Buzzword Bingo: Volunteer (2011)


on this page: headlines, recommended listening
related: work, volunteering in oaxaca
flickr: volunteer
editing: Volunteering

It's time to talk honestly - warts and all - about volunteering and tourism. Can we learn from the mistakes about the mistakes made in voluntourism by travelers, organizations and communities?

Our proposal: let's highlight meaningful discussions about volunteering and tourism. This wiki page collects a lot of resources focusing on the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to volunteering. Editors are invited to share their perspectives.

Suggestions please! Let us know where and when volunteering is being discussed in relation to tourism. We would like to call attention to examples of good practices around the world and ask who takes the responsibility when things do not work out. Let's collaborate and build the capacity to build capacity among volunteers and locals alike. Otherwise we are spinning in circles and critical information remains isolated in individual silos.

A more complicated proposal would be to hold a series of face-to-face events with accompanying livestreaming webcasts. Let's have the opportunity to create a dialogue among the volunteers, volunteer organizations and locals in which they can ask and answer questions. A more modest proposal would be to schedule a Google hangouts on this topic, again with the benefit of livestreaming and the opportunity to ask participants questions.


December 5 International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development
volunteerday - UN

December 5 is International Volunteer Day

February 8-14 Responsible Travel Week 2016; hashtag: #rtweek16


People and Places
Volunteering in Oaxaca

Recommended Listening

Problem of fake orphanages and 'volunteerism' - Fake orphanages have been proliferating in Cambodia at an alarming rate, leading not only to their separation from families, but leaving them open to abuse and exploitation from 'orphanage tourism'.

Voluntourism - Encounter delves into the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of volunteering overseas.


How to visit orphanages or volunteer overseas without exploitation - @jmcheer1
7 Reasons Why Your Two Week Trip To Haiti Doesn’t Matter: Calling Bull on “Service Trips"
The professionalization of development volunteering – towards a new global precariat? - @BluCollarProf
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/16/humanitarian-douchery-volunteering-voluntourism-endhumanitariandouchery - http://outbounding.org/articles/view/the-seven-sins-of-humanitarian-douchery
Voluntourism Isn’t Always as Bad as It Sounds - @thetravelword @skift @pandpvolunteer @vickysmith@jasonclampet


volunteer - Google News


People and Places
Responsible volunteering people and places
UN volunteering
Better Volunteering
Volunteering in a Digital Age



December 5 is International Volunteer Day



Buzzword Bingo
access - accountability - behavior - benefits - capacity building - cause - charity - conduct - conservation - continuity - conversation - engagement - evaluation - expectations - forests - fun - gap year - goals - harm - introductions - irresponsible - listen - management - orphanage - orphans - parks - philanthropy - preconception - responsibility - responsible tourism - skills transfer - street children - transparency - turtles - vacationary - virtual volunteer - volunteer - volunteerism - voluntourism - voluntweetism

Vacationary = Person who performs short-term missionary work, particularly as part of a vacation. (word spy)

Virtual volunteering = performing charity work online. (word spy)

Voluntweetism (Vrywilligetweetisme) = Getting people together to share on the social web a specific topic or place

Buzzword Bingo: Virtual Volunteer
Buzzword Bingo: Voluntweetism (Vrywilligetweetisme) = Getting people together to share on the social web a specific topic or place @ThisTourismWeek #MBTravFest

2014 Headlines

Volunteering to be a tourist - @nepalitimes
#InstagrammingAfrica: The Narcissism of Global Voluntourism
Voluntourism (Outbounding discussion)
Volunteer holidays: how to find an ethical project
The Problem With Little White Girls (and Boys)
Das Geschäft mit dem Mitleid

2013 Headlines

Volunteering - just an ego boost - observations by a GAP volunteer
Fake orhanages and bogus animal sanctuaries
putting responsibility back into responsible volunteering
if all it takes is a click on a drop down menu on a website to sign up as a volunteer – look elsewhere."
Five more mistakes in development volunteering (part two)
The ego within NGO voluntourism in India - thealternative
40 places to Volunteer Travel in India - The Alternative
a useful list of recent articles on volunteer travel
the importance of a selection process for volunteers
volunteer travel needs to go viral not parasitic
Common mistakes volunteers make
The does and don'ts of volunteer travel
The Blue Yonder: Does Voluntourism Do More Harm Than Good?
Martin Stevenson - Give a man a fish - a critique of volunteer travel in Cambodia
BFM Business Radio


2012 Headlines

"they leave traumatised children behind - but somehow beacause we are poor its OK"
Insured to pat a lion but not read a book
Projects Abroad Orphanage Project Recommended by PeterGreenberg.com
Why pay to volunteer?
Be careful how you give
Bullied communities and disappointed volunteers
Nobody needed us and we could make little to no difference
Working with children - our mistake
radio interview with Sallie Grayson from people and places

2011 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report

2011 Headlines

Please read the features Before you pay to volunteer abroad, think of the harm you might do - Guardian and Inside the thriving industry of AIDS orphan tourism. There is also a Telegraph article Volunteer holidays 'do more harm than good' and the response from Sallie Grayson including the blog entry Journalists do more harm than good? and Another missed opportunity. There are also recommended articles in wanderlust Feb 2011 to advise and stimulate discussion.There are some thought provoking debates going on at the voluntary traveller and socialedge
Working with children - a little responsible responsibility is a dangerous thing
Time to start naming and shaming bad practice
Governmental Regulation of Voluntourism: No Longer a Matter of If, But When?
Working with children - our mistake
Leading think tank DEMOS research into gap volunteering – old news or new opportunity?
Are Volunteers Encouraging child abuse? IMPORTANT read
EXCELLENT interview with Paul Miedema about responsible volunteering in South Africa
ITC Giving - PR smoke or a genuine luxury voluntourism initiative?
Voluntourism Programme Launched by Luxury Operator
Short-term & luxury hotel – is this responsible voluntourism?
Volunteer Abroad and Feel Fabulous Body and Soul. Seriousl
Caveat emptor - bogus reviews - is there a solution
Budget Excursions for Volunteers
Volunteer and get a vacation deal
“I want to make a difference”: voluntourism, NGOs and international aid in Cambodia
how to find an ethical volunteer organisation
problemetizing voluntourism
Eyewitness Volunteer Tourism Thailand + competition
Orphanage tourism: Why you should avoid it - Travelfish on Phnom Penh__Calling all blogging volunteers!
State of the World’s Volunteerism Report - UNRIC
LinkedIn Now Lets You Include Volunteer Experience in Your Profile

Voluntourism Guidelines


Volunteering in Oaxaca

Amigos de las Americas


irresponsible tourism


Gap Years - Irresponsible Tourism


Danielle talks about her volunteer experience in a South African Township
Michael talk about his time supporting maths teachers
Nick an experienced volunteer talks about the challenges of volunteering in India and nepal
people and places volunteers talk about their experiences
WTM 2012 volunteer travel debate gets heated!


people and places


The greatest gift you can give is your time.
The world is hugged by the arms of faithful volunteers
There is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need.
The true meaning of life is to plant trees,under whose shade you do not expect to sit
- Popular saying

It's not whether it's good or bad, it's what shape it will take in the future.
- Tribe Wanted Guy, http://www.justin.tv/wadiscovery

Kindly don't underestimate the intelligence of local people ( whether is Haiti or Uganda or my own village). By your 'wanting' to save the world, please don't make another local person a lazy one waiting for her hand out'. 'Hand hold' if you can, other wise for God's sake, just stay home!
- http://www.blog.theblueyonder.com/2013/01/does-voluntourism-do-more-harm-than-good.html


"We know what the best practice is - at some point can we begin to do it?" an impassioned plea - bear with the first 20 mins of the video!
How do we make sure that volunteering does not replace local labor, but rather enhance it?
How do we guarantee that host communities are not exploited?
How do we make sure that volunteers are not exploited?
How is volunteering documented?
How is volunteering evaluated?
How effective are codes of practice - is an independant rt audit a workable alternative ?-
Are visitors allowed to clean the dishes?
Is there a code of conduct for volunteer organizations?
Who checks the validity of the claims?
How do we manage volunteer philanthropy and should we?
Can luxury travelers genuinely help destinations they travel to? http://bit.ly/gREpiM__
Does the organization of a code of conduct?
Does the organization ever reject volunteers?
What are the goals (short-term, medium-term, long-term) of a voluntourism program?
How is this evaluated/measured?

Global News

North America: Mexico and Central America

North America: USA and Canada
Volunteer Program
South America
South American Explorers
Ecuador Volunteers
Rajasthan a volunteer story
South Africa a day in the life of a volunteer
Ireland to host world volunteer conference
National Volunteer Week

Easily Made Mistakes (and how to avoid repeating them)

sallie grayson from people and places opens the debate with her thoughts

Mistakes made by ....

Community Hosts

Voluntourism Organizations



If you can volunteer for a day ...

If you can volunteer for a week ...

If you can volunteer for a month ...

H.O.P.E. Was Here


Transitions Abroad

How to evaluate volunteer programs
Coming Home After Volunteering Abroad
Volunteer Abroad Advisor
Volunteeing in Africa: Top Tips and Volunteer Sending Organizations
Tips for Choosing a Volunteer Placement Organization
Learn a Language and Do Good: Combine Volunteering with Study Abroad
Volunteer Overseas the Right Way: An Interview with Zahara Heckscher
Volunteering Overseas: What It Takes to Be a Highly Effective Volunteer
Internships vs. Volunteering

Zahara Heckscher
Why Volunteer Overseas?: An Interview
How to Evaluate International Volunteer Sending Organizations
Volunteering in Africa: An Overview, Top Tips, and Recommended Volunteer Sending Organizations
Volunteering in Asia: An Overview, Top Tips, and Recommended VSOs
Volunteering in Mexico and Central America: An Overview, Top Tips, and Recommended VSOs
Leveraging Your Volunteer Experience to Find Paid Work Abroad
Using Study Abroad to Launch Your International Career
Choosing a Volunteer Placement Organization
International Volunteering with Your Family: Inter-Generational and Cross Cultural Considerations
Volunteering Overseas: What It Takes to Be a Highly Effective Volunteer
The Seven Sins of Overly Altruistic Volunteers
Combine Volunteering with Language Study Abroad
Volunteer Overseas the Right Way: An Interview with Zahara Heckscher
Learn a Language and Do Good: Combine Volunteering wth Study Abroad

Virtual Volunteering

Online Volunteering

Elsewhere on the Web

Go Voluntouring.com
Responsible Tourism Partnership
I Want to Volunteer Abroad - World Hum
People and Places: Responsible Volunteering
people and places wikispace
The cost of short-term missions - catapult
The Growth of Global Health Service-Learning Programs - on Philanthropy
Our Man In Granada: On The Downside Of Voluntourism - General Tips And Advice
Voluntourism Guidelines Survey Summary Report (PDF, 600mb)
The worst hasn't even begun Follow a volunteer trip as it goes wrong
Voluntourism the good and the bad - a presentation for The Institute for Social Change
http://www.volunteerinternational.org - https://twitter.com/IVPA
irresponsible volunteering?
Volunteer Forever
Orphanage Volunteering - helping or hindering?
Tips for volunteering in The Gambia - from a volunteer
responsible volunteering


Listen Here


Voluntary Service Oversees

Voluntary Service Overseas -
VSO warns students to look before taking the gap - NZ Herald
VSO - Promoting volunteering to fight global poverty and disadvantage
Ditch (un)worthy causes, VSO advises gap year students - VSO
Gap-year students told to forget aid projects - Times Online


WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) - connecting people who want to volunteer on organic farms with farmer owners looking for volunteer help.
WWOOF sites for North and Central America
WWOOF sites for South America
WWOOF sites for Europe and Middle East
WWOOF sites for Africa
WWOOF sites for Asia Pacific


Why do so many adventure companies fail with voluntourism interesting discussion
Should volunteers go to Haiti?
Volunturismo / Voluntourism
The Experience of a Lifetime? The V Word – caveat emptor

Did you know most travel insurance policies do not cover you whist you are volunteering? Here's one that does
Journalists do more harm than good?

Recent Events
September 26-27 Volunteering in a Digital Age Conference Swansea, Wales @Communities2_0 Facebook
November 3 people and places volunteer social Chippenham UK


If we take our game up a notch, we improve the opportunities for engagement among locals and visitors. If a visitor can volunteer for 1 hour or 1 day or 1 year, what's vital is that the opportunities are explained to the satisfaction of local and visitor alike. Otherwise you're spending your time managing the expectations that are never quite met.

Organizers of volunteer programs have the opportunity (and responsibility) of creating something that is more than a one-off meeting. No doubt your new partnership will indeed result in a win-win if everyone shares the core values of transparency and mutual respect. Talking with Michael Kaye he said he had been asked what locals being visited deserve. His answer: respect. And what do you visitors deserve? Respect.

Mind you, it's quite the aspiration to conceive and journey toward such a high-trust environment. Lead on and inspire us!

Spotlight on people and places - responsible volunteering

People and places is a UK-based organization.

Some volunteer blogs

http://poundhouse.wordpress.com/about/ husband and wife team in India
http://kuglersinsouthafrica.blogspot.com the amazing Kuglers have nearly reached their 20,000 book goal
http://blog.travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk a new blog from people and places
http://blog.travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk/?p=711 volunteers debate the validity of short term volunteering
Articles about voluntourism on YourTravelChoice.org - The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)





USA/Building Bridges


Previous Events

Higher Education & International Volunteer Service: Sum Greater than its Parts
November 2009 - Washington, DC

people and places volunteer meeting June 2012
February 15 London Event

Changing the World on Vacation

Embedded Tweets

Recent Events

November 6 WTM session on responsible volunteering
Responsible Volunteering
16.30 - 17.30, South Gallery Rooms 21 & 22
watch the video of the session here
Increasing demand for volunteer experiences is being met by a growing number of volunteer service organisations, most of whom have their headquarters in the developed world.

Most of these emerging companies have excellent, transparent credentials with the aim of matching volunteers to projects and ensuring that communities see widespread benefit. However, there is increasing concern amongst host governments about the activities of some volunteering companies.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive, ABTA

Sallie Grayson, Co-Founder and Programme Director for responsible volunteering, PeopleandPlaces
Richard Oliver, Chief Executive, Year Out Group
Paul Miedema, Owner,Calabash Tours, Chair Calabash Trust

TRAILER - Changing the World on Vacation (2012) from DEEDA PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

Artwork / Cue Yourself

Buzzword Bingo: Voluntourism