Sarah Van Auken who runs the Volunteer Global blog recently wrote a post called ‘Faceless NGOs’ and it struck on something I’ve believed for a long time. On most voluntourism operator sites the projects/NGOs are talked about but never named and their stories are never fully told. What has this community accomplished as a result of volunteers, what do they have to say, is there a picture of them, what are their development goals?
I understand that there is a hesitance to give NGO names as travelers could go direct, but why not tell their story more on your site? It’s one of the main things travelers ask for when comparing trips.
“Something I’ve noticed while researching international volunteer opportunities is the surprising number of groups who give little to no information about their in-country partners.
I see all too often something like, “Our group works with an organization/NGO in your host community to acheive our common goal of sustainable development/education/child care/etc.” With NO mention of who that NGO or small group is, whether they have a site you can visit, whether it’s run by locals, or what.
My first reaction when coming across groups like these has been to remove them from my website. I see this more often with larger placement groups that serve as a sort of travel agent, rather than volunteer organization. It’s easy to weed these ones out…but I’m concerned that even the small groups who work in one or two communities still have a hard time listing who they work with.
At the very least, could they at least say the name of the NGO? I can see the concern here, as the umbrella groups have a business to run…however, I feel it’s insulting to the NGO to be completely faceless on its “partner” organization’s website, handbook, etc.”