All Hands Volunteers

Rating: 4.87 stars   146 reviews

Issues: Disaster Aid

Location: 6 County Road Suite 6 Mattapoisett MA 02739 USA

Mission: All Hands Volunteers is a US-based, 501(c)3 non-profit organization, that provides hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy. By supporting volunteers with housing, meals, tools, and organized work at no charge we are able to provide free and effective response services to communities in need. Our programs are directed by the needs of each community in which we work, ensuring a timely, relevant, and culturally sensitive response.
Results: Over the past 8 years your donations have been incredibly effective. Here are a few of the impacts they've made: 34 projects in 8 years 11 international projects 23 United States based projects 11,500+ volunteers from 42 countries 685,000+ hours of service donated 31,500+ families helped $10M+ in donated labor
Target demographics: people affected by natural disasters and rebuild communities
Direct beneficiaries per year: 500+ families following a natural disaster in the USA or around the world.
Geographic areas served: global
Programs: mucking and gutting houses, debris removal, flood water removal, mold treatment and basic rebuild processes.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 20-3414952
508-758-8211
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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

My wife and I had been volunteers for All Hands on 3 different projects. Japan being the last one. We were impressed until we came to Japan, after our experiences there, with the staff that was in charge, we will never volunteer with this organization again. We are also going to pull all our funding's and have our friends do the same. We had never seen so many unqualified disrespectful people in charge, who not only abused their positions but the people we were supposed to helping, too. The volunteers were great and respectful, but the staff was a disgrace. The atrocities we witnessed performed by the male in charge and his boss were unfathomable and I had not seen such a disrespect and ignorance towards a culture and people in such need. We heard from friends that the management had changed for a short time, to a Japanese resident, but that was just for a short time. This resulted in a slight change of staff but still some of the new staff were as bad as the old staff. We prayed everyday that the stories we heard weren't true.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Actually hire qualified staff, apparently from the top down.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

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

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Hire experienced staff and contractors to be there at all times.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

New friends we have acquired and some them will no longer volunteer with this group. We all are looking fr new groups now.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Saddened and disappointed.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I volunteered for the Tsunami Relief Effort in Ofunato, Iwate, Japan in July and Augst of 2011. The focus everyone worked with for both the job at hand and recognizing the cutural differences and modifying our own culture to coincide with the Japanese was stunning. We were able to work at trying to bring hope to a hurting community and was allowed to participate in 2 wonderful Festivals in Japan, Tanabata and Obon, that showed what working together really meant. That I was a part of the work raised me up to new level of pride and wonder at such a tremendous group as All Hands. I am 73, been thru a lot more than the young people there volunteering, but they showed me what focus on an ideal really is.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

How I view getting up in the morning and realize there are people hurting in the world and my concerns are small compared to there's. I'm also very shy and learned that if I want to contribute more to any endeavor I have to forget myself.

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?

2011

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Being less concerned with myself.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Elated and humble.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I worked with All Hands on their transitional schools program in Haiti. I was especially impressed by their apprenticeship program for Haitian volunteers, which saw them partnered up skilled international volunteers. Therefore the legacy was not only the schools they built but the improved outlook for many young Haitians originating from Leogane. I believe this meant All Hands had a far more communicative relationship with the local actors in Leogane; breaking down some of the barriers established by the larger NGOs.

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?

2011

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

All Hands clearly demonstrates to successfully make their mission (of gaining a maximum humanitarian aid impact with a minimum bureaucracy) a reality. One example is visible in the town of Leogane, Haiti, that was on the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake. The All Hands program practically entirely cleared the town of rubble within a year and a half, allowing for reconstruction to commence much faster than in other quake striken areas. Powered by a big group of both national and international volunteers, making use of just a modestly sized managerial layer, and mostly light tools and equipment, All Hands truly has managed to become strongly embedded in the local community, whilst outcompeting and outperforming the majority of big budget INGOs.

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

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I passed through Pisco, Peru in 2007 a few months after the large earthquake there and was so shocked at the destruction that I immediately felt a very strong need to help out in a practical way. Two days later I was welcomed as a new volunteer at the Hands on Disaster Relief (now All Hands Volunteers) compound, set up camp in a small pup tent and was put to work. I thought I would stay for a week but I stayed for a month demolishing severly damaged adobe brick homes and clearing rubble six days a week. Once the sites were cleared families were able to put up a tent to live in or begin construction on a new home. After three weeks I joined a team constructing very simple classrooms to enable local children to return to school. I was instantly struck by the dedication of the 80 or so volunteers already there and those that joined during my tenure, the transparent and egalitarian leadership of the organisation and the easy comradery that unfolded amongst the volunteers. I made friends instantly and this helped me maintain the motivation to keep on with the hard physical and often emotionally charged work. What I liked most about the organisation was that they were offering very practical hands on assistance to people in real need with a minimum of bureacracy involved. People needed rubble cleared so we showed up with wheel barrows and shovels and we worked until the rubble was cleared and then we moved to the next family that needed help. I also liked that there was room within the operation for people with valuable skills to put them to use. Many of the volunteers I worked with were engineers and got to work helping surrounding villages solve difficult engineering dilemas. During my month I met many volunteers from around the world who displayed such a deep sense of dedication to the cause. People who forewent regular wages, comfort and often times their own safety to help people in need. I feel very priviledged to have spent some time with such kind hearted folk and have a real sense of admiration for them and the organisation.

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?

2007

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

You can't select staff member from the list above so I'm not sure if I'm allowed to vote but I'm giving it a shot! I signed up to volunteer with All Hands in 2009. I committed to three weeks. I have been with them ever since, in one capacity or another. I found something truly magical and just couldn't leave such amazing people, such rewarding work and such fantastic places. There is something about disaster that can bring out the best in people. Volunteers share things, they give away what they don't need, they talk to each other and actually listen to the answers. People from the communities we work in take us in, share their lives and stories with us, give us food and gifts from what little a disaster has left them. All Hands volunteers work harder than anyone I've ever seen before, for no monetary reward, for the satisfaction of helping someone who's found themselves in a tough spot. They work at night, in the rain, and on their days off. All Hands provides a space for people, whoever they maybe, wherever they may be from, whatever skills they may have, to give their sweat and smiles and aching muscles to disaster-impacted communities around the world.

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

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

AHV is, quite simply put, like a giant, borderless, family. One that does not care about age, gender, colour, or creed. The only common thing that they ask all volunteers to have is the desire to help. And help, they do. Post disaster, they are among the first on the ground to assess....to see if the model of manpower, of volunteers, can assemble far from their own homelands and find a way to HELP. To dig, to smash, to build, to clean. All Hands fosters the kind of experience for volunteers in disaster response that allows them to become selfless heroes, stronger, smarter and more experienced members of humankind. The personal reward is unspoken and the warrior bond of these volunteers, these human freaks, this giant family, carries you through all your days after the journey ends. And, like family, for many, one disaster leads to another, and good-bye is simply, 'until we meet again'.

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

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I discovered this organization in 2007 in Pisco, Peru while I was backpacking through South America. I planned on trying it out for a week, but believed so much in the services we were providing that I stayed on for another 2 months and then traveled to Bangladesh to help with Project Rayenda. With All Hand's, then 'Hands On', style, volunteers could express their opinions and ideas openly and could be assured that they would be considered, without the huge bureaucracy that is present with other organizations. I feel that in this way we could respond much more quickly to the various needs of the communities we served. This gave us a sense of empowerment and allowed us to feel more than just temporary volunteers, but in a way take ownership of and to always feel a part of this great organization.

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?

2008

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

The best decision I've ever made was to volunteer with All Hands in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. As someone with no prior experience working for an NGO I really had no idea what to expect, but my experience working with the local and international volunteers was truly a life-changing event. All Hands is unique in that they welcome unskilled workers, giving everyday people a chance to do extraordinary things.

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

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

How do I give All Hands six stars? Seven? I joined this NGO in Indonesia in the fall of 2009 and I keep getting my foot stuck in the door disaster after disaster because the people I found feel like home. I was going to stay in Indonesia for three weeks. I stayed there for four months, then Haiti for four months, and then Alabama for three months. I worked primarily as a demolition team leader, taking down damaged homes using sledgehammers, ropes, and homemade scaffolding. In other places, I helped on rubble teams, making immense piles of debris and clearing slabs so families could rebuild. Often scarred and bedraggled looking, our volunteers can best be described as "rabid." Their insatiable need to run with wheelbarrows in challenging conditions to serve complete strangers across the globe is inspirational. They work hard, play hard, often forget to bathe, and are some of the most selfless and compassionate people I've ever encountered. Their resourcefulness in the face of social, cultural, and logistical adversity amazes me. AH's uniqueness stems the organization's ability to channel that passion (skilled or unskilled, experienced or crispy green) into constructive projects fully integrated within a community through strong relationships with local public figures. Even globally-recognized NGOs commented in Haiti that All Hands had an outstanding relationship with the community, initiated by the sight of our volunteers eagerly clearing debris from properties. This group has built schools in places where there are no trees or cement and toilets in places where there is no plumbing. They've turned an abandoned cow pasture into a hotbed of manufacturing that will benefit hundreds of Haitians for years. They've provided potable water for the next five years to thousands in the midst of a cholera epidemic. They've redefined how domestic recovery efforts are organized technologically. Writing this review makes me so mad that I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Tennessee and not a bunk in the Philippines where, just last week, thirty volunteers ran to the IDP camp across the street in the middle of the night to dig ditches in a torrential rain storm.

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

 
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