This week I had the great privilege to interview Cassandra Tomkin, Director of Operations for Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS). CCS is a pioneering leader in international volunteering. They have set the standard in their field and continue to find new, innovative ways to improve their projects and to give their volunteers the best possible experiences overseas. Their mission: “To operate volunteer programs around the world in partnership with sustainable community initiatives, bringing people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding.” CCS is a model organization for emerging and established volunteer projects interested in building an international presence. I learned so much from this interview, I hope you do too! Part two will appear tomorrow.
I always wonder how much volunteer/voluntour organizations listen to their volunteers. It seems like a no-brainer—the volunteers are on the ground doing the job, they’re a voluntour organization’s bread and butter—and yet, in many cases considering the opinions of the volunteers is an afterthought. Voluntour organizations have a lot to think about. They’re managing projects in communities where local people may or may not agree with their methods. They’re fundraising, politicking, and promoting their companies. Still, at the heart of every good volunteer organization are the volunteers themselves.