I just had to post this – http://www.SkypeOrphanSchoolKids.org/– they wanted me to write about them so here goes…
It seems that this horrific brand, logo, domain name is actually a good example of voluntourism’s issues with mixed messaging. Companies write on their websites (and these are verbatim):
“Volunteering abroad is a life-changing experience.” – CCS, isn’t that setting the bar pretty high for traveler expectations?
“Projects Abroad is the leading volunteer abroad organization.” I’m sure you’re great but how are we gauging who is ‘leading’ this field?
“An unparalleled volunteer abroad program.” Global Crossroad, and you’re backing that claim up how?
You get the picture. I didn’t even go into the ‘save children from a life on the streets (in a week)’ descriptions of the actual projects. In order for this industry to continue to thrive everyone needs to take a hard look at their marketing materials and see if they are accurately describing their projects. ‘Save the world in 10 days’ web copy only leads to disappointed travelers who will bad mouth your company online, it wont help you long term.
Oh AND if there is a company out there that has a video from one of the project managers in country saying what volunteers have done and why they need more – you are a genius, please send me the link. I’ve been saying for years that would help sell more trips and bring volunteers to needed areas that aren’t easy sells.