01. Why volunteer with Globalteer?
Globalteer is different to most organisations placing volunteers. As a UK registered charity (registration number 1119706), Globalteer is legally required to ensure that all monies received are used to promote our charitable objectives. We achieve this in two ways:
• We keep all our costs to a minimum so that as much money as possible reaches the volunteer projects and the needy communities we work with. Visit the "Where your money goes" and "About Us" pages for a more detailed breakdown of how we invest donations. We also actively encourage you to check and ask questions of other volunteer organisations to compare the required donation/fees and how these monies are allocated to benefit your chosen project. Some major organisations charge a considerable fee to place volunteers and not a single penny goes directly to support the project. Some are purely profit-making commercial companies who act as volunteer travel agents. That’s where Globalteer is very different!
• We are very selective about the projects we work with, and only work with effective and worthwhile projects that we believe are making a long term and sustainable difference to the communities we work with.
In addition to the above, we provide full in-country support so that your stay is as enjoyable and rewarding for you as it is valuable for the project you work with.
02. Why should I pay to volunteer?
A surprising amount of work and organisation goes into every volunteer placement and the overseas organisation where you will be working is likely to have precious few resources to take this task on themselves. Their resources are better used to fulfill their charitable objectives. They rarely have spare resources to cover the cost of hosting volunteers such as accommodation, food, transport or providing a volunteer coordinator to support volunteers overseas.
In addition to covering the practical costs of your placement, we also have local costs to pay for such as our local staff and office rental and we make a cash donaion to the project you volunteer with as well.
As a registered charity, Globalteer is legally required to ensure that all money received is used to promote our charitable objectives, so you can be sure that the maximum amount possible is going directly to the projects we work with. You can read more on the 'where your money goes' page.
03. I have never booked over the internet before, is my money safe?
Your security is really important to us so we use HSBC's renowned secure payment server to process all payments. It is so secure that Globalteer does not even see your credit card or bank details, only the bank does! Your money is therefore as safe as you would expect it to be with one of the world’s leading banks, and of course they must abide by the strictest security regulations. In addition, many credit card payments are automatically insured – check with your card issuing bank for further details.
04. Who volunteers at your projects?
Globalteer volunteers come from a huge range of backgrounds, nationalities and ages. The majority of volunteers come from the UK, USA and Australia with significant numbers from Canada, Germany, Ireland, and New Zealand.
The majority of volunteers come alone, and then meet up with existing volunteers at the project, although most of our projects can accommodate couples and shared rooms are available at all project locations. Globalteer attracts a greater range of ages than many volunteer organisations due to the generally higher standard of accommodation we offer, and due to our charitable status. At our Cambodia Kids Project, for example, half our volunteers are over 30 years of age, which makes for a really good mix of friendly people with lots of different experiences to share.
Our volunteers come from a very wide range of working backgrounds too, including students, retired people, teachers, business people, medical professionals, artists, and those taking a career break. For most of our placements enthusiasm, personality, positive attitude and common sense are more important than your professional background! To read about the experiences of past volunteers go to our volunteer stories page.
05. Do you provide financial support or advice to raise funds?
We do not provide financial support to volunteers. Although once your application has been accepted we provide you with ideas on how to raise funds for your volunteer experience.
06. What are the objectives of Globalteer?
To promote sustainable development for the benefit of the public by the relief of poverty and the improvement of the conditions of life in socially and disadvantaged communities. Sustainable development means “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
"To promote humane behaviour towards animals by providing appropriate care, protection, treatment and security for animals which are in need of care and attention by reason of sickness, maltreatment, poor circumstances or ill usage and to educate the public in matters pertaining to animal welfare in general and the prevention of cruelty and suffering among animals."
07. Why is Globalteer cheaper than most other organisations sending volunteers overseas?
Globalteer wants to attract the best volunteers to our projects, which does not mean just the wealthiest! And because we keep our running costs as low as possible it means we can charge lower prices to our volunteers than other organisations, whilst still passing on substantial donations to the projects we work with.
Furthermore, given that we work in education, childcare and animal care, some of our best potential volunteers are teachers, care workers, those working with animals and students who are looking to work in these fields - which are not usually the highest paid jobs around. We want people from all backgrounds to be able to work at our projects so we deliberately do not charge the high prices of other organisations.
08. Do you provide us with plane tickets/visas?
No, as we are not a travel agent and all our placements reflect individual requirements, this is something we ask you to organise yourselves. We do have a partnership with The Flight Centre Group through whom you can book your travel and insurance at very competitive prices. Globalteer receives a donation for every journey booked through our partner. If you have any questions about visas and length of stays, please get in contact with us.
09. What does Globalteer spend the placement fee on?
Placement fees cover direct costs of placements such as accommodation, meals, transport, orientation and your in-country support – plus the donation to the projects. As our priority is to ensure that volunteers are placed at well-suited projects, where their time and efforts will have maximum impact there are many different support functions and operational costs incurred to make this happen. As a non-profit and registered charity any surplus money can only be spent on our charitable objectives or held in an emergency fund.
10. How far in advance should I apply/book?
The sooner the better, so we can get everything sorted in good time. Placing you at a project isn’t automatic – we like to find out about you and your reasoning behind volunteering so we can place you at the perfect project to suit you. The process also involves reference checks, a Skype chat and sometimes background checks. Some projects, such as our elephant sanctuaries get booked up a long way in advance so we recommend confirming your place with a deposit payment as early as possible. Normally full payment is required 10 weeks before you are due to start the placement, but in some circumstances we can be flexible.
11. How old to I have to be to volunteer?
Most projects require volunteers to be over 18 (and in some cases 21). This is due to the nature of the placement, the physical work and responsibility involved. However, we also place young adults and children when volunteering with their parent(s), a responsible adult, or as part of a group. We work with many different projects all over the world with varying requirements so please get in contact and let us know what your situation is and we’ll do the best we can to get you placed
12. Can I volunteer with my partner/friend/group?
You can volunteer with anyone you like, just make sure to let us know in advance so we can do everything we can to meet you and your volunteer buddies’ needs. All of our projects can accommodate groups and couples with the shared accommodation available. See our page on Group Volunteering.
13. Do I need any specific skills or qualifications to volunteer?
No, we don’t require you to have any specific skills or qualification as you will be working alongside trained local staff who. If you do have any specialist skills we will always try to offer you a placement where they will be put to best use. What we do expect though is a desire to make a difference, a willingness to work hard, positive attitude and enthusiasm.
14. Why don't you place volunteers in orphanages?
Volunteering in orphanages seems, at face value, to be a selfless act of charity that can only do good. Sadly, this is very rarely the case so we would like you to take a few minutes to read about the reality of orphanage volunteering.
In many countries – developed and developing alike - there are vulnerable children for whom living at home in what we perceive as a “normal” family environment is not safe. Different countries deal with this problem in different ways. Sadly, in countries where state social care is undeveloped the problem of keeping such children safe is even more complex than it is in the developed world.
In some countries these vulnerable children are housed in institutions that have come to be collectively known as “orphanages”, even when many of the children who find themselves in such orphanages have at least one and sometimes two parents still living. And in some cases desperate parents are paid to allow their children to live in such institutions on the promise of a better life for their children.
In some cases children may be safer in institutionalised care in the short term, but unless such homes are properly managed and properly regulated it can lead to long term and serious harm for the children. The negative impacts of institutionalised care are also greatly increased for children under five years of age, typically the age group that many volunteers wish to work with.
The problems with bogus and badly run “orphanages” are particularly prevalent in countries such as Cambodia and Nepal where child trafficking is rife, often under the guise of children being taken into care. Despite what some organisations say, regulation of orphanages and child safeguarding in such institutions are unreliable at best and at worst non-existent.
The reasons these practices are wrong are well documented and are being addressed at national and international levels. In the context of volunteering in residential homes for children we believe that the following policies must be adhered to in order to protect vulnerable children:
1.Volunteer organisations should only work with institutions that are actively seeking family-focused solutions for the children in their care, wherever it is safe to do so.
2. All volunteers working with children in any capacity must be background checked.
3. The physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of children living in any kind of institutionalised care home should only be left to professionals who are sufficiently qualified to take on such a responsibility. Intervention by unqualified volunteers should be the last resort in exceptional circumstances.
4. Volunteer organisations and unqualified volunteers should only work with government registered and regulated institutions in countries where adequate legislation is in place - and enforced - to protect children in care.
5. Unqualified volunteers should only be permitted to work in roles that do not allow any kind of physical or emotional attachment to be made and only under the supervision of suitably qualified permanent project staff.
At Globalteer, we have many years of first-hand, on-the-ground experience in all the countries where we work and permanent staff in the countries where we work with children. Globalteer believes that any kind of volunteering with children in institutionalised care that does not comply with the above guidelines is potentially seriously harmful to children.
15. Can I touch the animals?
As a guiding principle, if it is detrimental to the animals’ rehabilitation, or if it’s dangerous to humans – it’s not allowed. Please remember that some of these animals have been rescued from captivity or from the wild so human contact should be avoided at all costs. At some of our projects touching of the animals is allowed, e.g. at our Peru Dogs Sanctuary, and at our Sea Turtle conservation project. There is definitely no elephant riding at our projects and sloth handling is not permitted in Colombia. For project by project information, please see the individual page.
16. Why can’t I volunteer for a day or two?
At Globalteer we pride ourselves with only working with sustainable and responsible projects where volunteers can make a real impact. Volunteering for only a couple of days will not reap any benefits of having an impact and in some cases, may disrupt the schedule and objectives of the project. We feel strongly about giving volunteers the best experience they can with the time they have, while also keeping at the front of mind the projects needs and objectives.
17. What next? How do I apply? What if I have more questions?
Once you’ve decided on the project, just fill in our short application form and one of the team will get in contact with you – usually within 48 hours and sometimes even sooner. If you have any questions, you can contact us anytime via the website, Facebook, or call us on the below numbers. You can also call for free using Skype: Globalteer.Volunteer.
UK: 0117 2309998
Australia: 028 0113693
International: +44 117 2309998