The Essential Services Your Volunteer Fees Help Support

Mike Haycock
24.06.2019
The Essential Services Your Volunteer Fees Help Support
Author: Mike Haycock
24.06.2019 11:39AM

Throughout the areas in Africa and Asia that we work in, poverty is widespread. So every volunteer assignment does make a positive contribution to the local community. Although you’re committing your time and support, there are still some costs to make sure essentials functions can continue.

But who should cover the costs of volunteering abroad?

This is a completely fair question to ask, along with “why should I pay to volunteer abroad?”. So we want to provide a transparent breakdown, to help give some understanding of how it works.

By looking at volunteering, you can see that there are 4 stakeholders involved:

  • The Volunteer Project

  • The Country/State

  • The Volunteer Organisation

  • The Volunteer

The Volunteer Project

RGV organises volunteer work in Africa and Asia, including social, environmental and wildlife placements. Due to chronic staff shortages, volunteers play a vital role in filling these gaps. Volunteers offer important support, but the project just cannot afford to pay for extra accommodation. If they could, they’d try and take on more full-time staff, which would then lessen the number of volunteers needed.

Wildlife projects also need to compensate for the huge costs of keeping animals and to the best standard possible. This includes costs such as training, vehicles and equipment, which contributions helps sustain. This is why you’ll find that wildlife programmes are slightly more expensive than others.

The Country/State

Quite simply, the governments within Africa and Asia can not provide financial support to a foreign organisation. Most governments do what they can to help their own people through different initiatives, but they have to prioritise how to spend their budget.

The Volunteer Organisation

RGV helps provide many volunteers with flexible options for volunteering abroad. We are a sustainable, social enterprise, but not a ‘non for profit’, so there is no funding from the State. We have to carefully manage all the the costs of providing our services in Africa and Asia ourselves, without subsidies.

The Volunteer

The Volunteer. You as a volunteer are at the heart of RGV’s volunteer work programmes. In the preparation phase of your trip, we prepare you in the best possible way to volunteer abroad. As soon as you arrive in the country, RGV takes care of your well-being throughout. You have your orientation and are then fully immersed in the project. A mentor is also there to assist you whenever you need. We ensure that you’ve got support around you and that your time volunteering is all about personal development.

By investing both time and money, you are doing so for the project and for yourself. You’re investing in a project that desperately needs both and it’s long-term survival depends on contributions. For this investment, you get back a huge amount of unique experiences, skills and self-development opportunities. Yet most of all, friends from all corners of the world.

What Costs Are There?

1. Costs of staff, administration and organisation.

There are over 40 RGV team members, spread across 15 different countries. All contribute towards allowing volunteers to work abroad. From the co-ordinators, through to the chefs and drivers in-country, they all receive payment from RGV. You have a constant point of contact for your entire journey and as such, we have to ensure we have the correct team in place to deal with this demand. Prep work, updated documentation and other key material are all for our volunteers, and that informs all our cost decision making.

2. Maintenance costs in each country.

Outside of our team in Germany and the UK, we have local RGV teams in every destination country. We look to have an entire support and prep structure around you, to ensure you succeed and have an incredible time. Our teams cover all sorts of tasks, from airport pickups to developing relationships within the local network. There is also the constant evaluation of projects, organising of documentation, procuring materials, organising events, shopping, dealing with rent, equipment and so much more. On top of that, they help sort your meals, deal with host families and other actions which directly affect our volunteers. They’re absolute superstars that focus on making your trip the best it can be and keeping that high-quality team is super important.

3. Project Funding & Development.

RGV pays donations and money to selected projects and local employment agencies. Some also charge a project placement fee, which we pay for every volunteer. The support we provide depends on the demand, need, duration of support and the trust in those in charge. As such, donations can vary depending on each project. We’ve helped fund construction of sanitary facilities in Simanjero (2018) and a shade sail for the after-school club in Namibia (2017). There has also been room expansions in the daycare centre in Tangalle (2016), a construction of a school in Chitwan (2016) and much more. If you’d like to read more on these donations, please get in touch and we can send you a donation report.

For a social package, the average price tends to be about £999 for a 4-week placement, which spread over those weeks, averages out at £250. Yet, if a volunteer wanted to stay longer, the price of another week drops to only £125, as all the above costs have already been covered. hat still comes to less than £18 a night, of which it would be very hard to get a good quality hotel for that, without the added layers of support that we provide.

Although the cost may seem high at first, it is important to see where this money is going and what it covers. It’s up to you how cheap volunteering should be and at what expense that is to the quality of the offering. Quality is super important to us at RGV and we strive to make sure it’s as high as possible to meet the demands required from ourselves and the industry. These have developed over the 20 years in the volunteer sector. Yet our goal is the same; to provide meaningful volunteer placements which deliver an incredible impact. The RGV roles need the passion and commitment in dealing with characters, cultures and tests. By dealing with this, we allow our volunteers to focus on making a difference.

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