Inspired by yesterday’s article, I wanted to find another organization that matched volunteers with workstays: free work partnerships in which the volunteer exchanges labor for food and lodging. I spend most of my time researching traditional volunteer outfits, which are as varied as snowflakes. I’m well versed in the differences between for-profits and non-profits, the financial peccadilloes of NGOs and the many directories that match volunteers with opportunities. But I realized some time ago that a rather large population of people seemed to be under served: the grassroots communities who want to interact directly with volunteers, and the volunteers who want a less traditional volunteering experience. The volunteer organization serves as a buffer. It negotiates the terms, monitors the projects, and helps volunteers navigate travel, lodging, and sightseeing. But sometimes that buffer is also a hindrance. Especially for volunteers with limited resources who have all of the experience they need to work on their own terms.
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.