The Industry Explained

The Volunteering Industry

When looking for an organisation to volunteer with, it can be very difficult to sift through the all the options: from teaching to conservation, and with placements lasting from 1 week to 2 years, the variety is endless.

2Way Development

As a social enterprise, 2Way Development takes a different approach to many other organisations in the field. Our placement model provides an alternative to government funded schemes that can be inflexible and competitive, and ‘voluntourism’ programmes that can be expensive and impersonal. We believe that individually arranging placements for volunteers in already established charities overseas is the best way to match their skills and ambitions to the needs of communities. By charging a one off administration fee to cover our costs, we have the flexibility to personally manage every placement we facilitate to meet a volunteer’s goals and our NGO partner’s needs. Our volunteers are able to choose a placement that is right for them, and work with us in a much more flexible way, especially with things like time frames, location and skills. This commitment to flexibility ensures that host organisations can access the skills they need, and our volunteers are given the opportunity to work on projects that are suited to them for anything from 3 months to 2 years. 

Which model suits you?

 

2Way Development

Commercial Agencies

National Agencies

Suitable for 16-20 year-olds?

No

Yes

No

Time frame

3+ months

1-12 weeks

1-2 years

Fees

Flat rate £850

All inclusive per week

No

Do you need skills?

Yes

No

Yes

Personalised service?

Yes

No

No

Sustainable, community-focussed placements?

Yes

No

Yes

Career focussed service?

Yes

No

No

 

 Commercial Agencies

There are literally 100’s of commercial ‘gap’ year style companies in the UK (we are not one of them!) that organise generic, all-inclusive volunteering programmes. Whilst these programmes offer a lot of overseas support and up front information, they are designed to function as a ‘one size fits all’ experience, rather than facilitating a personal match of organisational needs to a volunteer’s skills. These commercial agencies offer people the chance to volunteer for short periods of time (typically 2-12 weeks), on ongoing projects delivering services such as building work or education. These kinds of ‘voluntourism’ placements have faced stern criticism for focusing more on their bottom line than on the communities they aim to serve. Although these agencies often charge a substantial fee for their services, they can provide young people, gap-year students or those with a limited time frame a great opportunity to get involved. They will generally not, however, match the placement to your skills, focus on your career goals or offer a relevant experience for your CV.

National Aid Agencies

At the opposite end of the spectrum are long-term placements funded by national aid agencies. Organisations like VSO and Peace Corps aim to contribute to long-term development goals in areas such as health, the environment and HIV/AIDS. These organisations recruit established professionals, typically aged over 25 and with at least 2 years of experience in their chosen field, into specific roles which contribute to national aid priorities. As they are often government funded, these agencies can cover the cost of volunteer placements, the majority of which last between 1 and 2 years. This funding does however mean that placements are highly competitive and do not offer the volunteer flexibility over choice of placements and experiences. In the UK, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) receives approx £30 million in aid every year from our government’s Department for International Development to offer roughly 500 funded long-term overseas placements.