Volunteering on vacation has become more popular in recent years. There are even vacations where you pay to volunteer! However, you don’t need to pay to volunteer while on vacation. You can find your volunteer opportunities on your own.
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Picking a Charity
Depending on your vacation destination your volunteer options may be limited, or they may be ample. There are two things to consider when choosing a charity to volunteer with. One is to find a charity in which you have a personal interest in the cause. For me, I have decided to volunteer with the Naxos Animal Welfare Society to help with the cats. I love animals and it made since help something I love.
The other factor is to consider which charities are actually in need of volunteers. Some may only be able to have volunteers at certain times of the year or volunteers that have their own transportation. When I lived in the Turks and Caicos and volunteered at the museum, we needed volunteers to help run the museum shop when the cruise ship was in port. They had to be available during those times because much of the other times the museum was closed.
Research in Advance
Do some research about what charities are accepting volunteers at your destination. Contact them before you arrive to ensure they need your help. I was lucky that the Naxos Animal Welfare Society needed help and had someone who could drive me to the shelter to help. Have a backup charity if the first charity you pick isn’t accepting volunteers.
You will need to commit specific time to the charity. Many charities operate on a volunteer basis and do not have any staff. This makes it difficult, sometimes, to coordinate temporary volunteers. Arrange a schedule with them and stick to it! If you’re plans change, let them know as soon as possible.
This is still your vacation so be sure to not over commit yourself as well. If you are only going to be at a place for a week, you may want to only volunteer for a half day. If you are there longer you can commit to a day or two.
Is your vacation too short to volunteer on? See what supplies the charity needs and bring them with you or purchase them when you arrive. The donations are just as important as the time. In some places, things are not as widely available so bringing them with you is helpful. Recently, the library on Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos burned down so people were bringing books to donate as there is no bookstore on the island.
As long as your volunteering or donation is well thought out, it will be greatly appreciated. Have you volunteered on vacation? What was your experience?
Naxos Animal Welfare Society
As I mentioned before, I am volunteering with the Naxos Animal Welfare Society. They are in need of so many things. Most of the cats and dogs they take in have medical issues. We are currently caring for many sick and injured cats and dogs. Just in the week I have been with them, I have been to the vet four times with different cats. They work hard to find fosters and forever homes and they sent animals to Germany just last week. As you can imagine this all costs lots of money. If you can find it in your heart, please consider donating to them or volunteering some time if you come to Naxos. They operate on volunteers and donations entirely. Here is a link to their donation page.