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Should You Even Volunteer? How to Know When It’s Not a Good Idea

There’s a lot of information out there about how to volunteer, where to volunteer, and why we should volunteer. Something that doesn’t get talked about enough is when not to volunteer. I’ve volunteered for a long time and I’ve seen the power volunteers have to effect change. I truly believe in the Dr. Seuss quote that […]

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Cambodia’s Elephant Valley Project: Roam With the Ellies

Animals and tourism don’t often play well together—at least not responsibly. Even Ringling Bros. Circus is retiring its elephants after nearly 150 years due to public concerns about treatment. People are becoming more aware, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the reputable organizations from those that put money ahead of animal well-being. This is especially […]

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Meet Our Newest Team Member, Veena

GV is growing and I am so pleased to announce the addition of a new volunteer on the management side of Grassroots Volunteering. Veena reached out a few months ago and was quick to note that she’s worked in public service, with international NGOs, she’s studied the issues at the university level, and she travels […]

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Good for Community: Service Offered Abroad Can Be Just As Powerful at Home

“Community service” is an interesting term. Technically, it is simply another phrase synonymous with volunteering. The word’s connotation, however, implies a style of volunteering with a much more tangible and direct impact, often on underserved populations and projects within a community. Let us therefore look at community-driven volunteering and how it plays out in your […]

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A Creative, DIY Approach to Volunteering in Nepal

The idea of volunteering in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal came to me as a surprise. I had spent the better part of two years traveling the world, after becoming disenchanted with a career as an accountant working long hours. I had just completed my postgraduate qualification, when I gave notice of my resignation. After six […]

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Sitting Down with NPR to Talk about Social Enterprises

Last month Grassroots Volunteering’s founder, Shannon O’Donnell, sat down with Rachel Martin on NPR’s weekend travel show to talk about the relationship between travel and international volunteering. The segment looks more closely at the idea of supporting social enterprises as you travel, and explores the many ways travelers can think of innovative ways to support […]

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How to Get Started with Independent Volunteering

The dizzying number of options within the volunteering landscape is enough to stall any travel plans, but there is value in slogging through the research and finding a good-match organization for your time and skills. Though paid placement companies and voluntours might be a better fit for some, I believe many travelers can benefit from a transparent […]

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Finding Peace in Dharamsala, India

I did not go to India for religious reasons. I did not go to do volunteer work. I did not go expecting to find anything other than historic architecture and scenic views to capture with the camera I have so much trouble putting down when I’m traveling. I arrived for my first visit to McleodGanj, […]

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The Art of Giving and Travel

Giving is good for you. It’s a statement many have heard before, but the concrete benefits of giving are one of those more airy concepts difficult to research. Over the past year though, I’ve seen this idea take flight in mainstream media as the giving mindset doesn’t just lift your spirits for a day, but […]

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Volunteering in a Culturally Sensitive Village in Malaysia

This week’s volunteer story is from Jason; he shares his experience volunteering in Malaysia and navigating the early days on the ground with a new placement.  He shared his travel journey in more depth on his blog, GoldenbookTraveler.com, which shares the challenges and adventures that life has to offer.  I left the United States in June […]