Volunteer Abroad: Why do I need to pay to Volunteer?

Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko Ntombela

July 3, 2019

Volunteering abroad is much more than just packing your bags and going to a foreign destination. It takes careful and strategic planning from the team on the ground and the team organizing it. Part of your fee goes to ensuring that this process is as smooth as possible.

Below we’ll be breaking down every single aspect that goes into ensuring these volunteer programs work and make a lasting difference to the communities in which we operate. 

Interested in volunteering abroad this year? We’ll send you more info!


So where does your money go?

We believe in being transparent about finances and only work with partners who can clearly show where the fees paid by volunteers go. For most of our programs, it looks as follow: 


Volunteer Cost Breakdown



Why you need to pay to volunteer: Zanzibar volunteer house

Our beach-side volunteer house for our teaching and community development program in Zanzibar.

When you enter a volunteer program you will get accommodation included in the fee along with the cleaning, maintenance, electricity and all the utilities needed to make you feel as comfortable as you possibly need to be. You will not only be staying in a great place, but you’ll also be sharing with like-minded people from all walks of life who are looking to make a difference in the world.

Airport pickup

Why you need to pay to volunteer : Airport pickup

Our airport pick-up is such a vital part of any of our programs to make our participants feel as comfortable as possible.

This is something that’s so crucial in making someone feel welcome and safe as a volunteer, far away from home. When you land in a completely foreign country, you’ll want someone to be there to take you to your destination. We have an airport pick-up for each and every one of our programs, you will never feel like you are left high and dry on your first day on the program. This is why we feel this is such an important aspect of the whole program. 


Why you need to pay to volunteer: staff training

It takes time and money to train the staff that we need to run and manage the different volunteer programs.

Every volunteer program will involve some sort of training for the staff and the people involved, this type of essential training costs money and takes time. Every member of staff needs to be paid and the only way this can happen is if we charge a fee. This fee will go a long way to ensuring that the people on the ground, helping you to have the best volunteer experience possible, are also taken care off and can commit to seeing the volunteering projects through in the long-term.


Why you need to pay volunteer: Operations

Operations are part of the huge team involved in organizing a successful volunteer program.

Operational costs are the major portion of any project and include everything from food and transport to staffing costs for things like 24/7 support and continuous operation of the project. Included here will also be tools and equipment needed, for example, teaching materials for schools.

Marketing and awareness

Why you need to pay to volunteer: marketing and awareness

This is one of the aspects of the programs that take the most time and effort, making people aware of the programs is absolutely crucial.

This will include all costs associated with generating awareness about a project and getting volunteers signed up to the right project for them. This helps us recruit the best possible volunteers and match them with the most suitable program while raising awareness for the needs of the environments or communities in which we operate.

Program Development

Why you need to pay to volunteer: Program Development

Program development is so vital in making sure this is a sustainable program.

Profits made from volunteer projects are invested in the development of new projects. We spend a great deal of time investigating prospective projects and partners to work with, vetting each one carefully, according to strict criteria. These funds are then also used to set up new programs and ensure they’re ready to start advertising for and accepting new impactful volunteers.

Minimizing the financial strain on the communities

Why yo need to pay to volunteer: blogpost

Every volunteer program has a whole team behind it that makes it possible, these are the unsung heroes who ensure everything runs smoothly and that every volunteer leaves the program satisfied.

It’s a really important question and one we get asked a lot! After all, you’re giving of your time and skills to help those in need, why should you then also pay for the opportunity to give?

If you’re not paying for the expenses related to hosting you, someone else is – this would usually be someone in the community in which you’ll be working. Many of these communities are under a serious financial strain, even without having to cover the expenses like food, utilities, transport, and lodging associated with hosting a volunteer.

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