Written by Daniel Quilter
If I had a RM 1 for every time someone asked me ‘why should I pay to volunteer? I am giving you my time and service I shouldn’t get charged for it?’ then I would be as rich as the King or maybe even richer!
I think this attitude arrives when people get confused between more traditional volunteering and the new type of ‘volunteering travel/holiday’ called voluntourism.
I think before you can fully understand and accept the concept of voluntourism or paying to volunteer you have to view it as a replacement of a ‘holiday’, it’s a volunteer holiday. You wouldn’t think nothing about paying a tour guide or for hotel rooms to a travel agent, because that is normal. So why shouldn’t you be helping to pay the wages of a volunteer co-ordinator who is there for you every day? These types of experiences / holidays are very unique and have a core cause behind them, so actually your money is not only giving you a unique educational holiday, it’s also supporting a cause that is close to your heart and not many hotels or package holidays can say that!
Voluntourism holidays, if managed properly, can actually address many issues and provide much needed financial aid for NGO’s or privately run conservation/community projects. Voluntourism programmes are increasingly being adopted by societies and NGO’s to help address financial shortfalls as traditional funding like personal donations are decreasing.
So why should I pay?? Your fee will be going towards helping to pay the wages of the project staff and very often to provide you with food and accommodation whilst you are there as well as including a donation to help finance the activities for the core cause. Another very important factor is that your fee / donation comes with no political or alternate motive behind it. If a society/NGO can sustain its self on voluntourism then they have no obligations to anyone or any corporation so they can focus 100% on the cause they were set up to do.
Why don’t you give a go? I urge you to replace your next holiday with a voluntourism experience that not only helps a core cause close to your heart but educates you and your family/friends and gives you an experience you may never have had before. The world is your oyster and voluntourism will allow you to explore and experience things you never knew was possible plus your helping a good cause at the same time.
About the author
Daniel started the volunteering portal Ecoteer.com after he volunteered in Borneo in 2005. Ecoteer boomed in 2009 and enabled Daniel to come back to Malaysia to help conserve sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands. After the success of the project in the Perhentian Islands many NGO’s around SE Asia contacted Daniel to help establish their own voluntourism programmes and out of this came Ecoteer (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd and its website Ecoteerresponsibletravel.com which helps attract voluntourists from all around the world to help the projects.
Daniel is now considered an expert in the voluntourism field in SE Asia with his pride and joy Ecoteer providing various types of voluntourism projects in South East Asia and around the world.
If you would like to find out more or ask Daniel any questions please visit their website www.ecoteerresponsibletravel.com or contact Daniel directly on daniel @ Ecoteer.com.