By Kerry Rodgers on September 17, 2015 at 8:30 AM
The hotel industry has a long history of relationships with the nonprofit industry: giving financial support, building strategic alliances, offering reduced rates for nonprofit events, planning volunteer days for employees – there are so many ways properties can be critical community partners in creating positive change.
A new strategy has been gaining steam in recent years – making it easier for guests to get involved. Offering to arrange volunteering activities to guests – along with other tourist activities – is a low-cost way for properties to have a positive impact while also delighting their clientele.
“Voluntourism” or international volunteering is a booming industry and there is great demand by travelers for meaningful volunteer opportunities. When concierges help to coordinate volunteering as they would do with any other local activities, they are facilitating their guests to have amazing experiences and positive memories linked to the hotel.
Some hotels and groups have devoted great resources to vetting local nonprofits and building long-term programs to involve guests in one-day volunteering. A great example is the Four Seasons in Costa Rica and their “Growing Together” volunteer program. The Four Seasons partners with Creciendo Juntos – an organization that works to improve local schools and help families in need.
However, building relationships with nonprofits is not always easy. No hotelier wants to risk their reputation by building alliances with a nonprofit that is anything less than high-impact, and vetting nonprofits is not an easy task. Furthermore, creating volunteering programs that are both meaningful for the volunteer and helpful to the nonprofit is difficult. It’s one thing for large hotel chains to devote substantial resources to finding the “right” nonprofit – but how can smaller independent properties participate?
Give a Day Global
Enter Give A Day Global – we are a new nonprofit based in San Francisco and are building a platform to make it easy to connect travelers with one-day volunteering opportunities. We help nonprofits to expand their reach; for instance, we work with Creciendo Juntos, so they can reach a wider audience than the Four Seasons alone can provide.
Hotels and tour operators are welcome to use Give A Day Global’s platform in order to add one day of volunteering options for their guests. Importantly, we vet all the nonprofit organizations in our network for integrity and effectiveness and can vouch for their work. As a registered 501c3 nonprofit in the US ourselves, we are experts in finding nonprofits with strong alignment to our core vision:
[fa icon="quote-left"] We believe that all people should have access to education, healthy food, medical care, a sustainable environment, and economic opportunities. By connecting travelers with nonprofit organizations who pursue these same goals, we aim to engage more people in making the world a better place, one day at a time. [fa icon="quote-right"]
For us, this is a passion project fueled by idealism. Thus, unlike most volunteer brokers who charge large fees, we charge zero fees and are free to use. Because we care so much about the nonprofits that we work with, we do ask for a suggested donation of $100 per adult and $25 per child (fully tax deductible for American travelers). Travelers can crowdfund these donations on our site if they choose (crowdfunding small donations is easy and fun!) and 100% of the donations are directly distributed to the nonprofit where the traveler volunteers.
Our travelers routinely report to us that volunteering was one of the highlights of their trip. Whether they are families looking for a way to teach caring values to their children, or corporate teams looking for a bonding activity, or simply adventurous travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience, volunteering can be a great experience for guests.
Recently two honeymooners wishing to share their love with a local community volunteered in Costa Rica and reported to us: “We would recommend it to everyone! There is no better way to truly learn about a country and its people than to volunteer and give back to the community.” We couldn’t agree more. We currently operate in 8 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America –in coming weeks and months we hope to expand to many more.
We are always happy to work with hoteliers to customize our offerings in their locale; feel free to reach out to me directly at our email address or phone number below.