-point the volunteer organisations that receive non-paying volunteers it becomes apparent that most if not all, are either multi-national and funded or semi governmental. They also have a tendency to generally accept people who have a professional background suited to the task at hand. And these are all long-term(1yr+) programs.

Just about ALL short-term international volunteer programs have a project fee that covers the expenses of running the program.

Have a look at this extract from "HOW TO LIVE YOUR DREAM OF VOLUNTEERING OVERSEAS" by Joseph Collins, Stefano DeZerega, and Zahara Heckscher

The local organizations and projects with which you volunteer overseas have limited resources and are seldom able to subsidize your trip or cover the costs of hosting you. (These costs include housing, feeding and transporting you, among numerous other things.) If they did have the financial resources to pay an international volunteer, it would almost certainly be more beneficial and cost-effective to hire a local person instead, someone who already knows the language and culture and is likely to stick around. 

Identifying appropriate host organizations overseas and working with them is time-consuming, takes resources, and requires an experienced and professional staff. 

The costs of recruiting volunteers, producing literature, answering the phones, sending mailings, developing a website, and interviewing potential volunteers are significant.

Anyway, at the end of the day, programme fee or no, the important thing is that the communites benefit. Sadly, there are ALOT of good organisations and individuals alike that don't seem to be focusing on SUSTAINABLE change. Placements are becoming dependent on volunteers. With SAIDIA, it's policy

So let us know what YOU think.


SAIDIA Tanzania

"Challenge yourself by helping others..."