How to Fund a Volunteer Abroad Experience

There are many options available to those who wish to volunteer, but don’t readily have the funds to pick up and leave their home country to work for free abroad. As volunteer becomes more popular, grants, college scholarships and awards for international service work are becoming more common.

Beyond these large, competitive funds most volunteers have found success in individual fundraising from friends and family, including benefit concerts, sponsored walks and even bake sales. Other groups, such as Kiwanis or Rotary Clubs offer informal support for people doing service work abroad, and require only a informal progress reports and a presentation on your accomplishments when you return.

Similarly, many churches and other religious institutions have funds set aside for members of the congregation to do good deeds overseas, whether or not the program has a religious affiliation.

Finally schools (elementary through university level) are a resource for funding your trip. Some colleges have funds set aside for alumni service projects, and may require a short report to publish in an alumni journal at the end of your trip. In addition, some volunteers may choose to contact an elementary or middle to set up a series of educational talks (one before and one after) about the country they are visiting in exchange for some small compensation. For volunteers working with children, this kind of relationship could extend to a pen pal or similar relationship between classes, further fostering global collaboration and understanding.

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