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Why Pay to Volunteer?
Your Program Fee Covers Your Costs and Supports Communities in Need
United Planet is a nonprofit that works hard to keep its costs and its fees as low as possible. Still, we know that it is a challenge for many of our volunteers to pay for their programs. We want you to know that your money is spent as effectively and efficiently as possible, and we are always working to make it more affordable.
Many ask, “Why should I have to pay to volunteer?” The answer is that volunteering in another country requires a lot of resources and preparation. Volunteers abroad need accommodations, food, emergency health and evacuation insurance, in addition to in-country transportation and orientation to ensure their safety.
Since United Planet places volunteers with host families, we need to help our host communities and partner organizations cover their costs. We focus much attention and respect on the local community. We believe sending volunteers to live with host families helps boost the local economy, and does a great deal to increase cross-cultural understanding and assist the community in the long-term.
Learn More About United Planet Policies
Why United Planet? United Planet's Philosophy, Program Structure, and Quest Policy
United Planet's Responsible Travel and Sustainability Policy
How is the Program Fee Allocated?
Volunteer Preparation and Field Expenses (60%)
While United Planet would love to sponsor every one of its dedicated volunteers to go abroad, without significant public donation, major gifts, or grants it is impossible for us to do so. The field expenses alone account for the majority of the program fee. Approximately 60% of the program fee goes to cover these expenses, which also include the volunteer insurance coverage, pre-departure coordination, preparation and training, and a donation to the Country Fund to support sustainable development projects.
Administration and Volunteer Recruitment (22%)
Without administration and volunteer recruitment funds, UP would not be able to sustain its current worldwide operations. And you, the volunteer, would not be able to receive the personalized attention and around-the-clock support that UP currently offers.
The general administration costs support both the Boston office staff and the field coordinators in each country where UP runs a program. Unfortunately, no organization is able to operate without at least a small amount of overhead that goes toward:
Volunteer Recruitment (7%)
The Boston office is responsible for volunteer recruitment, outreach and communications. We can not send volunteers to support our partner organizations if people do not know we exist! Getting the name of UP out there with the intention of recruiting volunteers and other support is necessary for the running of our programs and assisting the host communities. Items included in volunteer recruitment are:
Program Development (10%)
UP consistently strives to improve the quality of its programs. In addition, UP measures the impact it has on local communities at the end of each year, when assessments are made on how to better serve our partners and their needs. Program development includes ongoing program evaluations, improvements and management; staff site visits; researching and setting up new project offerings and countries; project staff training; and special projects such as a laundromat in Guatemala—a microempowerment project that benefits a shelter for battered women and children.
Free Public Programs (8%)
UP also supports several free public programs, such as cultural-awareness presentations (CAP) for schools and communities, cultural-exchange groups at youth associations, schools, and universities (Ambassador Clubs), and our virtual peace-building project and online cultural exchange (Voices of Earth). The goal is to bring cultural exchange to schools and villages worldwide where individuals do not have the resources or ability to spend time abroad. Cross-cultural understanding can be enhanced in our own back yards!
United Planet Quests
United Planet offers 1-52 week volunteer and learning projects in over 40 countries. These programs, called United Planet Quests, are UP's main source of revenue essential to grow and build our non-profit organization and also to support our free public programs.