It often comes as a surprise to those volunteers wishing to contribute their expertise, knowledge and labor that they should also be asked for a financial contribution. Is it not enough that volunteers are generously giving us their time and skills they have worked so hard at acquiring?
While this point is a good one, we would like to explain to those who have raised it why fees for volunteering are needed and how this money is used. It is our wish to explain this because we believe in transparency and accountability, especially to those who help keep us afloat.
Our financial philosophy
NGOs today have become for the most part fundraising institutions. So much so, that it is impossible for some to focus on their first and most important goal: helping those in need. NGOs are not businesses and are often not run by individuals with entrepreneurial skills. Furthermore, they are legally bound to non-profit activities (depending on the country of registration), and so rely on donations for their continued existence. These donations come in all shapes and forms, from government schemes to foundations, volunteers, and even from generous family and friends!
VEG has aimed at having a maximum of financial freedom and independence as well as limiting the amount of resources, mainly time, spent on money collecting. VEG appeals to international, national, public and private donors for support in their development projects, but wishes to be sustainable, with its own sources of funding to cover the running costs of the organization. One of these resources is volunteer donations.
We aim at fully integrating the volunteer in our development projects. Our dedication to volunteers requires a lot of work prior to the volunteer’s arrival, as well as securing a comfortable and safe environment once the volunteer has arrived, to which an important part of their contribution will go. Simply put, this means a volunteer’s fees will cover the preparations for their stay as well as their basic costs while they work with us. This includes accommodation, all meals at the VEG house, transport with VEG and any project-related costs such as site visits in and around our area.
Many volunteer organizations produce frustrated and unhappy volunteers because their hosts provided living arrangements not in accordance with the fees paid, or were unable to find a placement fitted to the wishes of the volunteer. VEG, because it is first of all a development organization, will work together with the prospective volunteer to find the most suitable placement, fully integrating him/her into the life of an NGO.
We have found that volunteers who contact us fall within two main categories:
- Those who seek a professional experience abroad, working with a development organization in the field. Whether their contract with their current employer has ended, they are looking for a first experience, or they simply need a break before job hunting, they are all professionals who wish to donate a skill to the implementation of one of our projects. And,
- Those who, instead of going to lie motionless on a beach, working on a tan line they can show off to friends for two weeks after their return (which everybody needs once in a while!), wish to have something more to say for themselves upon their return. People wish to discover a community, culture, new landscapes, while at the same time lending a hand to local people.
Whichever category you fall into, VEG has a profound knowledge of the surrounding environment and is well integrated in the local communities. Its development projects are serious and our partners in the field numerous. Your experience with VEG will be authentic, worthwhile and enjoyable, and we guarantee that your contribution will go to a good cause, to which you will actively participate!