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August 29, 2009
9 people found this review helpful

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August 29, 2009
9 people found this review helpful

This organization does not provide any financial or material support to in-country organizations. The organization also does not in any way help overseas organizations obtain such support. Despite this, this organization has US IRS non-profit status, blame the lax US IRS non-profit certification process (note that Cross Cultural can not offer the benefit of fee tax deductibility in the UK or Canada). Public US IRS filings indicate that appx. 4% of the organization's gross revenue of over $10 Million goes to the salary of just 2 people, the executive director and vice president. Ex-recruiters have reported that they are paid a bonus, much like a commission per paying volunteer, the public financial information available was not detailed enough to be conclusive however it does show very high administrative expenses for an organization of its size, over 49%. (The Cross Cultural website claims only 9% of its revenue is used for General & Administrative expense however FAASB standard non-profit accounting rules would include the other categories of expenses listed such as "maintains a website and other web-based information for those interested in learning about CCS" and many other expenses for a total of at least 49% Administrative expense.) The organization appears much like a for profit adventure travel agency instead of a true effort to help overseas. It owns and/or operates hotel like lodging in foreign countries, which they call "Home Bases" The volunteers stay in these hotels, engage in recreation activities, and work minimal schedules as volunteers with in country groups that Cross-Cultural Solutions refuses to identify except to volunteers that have paid. Future volunteers that want to use their financial resources and time to truly help overseas organizations might be better served to find such overseas organizations own their own and to make direct contact. Some former Cross Cultural volunteers reported being fearful about doing this themselves because of language barriers. This fear begs the question of how useful an overseas volunteer they could be without basic familiarity with the local language and indeed, most Cross Cultural volunteers are placed in roles where only the most basic of communication suffices since their volunteer work is to play with and baby sit groups of small children. This is particularly ironic since the amount the typical volunteer spends with Cross Cultural plus airfare and other expenses for the two week experience could provide a half year salary for a trained professional local teacher to truly educate the children in a range of subjects in most of the countries Cross Cultural operates. The local staff of the hotels the organization owns/and operates benefit from the volunteer funds since these funds pay their salaries but it was not possible to determine the level of salary and benefits paid to local staff relative to similar jobs in other local hotels. The average $200 US per day fee paid to Cross Cultural for the experience seems to be more than that of a local 5 star hotel in several of the countries in which it operates albeit with a different, inferior mix of amenities for its volunteer clients. If one adds the airfare, visa, and other expenses a volunteer incurs they could get an all inclusive vacation package to Thailand, Morocco, Brazil, Costa Rica and perhaps other countries Cross Cultural operates for much less, use the savings to make a donation to a local charity and still volunteer if they want to give of their time instead of just lounging on the beach.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

This organization has over $10 Million and uses over 4% of this donated money to pay just 2 people, this is excessive.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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