Global Volunteers

Rating: 4.65 stars   26 reviews

Issues: International, Philanthropy, Economic Development, Microfinance, International Exchange

Location: 375 E Little Canada Rd St. Paul MN 55117 USA

Mission: Global Volunteers encourages and enables individuals and families to spend short periods of time working with and learning from local people in host communities throughout the world. Founded in 1984, Global Volunteers is a private, nonsectarian, apolitical nonprofit corporation, established to help promote justice and peace through mutual understanding. Each year, over 200 teams of volunteers work at the invitation and under the direction of local people and project directors on six continents
Geographic areas served: China, Costa Rica, Cook Islands, Ecuador, Ghana, Greece, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Tanzania, USA, Vietnam
Programs: Projects include: Nurturing at-risk children (caring for children in orphanages, hospital wards, day care centers and childrens' homes); Education (tutoring students, teaching conversational English, assisting in high school sciences and math and elementary level summer school classrooms); community infrastructure (constructing school buildings, health clinics, community centers, building tables, chairs, desks, assembling playground equipment, and painting homes, etc); Health care (training rural health care providers in nutrition, hygiene and other public health issues, checking for high blood pressure and diabetes, extracting teeth, examining newborns, performing surgeries for physically disabled children, and providing prenatal care

Write a Review
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Filter Reviews by Role

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 4 stars  

I have a husband that does not like to travel so this is the way I can see the world. I just took my 10th Global Volunteers trip and traveled to Chennai, India. This is also the first time there was a husband and wife team. I enjoyed the family and 4 year old son very much. This is the way to travel to see, feel, and stand in their shoes for a culture experience.
Margaret Gabriel, Columbus, Ohio

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

During my 23 years associated with Global Volunteers I have had the pleasure of befriending many wonderful people. I have learned and witnessed the common thread of humanity—the desire by all to provide for their families and the hope and optimism for a better life for their children.

I believe what makes GV unique is our philosophy of service. First, we only go to where we are invited. We partner with the community and work on projects of their choice. Our only requirement is that it serves the community and that they provide an equal number of community volunteers. Local people are in charge.

This allows us the opportunity to work together with our new found friends on a common goal and share our life experiences. We learn of their day to day struggles and share with them “life in America”—the good and the bad.

We depart proud of our contributions but realizing that we have received so much more than we have given.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

Global Volunteers will change your life. It is an organization with integrity at its core, with unassailable foundational principles of bottom-up international development, and with talented and committed staff and founders. I have been involved with Global Volunteers since 1994 as a volunteer, a team leader, and a National Board of Directors member. Every team is a unique experience, guided by the needs and direction of the community and the diverse personalities of the local people and the volunteers. Service learning often seems like an abstract ideal; with Global Volunteers it becomes a reality. You have the chance to enact the Philosophy of Service in real time with concrete results (and you should read it thoroughly as well). Life is short, get out there and volunteer!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

My three daughters and I have volunteered on several trips. Our first trip was working on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 2005. We have been on three subsequent trips, and we are hoping to volunteer again with Global Volunteers this summer. Initially, my husband was very concerned about our safety, but Global Volunteers is a top-knotch organization. Our Global Volunteers' experiences have truly positively impacted our lives in many, many ways.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

Global Volunteers has been a part of my world for over 15 years. My first experience with Global Volunteers was in Metcalfe, Mississippi, a town of 1400 African Americans. Our volunteer group consisted of 10 Caucasian women ages 17 to 84, none of whom knew one another. The community was gracious and welcoming. The volunteers were fun and anxious to serve. Most of us had never had the chance to peer into another community so closely. We learned and bonded quickly; through stories, laughter, and working alongside one another. Since then, I have had the privilege to volunteer as a team leader to various states and countries, on behalf of Global Volunteers. Global Volunteers is one of the best run organizations in which I have ever been associated. For individuals with open minds, flexible mindsets, and the desire to contribute toward a more just and peaceful world, there is no better organization. Join us! You will be rewarded beyond what you can imagine.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

Good programs, well planned and executed! I speak from experience - as a volunteer team leader who has led several Global Volunteers teams. (Full disclosure: I am also a former staff member, having worked there from '97 to 2007.) This is a great way to immerse yourself in another culture and meet the local people on their terms. In addition to helping others, you can also learn a lot about yourself through these programs. And you really are making a difference. Thumbs up!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a Global Volunteers team leader since 2000. I have lead about 50 teams.......and I am passionally dedicated to the philosophy of the organization. Among the many goals is to build relationships and friendships between people.....one person at a time. When we go to a site....we go as "servant learners" meaning we do what the community wants us to do....and we respectfully follow their direction. I have met extraordinary people in each community I have volunteered in. The men and women on the teams I have lead are equally dedicated to the work we do.....so I see many of the same people on other teams. My husband and I went on our first team to Xian China in 1999. I have been a loyal volunteer ever since.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a team leader for Global Volunteers for 12 years. My husband and I went on our first team with Global Volunteers to Xian China in 1999. I volunteered at a private school teaching English and my husband worked with a group of business men and women. It was our first experience volunteering with a non profit organization. We were so impressed with the integrity of the organization. Everything they told us was as they said. We were sent valuable and useful information that shared with us the philosophy of the organziation. We found their goals and values to be exactly what we were looking for. The goal of the organiation was to build friendships and promote peace....one person and one community at a team. We had a team leader who guided us through team building meetings.....and then saw to it that we were taken care of for the three weeks we volunteered. We stayed in comfortable accomodations....were treated to decilcious meals and were assigned to interesting work sites. We have maintained email relationships with many of the people we met in the community. I was so impressed with the organization that I have since become a volunteer team leader. I went through an intensive training program in St. Paul MN.....and over the past twelve years have lead about fifty teams. I am more and more committed to the philosphy of the organization.....being servant learners....doing what the community asks of us and following directions in a respectful way. I am very proud to be a Global Volunteer.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I became a Team Leader for Global volunteers in 1998, and lead many groups while living in China. I think An Wei and Bud Philbrook and Michell Gran should get the Nobel Peace Prize for their relationship by building the first NGO school in An Shung village. This was dedicated to An Wei's daughter, An Lin, who lost her life in America while studying English to take over the China Program. She was my translator. I thought of her as my daugher. This time in my life was the most significant experience in peace-making. I cannot express my feelings more that saying it was friendship and love. My experiences also led me to Hawaii and the project in Kauai which was helping eradicate invasive species in the tropical jungles. I have been to Mexico. The experience of Global Volunteers is awesome. It is an adventure. It takes a flexible person ready to drop their expectations of how things should be done, and following the direction of the local people. It is all around a first class operation of change. Maria Maki, Minnesota

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have completed 20 service programs with Global Volunteers, volunteering primarily in Poland. The programs are well coordinated on both ends of the volunteer experience -- before leaving and when on site. The reason these programs work is that Global Volunteers helps other accomplish their own goals. Volunteers don't come in and tell others what they need. Volunteers also work hand in hand with people in the host site. It's a great program.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My wife and I traveled with Global Volunteers to Pommern, Tanzania three times over the past four years. We were impressed with their Philosophy of Service and how it is implemented every day during the service program. Global Volunteers took care of all our basic needed throughout each service trip. We had meaningful work in the community every day. We helped teach English and other subjects in the Secondary School, we worked on various work and minor construction projects side by side with community members, we helped weigh babies during a monthly well baby clinic, and we learned a considerable amount about local and national Tanzanian culture and society. Global Volunteers' in-country staff are very well trained. They work with volunteers to fit volunteers' skills and interests with those of the community to maximize their benefits. They seek opportunities for volunteers to interact with the community to promote inter-cultural awareness. We had a wonderful experience each time we traveled with Global Volunteers and plan to do so again many times in the future.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar