For many young people, volunteering in a responsible manner is a life changing experience that they will cherish forever.

One of the main  reasons Kate , Harold and Sallie started people and places was to campaign for better volunteering experiences – better for local communities and for volunteers. Back in 2007 they started a questions you should ask campaign – and we’re very  pleased to see that many volunteers, as well as members of the press and other volunteer organisations, are now asking these questions too … BUT – there’s still a long way to go!


[wpdealpon unixtime=”1358374415″ price=”Only £5pm” style=”red” buy_url=”” timer_finish=”2311-08-21 12:30:30″]Join Pledging for Change ethical business community and together we can help People and Places build a bursary fund for ethical volunteering[/wpdealpon]


The context in which Responsible Volunteering works is quite complex but the rules are pretty SIMPLE.  These are the fundamental principles which you will see in more detail within the video presentation below.


S – afety:

both for the volunteer and the community. Any responsible volunteering company has to ensure that the community and the volunteer are prepared for the relationship that will have and the challenges that that relationship will bring. Due diligence is vital and full risk assesments are essential both volunteers and community alike.

I-nformed Consent:

both the community and volunteer have to agree to a contract for what they are going to do and both must be as fully informed as possible including the expression of things that might not sit comfortably with a volunteer initially, yet will protect from payment requests before being fully informed.


what Sallie calls smoke and mirrors in that they have a responsibility to inform volunteers that they are NOT going to change the world, and responsibility to let them know that NOT every penny of their hard earned cash will going to the project. How do they tell it like it is but NOT put up barriers that will prevent booking?


is the volunteer program “fit for purpose“? the communites needs are paramount but a volunteer also has needs, expectations and wishes too. The easiest projects to sell to volunteers can do lots of damage to the very communites that are sent to help in.


will the volunteer program leave a legacy behind? Why is the volunteer going there and are they really leaving knowledge and something useful behind? For example; whats the point of building a school if there are no teachers?


there is a responsibility for transparency to make it clear just exactly how a volunteers money is spent. From another economic point of view.. is the volunteer placement replacing employment for the very community that it supposed to be helping? Why go over and BUILD something when the local people can build and as such be provided with a good job to earn money for the family?


Thanks to WTMWRTD for hosting -and Mark Tanzer of ABTA for chairing this session. Please everyone watch ALL of this video It just gets more and more powerful stay with it please – the issues are so important-kudos to Paul Miedema of Calabash Tours for being such a powerful voice for the communities that all too many volunteer programmes are continuing to exploit – we are privileged to work with you – I am optimistic that there may be real change about to happen! HOORAH – the time to act is NOW! Sallie Grayson


Share This