Back in 2006, the Brookings Institute published a paper by Lex Rieffel entitled, “International Volunteering: Smart Power.” In the paper, Rieffel discusses the many ways that volunteering efforts improve international relations without big overtures, huge expenditures of taxpayer money, or military involvement. Volunteering is a grassroots citizen-lead peace initiative. Rieffel writes: “The face of America that has been welcomed most enthusiastically in the rest of the world for decades has been the face of a volunteer: assisting with disaster relief, building houses for poor families, teaching English to university students, and so much more.”
Here at Journeys for Good, we’re in the business of learning about the connections between volunteers and volunteer organizations. How do organizations find people who are willing to give their time, and their physical and emotional energy for a cause? How do people find the organizations that speak to their hearts? We are also interested in the business side of this equation: how does an aid organization get noticed? This week I was reading about a powerful international organization that manages to facilitate these connections spectacularly well: International Animal Rescue.