Why Pay to Volunteer?

Your Program Fee Covers Your Costs and Supports Communities in Need

volunteering internationally

There are many options for those looking to travel abroad: vacation on a beach; study at university; trek through a nature park. A volunteer abroad program is another form of international travel, which requires comprehensive preparation and support for both volunteers immersing themselves in a community abroad and host communities receiving foreign volunteers. A responsible volunteer abroad program, such as United Planet, provides support to volunteers before, during, and after their experience and takes steps to ensure that programs are safe and sustainable for both volunteers and host communities abroad.

United Planet is a registered 501(c)3 organization, and the Boston and in-country staff are driven by our mission to foster cross-cultural understanding. All of the revenue from the organization is put towards enhancing the volunteer experience and supporting host communities. Ensuring safe and sustainable programs for volunteers and the communities they serve requires expenses beyond accommodation, food, and activities. Please find an outline of United Planet program expenses:

United Planet Program Fee Allocation


  • In-Country Coordinator
  • Host Organization Placement
  • Host Family Placement
  • Transportation
  • Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Health and Safety Education
  • Program Locations Monitored for Safety

See United Planet’s detailed steps taken to ensure health and safety.

Pre-departure Advising

  • Each volunteer is matched with a Project Coordinator who helps to match the skills and interests of the volunteer with a volunteer project abroad.
  • The Project Coordinator guides volunteers through the pre-departure process, and is available for questions throughout this important preparation time.

Pre-departure Training

  • Pre-departure training includes logistical information, cultural adjustment and health and safety training. For short-term volunteers (1-12 weeks), this is conducted through a one-on-one phone session and a group webinar. For long-term volunteers (6-12 months), a 4 day training is held in New Hampshire for all volunteers about 1 month before they depart. In addition, all volunteers have access to many resources through our on-line portal.

In-Country Coordinator

  • Our in Country Coordinators and partner organizations are local experts available to volunteers 24/7.
  • All in country staff participate in extensive training in topics such as: health, safety and risk management procedures; vetting host families and host organizations; conducting orientation.

Alumni Programs

  • Upon return, volunteers become part of our vast Alumni Network and may continue to engage with communities abroad through the Volunteer Mentor Program, Global Conversations webinars, serving on the United Planet Alumni Council and more.


  • Language Classes and Cultural Activities
  • Sustainable Relationships
  • Financial Support to Host Communities

See United Planet’s full responsible travel and sustainability philosophy.