Not Only #GivingTuesday But Any Day of the Year

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We all know that volunteers are one of the most selflessly-giving individuals in the community. Many programs or various organisational entities would not exist if it were not for the countless volunteer hours of service or direct financial support provided by these community members. While there are the traditional ways to donate one’s time and money to a worthy cause (such as physically showing up or directly donating money), there are others that can be considered too. Here are some ideas on how you can participate in, or volunteer for, a local, national or international worthy community project any day of the year.

Volunteer Online. Many people do not have the time, resources, or physical capabilities to hop on a plane and volunteer in a foreign community. But, they have a volunteer’s heart!  Here’s where the possibility of volunteering online for a national, or international project might fit in. You need not have a computer either. Some opportunities ask for a phone connection, and then the rest is worked out between you and your intended volunteering organisation.

Sponsor a Volunteer. Let’s face it, many traveling to volunteer experiences cost a lot of money. Not only are people freely giving of their time and money, but they likely are paying to volunteer.  As a friend, co-worker, or family member, you could directly support a loved one or friend by sponsoring their desire to travel to volunteer. This just might be the perfect Christmas or holiday gift!

Buy Goods That Give Money Back to Charity. Buying a gift that advertises some proceeds will be going to charity, is an indirect way to support a charitable cause without giving directly. However, do your homework. Be aware of the difference between how much is actually being donated and what might be a clever marketing ploy. As a savvy shopper, perhaps it might be better to just give directly to the charity instead.

Employer-matching or Support Programs. Your employer might be one of the businesses that match donation dollars to your favourite charity. Perhaps they might sponsor you, as their employee, going overseas to participate in a community cause? Or possibly they are like Tourism Cares, the philanthropic arm of the tourism industry, that creates “give back” projects for their employees to volunteer with? If so, you are one lucky employee! If you represent a business, maybe it’s time you considered matching employee charitable donations, or supporting an employee’s desire to travel to volunteer for a worthy community project.


Black Friday, Wish Lists, and Volunteer Travel

jeff-sheldon-3232-unsplashPhoto by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

The week will feature one of the most well-known events a lot of US families look forward to all year. That being,…Black Friday. Of course Thanksgiving itself (now only two days away!) is a much loved family-celebratory-day-of thanks. But, for some, this ushers in the beginning of mega-sales and abundant shopping trips. Regardless if you participate in Black Friday shopping or not, most people will find themselves needing to purchase a wished-for gift for a special someone at some point in the next few weeks. Being #prepared as a volunteer traveler includes having desired items packed to keep your comfort level high and your sanity intact.

Referring to websites, and results from our Facebook Page poll, here is a list of items travelers may be wanting, along with example products provided. Disclaimer: we do not receive compensation for any items purchased through this blog post. In addition, this is a sample list. There are items and categories not mentioned but will be added in future posts.

Luggage, containers, and more. Before you purchase anything, you should consider the receptacle that will hold your stuff. Especially if you are taking only a carry-on bag. There are countless options out there that will hold everything from your small toiletries to packing cubes for your t-shirts and jeans.

Clothing-type Items. Have you thought about packing a towel that dries quickly and is a personal luxury in that far-from home volunteer space? What about shoes that take up little space and are very comfortable? These are examples of clothing-type items that people should consider when packing their bags. Popular categories, according to our Facebook poll respondents, also includes weather appropriate clothing, and apparel that will with-stand a natured-based volunteering experience.

Entertainment. Both enroute and at your destination, there are items you will want to take with you to keep you entertained. A book, a note-pad, a small card game, or coloring book will go far as you spend time whittling hours away in airports, airplanes, and nights in destination accommodations where Internet access might be limited. Noise-reducing ear-buds, headphones, and other tech-related gadgets are a welcome addition to any traveler’s wish list!

Food. Are you vegan, have specific food allergies, or simply would like to be #prepared by having familiar foods on hand to assist you with the introduction to unfamiliar cultural food. When I travelled to Tanzania last summer, I packed food-related items such as protein powder mixes, almond milk, and a small blender, to create breakfast smoothies that helped keep my digestive tract happy in a foreign environment.

Camera. Last but not least, you’ll want to ensure you snap all those treasured photos with a camera that suits your photography experience and matches your budget. Many travelers are, for example, using smartphones to capture breath-taking images with add-on trendsetting equipment. Others prefer to use a more traditional camera that can be grabbed at a moment’s notice without having to take a non-international compatible personal camera phone as well.