AMAIDI Volunteering in India

Portal for international volunteers, interns & professionals

Free volunteering abroad. Is it possible?

The dream of every volunteer: to be a volunteer! That is: working for a good cause without being paid for it. But most definitely without HAVING to pay for it. Not so in foreign volunteering. A sometimes hefty sum has to be paid – not even mentioning a flight ticket – before the first voluntary action can come about. In orphanages, hospitals, schools and in grass-roots charitable NGO’s. On top of that, intermediairy organizations – like AMAIDI – are asking money (‘way too much’ according to some) AND the host organizations sometimes demand money too, for guidance, admin, transport and/or meals. Is this really necessary? Is it not possible – with exception to the flight ticket – to do is against paying NO extra money? Or even receiving a stipend, a salary of some sorts for the effort you bring in?

Yes, says an organization such as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Doctors Without Borders, Health Volunteers Overseas, United Nations Volunteers, Flying Docters, International Red Cross and a number of other larger but lesser known INGO’s or sending agencies.

Free volunteering How is this possible? Often through a conglomerate of professionals, organizations, funding agencies/donors and sometimes the government as well. Through provided funds in the home country of the organization, in general. And through extensive requests to generously donate towards the organization.

Is it possible for a small organization like AMAIDI to offer its services for free? To ask for a donation instead?

I don’t think so. first of all: people – volunteers and interns that is – wouldn’t simply know how much to donate. They’d probably donate a fraction of what is needed (assuming that we at AMAIDI know best what is needed) and they’d be asking us for ‘advise’: ‘what should we donate?’, will come close to the question: ‘Okay, so what does it cost?’.

Letting the host-organization pay is a move that we discarded from the start. Most – smaller – organizations don’t have any funds available for anything close to a subscription to an org that provides volunteers. They would not even start to think about having them in the first place when money becomes an issue. Instead, volunteers are paying THEM for made expenses such as mentioned above (admin, guidance etc.)

So what to do?

Perhaps asking an even bigger amount, but from that let money flow to the projects, so that the volunteer does not have to pay there anymore for his/her expenses. This would make the work have a more ‘voluntary feel’ compared to having to raise ones wallet after having worked as a volunteer.

Welcome your feedback on this …

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