The voluntourism field seems to be divided when it comes to the non-profits versus for-profits, but what about within the non-profit sector? I have heard a lot of companies describe themselves in different ways – some are development organizations some are volunteer sending organizations. Now that defining your marketing message is more important than ever, how do you describe your organization?
Never one to stay away from controversy, I found this blurb in an email I received from a friend in the industry and wanted to get your thoughts on it.
My experience in the non profit world has lead me to see that there two main types of non profits who work with volunteers. On type is non profits whose mission is centered around a volunteer and the goal is that they have a meaningful experience while make a difference. Typically these organizations main source of income is the volunteer who pays for the service of the non profit. Then there are organizations that are more like what has traditionally been a non profit. Their main mission is the project/cause itself and volunteers are simply a part of accomplishing the mission overall. It is important that the volunteer help the cause/project first, a meaningful experience is secondary, thought important. These organizations primarily are funded through grants and donations rather than fees for services. Grants and donations are to accomplish the cause or the mission and volunteers are one of many ways to accomplish this.
Volunteer Sending Organizations
Primary Mission: The Volunteer Experience
Secondary Mission: Sustainable Project/Cause
Primary Income: Primarily fees for services
Secondary Income: Donations
Traditional Non Profits
Primary Mission: The Cause/Project (the orphanage, school, park etc)
Secondary Mission: The Volunteer Experience
Primary Income: Donations and Grants
Secondary Income: Fees for services