In a poll conducted by Condé Nast Traveler and MSNBC, 14% of Americans have taken a volunteer vacation, but 55% indicated they would like to participate. Of those who have gone on volunteer trips, 95% reported that they are likely to do it again. That’s quite a return! But I wonder about that 55%. Who are they? Are they busy working people or high school kids? Are they grandparents, afraid of the rigors of volunteering? As a voluntour organization, how can you motivate that 55% to take the plunge—to reach that decision-making moment when an ephemeral dream becomes a solid reality?
As we’ve explored here before, attracting volunteers to your organization can be a challenge. It seems like new organizations emerge every day, and so many of them have solid, responsible infrastructures that support worthy causes. There are a lot of volunteers out there, and chances are, if your organization is sound, some of them will find you. But how do you cultivate a volunteer base? What is the best way to draw volunteers to your organization, like bee pollinators, ready to spread your message and nurture your cause?
One thing is certain: like the belly of the marbled hatchetfish, or like the original universe for that matter, the volunteer/voluntour universe is expanding! I keep coming back to this point because I think it’s important: the Internet is a wonderful resource for finding opportunities, but it can also be overwhelming, especially for the new, inexperienced volunteer. That is why I’ve been so excited about social network-like sites for volunteers and volunteer organizations. Each site I find has its own style of promoting opportunities. VolunteerMatch.org, for example, has a great search function, so volunteers and organizations can find the people they’re looking for, but they don’t offer a lot of social content. GoOverseas.com, the subject of today’s article, has a less robust search function, but they make up for it with reviews, blog posts, articles and well-organized program listings.
Recently I wrote about VolunteerMatch.org, a social network style website that matches volunteers with opportunities. This week I found another online network in this niche: GoVoluntourism.com. The two sites share several similarities. Both allow organizations and volunteers to register for free, and both have robust information-rich platforms so organizations can thoroughly detail opportunities. GoVoluntourism also offers access to journalists. This is, understandably, very valuable to voluntour businesses hoping for media attention.
These days, an organization needs a fabulous website. It goes without saying: an attractive website communicates legitimacy, attention to detail, and professionalism. In the voluntourism industry, often a company’s website is the only impression that company makes. Many voluntourism companies don’t have physical offices. They don’t have a storefront. All of their business, from finding travelers to booking trips, is done online.