My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Global Volunteers, St. Paul, MN, USA
I have been on the Global Volunteers trip (to Peru) & I was so impressed with this organization, the way the planning process was all the way to the last night in Lima, with our local team leader (Edith:). Both my husband & I found meaningful work to do, from childcare to kitchen duties, our entire time was pleasantly "busy". The food, lodging, and Peruvian hospitality was wonderful. We are now planning a 2nd trip, to St. Lucia, again with GV.
I do agree that only negative is the fees being a bit high for the average traveler. Also, we live in Canada, so flight costs can be higher for us (especially to South America in winter!). and our fees cannot be claimed as charitable expenses in our taxes- as any American traveler is allowed to do. I did ask about this but was simply told that is due to Global Volunteers being an American based organization & they do not have any agreement in place with our CRA. But after travelling for years & living abroad, I realize that you also get what you pay for.
I know several people that have taken "volunteer" trips with other groups, saying that the others were much cheaper than GV but the experiences they had were not good at all (little or poor support from local staff, inconsistent/bad food, dirty/unsafe lodging, NO actual valuable work for volunteers to do). My daughter opted to take a volunteer trip with another organization based in the UK (projects abroad) with only budget in mind, but she quickly regretted it after she was forced to share a volunteer house with a group of students that had more interest in drinking & partying all night than doing any kind of work. After she found herself pretty much left on her own every "workday" with a map & a bus schedule, wondering when the promised "lunch" was going to be served, she certainly wished she had chosen Global Volunteers!
Honestly, I feel that the fees we pay are well used; salaries for the local team leaders, quality food & housing for the volunteers, safe transport to & from airport & volunteer sites, and so forth.
I would prefer to have 1 quality trip every few years with GV (which really does make a difference to the local communities they serve) than an annual "cheaper" volunteer vacation with any of these other bargain basement deals.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Reduce the fees, particularly for repeat GV travellers. Something like a bigger discount after every 3rd or 5th trip? Although anyone that is a "repeat" customer does get a discount, it's not all that much. I think it is unfair that many good hearted people simply do not have the means, but would be fantastic volunteers.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?