- GVN Blog
International volunteering requires you to invest a considerable amount of time, funds and trust in the organization you are volunteering with.
At GVN we provide you not only with the facilities, but also with the confidence to go ahead and help communities in need around the world. With 14 years of service and 20006 volunteers under our belt, we strive to remain helpful, personable, and professional in our relationship with volunteers. We aim to provide you with all the resources, support, and information you will need to take part in a successful and rewarding volunteer program with us.
GVN won't compromise on quality and community impact.
We place no more than 8 volunteers a month into our projects. This is a key factor for you to consider when choosing a volunteer organisation. Unfortunately, the cheap volunteer companies out there cram as many volunteers as possible into one project. We have heard horror stories of 50+ people being placed into a small community at the same time, and volunteers having to share a bedroom with 8+ other people. This leads to a disappointing experience and a negative impact on the community. For this reason GVN has priced its programs to ensure your program experience is not comprised.
What also makes us unique is that we are a non-profit. This is really important because we have the community's needs at heart. When programs are under-priced the community is left having to pick up the tab. This is really unfortunate because they are the ones least able to do this. As a result, the very people you are wanting to help end up having to pull out of the program and everyone loses. The other great thing is that any excess funds a non-profit has are used for community purposes rather than going into the pocket of the company owner. GVN's pricing takes into account the needs of each community we work with.
Over the past 14 years we have connected 20006+ volunteers with our 93 projects in 19 different countries throughout South America, Africa, and Asia. Our diverse opportunities include volunteer programs, training programs, and fundraising treks.
This is how we do it...
Our vision is to connect people with communities in need. We do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.
Our staff in New Zealand are passionate about their work, we want to ensure volunteers have an incredibly rewarding and memorable personal experience on their placement.
We work with our partner organizations to support them in achieving their goals and ensuring that their projects are sustainable and effective.
At GVN we value our relationships with our local partner organizations. When you volunteer with us you can be assured you are helping a local grassroots organization rather than a large travel/tour provider. This means that volunteer efforts directly benefit local groups, local communities, and local people.
By sourcing international volunteers for our partners we allow them to concentrate on the work they are doing to bring positive changes to their communities, rather than having to worry about recruiting and sourcing volunteers.
Our local partners experience the everyday life and struggles of the local people, they have intimate knowledge of what they go through and what they face in their day to day life. Our partners want to impart this knowledge to our volunteers giving them the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of communities in need.
Our partners and their goals inspire us each and every day in the GVN office.
At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organizations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.
What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.
We are proud of the work our local partners are able to carry out through our volunteers. Below are just two examples of our partner’s recent achievements:
GVN Kenya Partner, Ms. Irene Wairimu Ngatia, has been honoured by the Embassy of United States in Nairobi, Kenya for her outstanding leadership and humanitarian service to children and families in need of social services, education, shelter, food, and medical attention throughout the region.
On the 5th anniversary of our Vietnam partner’s operation, Viet Dang noted that “more than 1,200 international volunteers have been placed and thousands of dollars have been donated, which has helped improve many needy lives in the central region of Vietnam. I have seen at many places in our program the children being happy, healthy and well-educated. Many thanks.”
The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Charitable incorporation number is: CC46460. GVN has been verified and approved by Idealist (the largest volunteer portal on the internet. GVN is also a member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), and our ‘sister’ organization the GVN Foundation has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Prestigious web sites such as Lonely Planet and Goabroad.com have placed web links to us. Additionally, when you apply, we can provide you with contact information for previous volunteers if you wish. GVN is also an approved member of the Site Trust Network and you can view our verification page.
Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating "I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network." Newsweek Web
CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you. CNN encourages you to visit our website to get more details on how you too can Be The Change.
To give you peace of mind, GVN has over fourteen years experience and has placed 20006+ volunteers since 2002. Read volunteers' journals and testimonials or speak to a returned volunteer directly about their experience abroad through GVN.
GVN’s specialist staff provide personal support to volunteers, assisting not only with preparation for your placement, but whilst in-country, and follow-up on return home. GVN provides comprehensive Program Guides, project resources (eg teaching resources).
GVN aligns with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', therefore we work with local community organizations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.
GVN offer an insurance package tailored specifically for volunteers. Partner’s staff are always available (24hr/7days), along with this GVN also has a 24hr/7day emergency hotline.
So you’re interested in volunteering abroad but not sure how to get the process started? What do I do from here, what can I expect from GVN, and what’s needed from me?
At Global Volunteer Network, we have 14 years of experience placing international volunteers and we’re here to share our knowledge with you, to help you get where you want to go. This page is a short guide to how volunteering works in practice.
Are you interested in a specific country or culture? Or you do have a particular type of project in mind, regardless of where in the world it is?
There are so many options available at GVN there’s bound to be a program to suit you. We recommend you read through our program descriptions or speak to our staff members to find out which program is the best match for you.
Our programs run year round and placements range from 1 week to 6 months. It’s up to you when and for how long you take part, giving you flexibility to make your arrangements.
If your application is successful we will email you with a Letter of Acceptance. To secure your placement in the program you will then need to pay your application fee. GVN is one of the few organizations that allow you to transfer your application fee to another program at no extra cost.
Throughout the process, we are committed to working with you to answer any of your questions or concerns.
Once you have secured your placement in the program you will be provided with further information to help you prepare for your trip. You will receive access to your online Program Guide which covers topics such as country information, details on your placement, travel links, visa application process and much more. Your Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch with you, and can answer any questions you may have and provide you with guidance while you are preparing for your placement.
We also have videos, photo galleries, volunteer journals and other resources to give you an idea of what you can expect during your volunteer program with us.
You will be provided with detailed information on the necessary arrival arrangements for your program. In most cases volunteers will be picked up at the airport by a representative of our partner organization and taken back to their accommodation.
This ensures you are supported from your arrival in country and minimises your chances of getting lost in an unfamiliar city!
You will find the in country partner to be an excellent support base during your placement. In most instances training and orientation are provided at the start of your placement as a means to help you settle into your project as well as providing cultural and safety advice for your time on the project.
During your placement GVN staff in New Zealand are also available to support you as a volunteer and will email you while in country to discuss how the program is going. Our 24 hour emergency telephone number provides an opportunity to get in touch with us in the case of an emergency.
Taking part in one of our volunteer programs is an inspirational and motivational experience. You will return home wondering how you can continue to support the projects you participated in.
Returned volunteers join our Change Makers club which provides them with a variety of opportunities for staying connected to their volunteer project and GVN.