We are now in the digital age, anything could be easily manipulated and unfortunately, frauds and scams are all over the internet. Hence, emotionally appealing photos and stunning websites are not enough proofs of a reputable volunteer abroad program. How would you know that a volunteer abroad program is reputable?
1. They maintain a good relationship and involvement with the local community
Most organizations programs nowadays have websites for easier communication and overview of their advocacies. In these websites, we can also read the reviews or feedbacks of their volunteers. Provided with these transparency tools, as a volunteer you should take an extra mile to research about what are you really into. You can do this by directly asking the beneficiaries of the volunteer program you are planning to sign up. You can ask the community what are their past projects or how their last program went because reputation matters. The primary goal of volunteering is to help and you cannot do this if you have supported a wrong organization or program. More than the money and time you spent in doing volunteer works, the legacy that you leave in the community you serve is really important. That is why, do not just commit immediately, ask and research and make sure you are in the right bridge.
2. They are GoAbroad Verified
GoAbroad is an online verification system. This verification system helps volunteer partners and volunteer travelers validate the international program listed online. GoAbroad has a standard criterion and verifies whether a volunteer abroad program offered by an organization is legitimate and sustainable as stated. Volunteering is not just spending to travel and help but to really give a meaningful and sustainable impact to the community. It is not a onetime project but a commitment as a team. So would you risk your effort and finances? No! Work with real people, so before you start, verify.
3. Their programs have SMART Goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bounded. Volunteer Abroad programs should be SMART or else, it looks like fiction, good to see but not in reality. Before signing-up make time to know the organization, its programs and the status of their programs. Is it really sustainable? Does it fit with your commitment? Is it worth having? When we volunteer, we give something that we cannot take back, and that is time. That is why; a program should be specific towards its goal. The goals should be capable of evaluation for you to see that there is really progress. It should be fit in a given time frame, a time enough for you to serve with purpose. Like if it is for a two week program, in two weeks results could be seen like in English teaching programs. Where, as a volunteer teacher, you can evaluate the progress of your students learning of the English language. See, volunteering is not just dropping to give help. It is giving and leaving a change.
There are still a lot of things to consider but for first time volunteers, these three qualities should be on the top of your checklist. Have a meaningful volunteering ahead!