Tips to turn a holiday into a volunteer opportunity

What vacation means to you?

A Trip takes us out of our coziness and inspires us to see, taste and try new things. It constantly challenges us, not only to adapt to and explore new surroundings, but also to engage with different persons, to embrace new things as they come and to share new and significant experiences with best friends and loved ones.

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When most people think about the idea of ​​going on vacation, one word often comes to mind: relaxation. With the hyper-busy lifestyle that exists today, a vacation provides much-needed relief from the daily hustle and bustle of the business world. For many, the vacation goals are simple: as far away from reality as humanly possible, leaving all work-related problems and stressors behind, and enjoying the free time relaxing with family and friends. While many Americans still prefer the more “traditional” type of vacation, a relatively new trend is gaining popularity in the travel industry today: volunteer tourism.

What is volunteer tourism? As the name implies, volunteer tourism combines vacation and volunteer work in the destination visited. Instead of extravagant beach vacations, some Americans share their time with those in need. According to some recent studies, the number of organizations offering volunteer holidays has even doubled in recent years. One of the many great things about volunteer tourism is that people of all ages and lifestyles can participate and bring something unique to the cause.

For those who are not too keen on traveling abroad or simply want to devote their time to charitable causes in the United States, there are many volunteer opportunities right here in your own backyard. The U.S. government has a site (serv.gov) designed to help Americans connect with volunteer opportunities. Websites like this one provide a starting point for those interested in dedicating their time and efforts to a cause like yours.

In this article, we’ll cover a few helpful tips for those interested in launching a volunteer tourism event.

Keeping it affordable

Keeping costs low can make a volunteer trip even more enjoyable. Every effort should be made to reduce the costs of your volunteers. Think creatively about ways your organization can partner with other local nonprofits and businesses to reduce costs. For example, check with local restaurants or churches to see if they are willing to provide low-cost or free meals for your volunteers. Ideas like these are great ways to cut costs and make the experience that much more enjoyable for your attendees. After all, providing a memorable experience will help build a lasting relationship with the individuals involved in your business – and they are much more likely to return in the future.

Explore fun things to do in the area

Your location may have more to offer than you think. Don’t rule out your organization as a potential volunteer tourism destination just because you think you live in a boring city. Often people overlook the many interesting places in an area. Do your research. Request travel guides for your state, search the web, and maybe even take a road trip to explore your location with an open mind. Recreational parks, monuments, historical sites and even sporting events are great attractions to keep in mind. Don’t forget to look beyond your backyard – you can find something of interest within a few hours of your location.

Develop a volunteer management strategy

Volunteer vacations are very different from normal volunteer jobs. With volunteers traveling from different states (maybe even countries) staying for weeks at a time, a lack of organization on your part can quickly result in a negative experience for participants. For this reason, it’s important to consider how your organization will manage, track, and communicate with volunteers. If your nonprofit still relies solely on a paper event management system, it may be time to consider updating to an electronic volunteer management system. An electronic system allows your organization to publish volunteer opportunities online, allowing participants to browse and sign up for events on their own. Nonprofits around the world are turning to cloud-based systems to reduce administrative labor and costs and streamline the entire volunteer management process.

Promote your volunteer vacation

An important step in putting together your volunteer vacation is developing an effective marketing plan. How do you spread the news about your event? Marketing is all about coming up with creative ways to sell your product, or in this case, your “vacation” to your target audience. Put yourself in the shoes of those you are trying to attract. Think of the things that would draw you to a volunteer position. When designing an online advertisement or promotional brochure, remember to include important information such as: skills required (if any), duration of the event, and any additional arrangements made to reduce your attendees’ costs (eg. food, shelter). Also include a list of area attractions so volunteers can plan their free time in advance.

If you take a moment to think outside the box, your organization can easily come up with cheap or even free ways to market your volunteer vacation. For example, networking with organizations outside your region is an effective (and free) method that can help attract people from a different geographic region to your event. Also, be sure to promote your opportunity on your own website and check out the opportunity to be listed on other volunteer tourism sites. Also consider using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkdIn to get attention.

Get started with your Voluntour event

When well organized and strategically planned, volunteer vacations benefit everyone involved. By providing a positive and memorable experience, your organization can develop lasting relationships with volunteers and keep them coming back for more.

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Why is vacation good for you?

Travelling relieves stress and boosts testosterone

Tour has the ability to take you out of stress and into new surroundings and adventur and this can reset your physics and calm your mind. Even planning a trip can have an amazing effect on the chemistry – it boosts happiness and feels rewarding.

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