International volunteering is an inherently reciprocal act, yet often it is the volunteer who is most changed by the experience. Return volunteers describe their experience as life changing. Why is volunteering abroad such a powerful experience? International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) believes that volunteering abroad changes the participant because of the following experiences:
- Volunteers are faced with culture shock and complex social problems that force reflection and deeper thinking
- Volunteer work with host communities builds relationships. As communities and volunteers work together they build trust and cross-cultural understanding.
- Return volunteers are passionate about making a positive change in the world and have real ties to communities in need. Volunteers are more likely to become future change agents and involved global citizens.
IVPA believes that volunteers have a greater chance of positively impacting the community and having a life-changing experience when they are: open, respectful and informed.
As a reminder that we must first be the good we wish to see in the world IVPA is partnering with Cents of Style to give away one of their “Be The Good” graphic t-shirts. To enter the IVPA “Be the Good” Giveaway, click on the link and make sure you like IVPA’s Facebook page. Additional entries through following IVPA on Twitter and tweeting a message about the giveaway.
To celebrate Earth Day we highlighted a few conservation projects offered by IVPA member organizations.
Projects Abroad – Projects Abroad offers a range of conservation projects with a variety of accompanying time commitments.
Project: Veterinary Medicine & Animal Care in China
Location: China: Chengdu, Ya’an
Volunteers on the Veterinary Medicine & Animal Care project are based at the Bifengxia Panda Base, a center primarily for captive breeding. Daily tasks include preparing food for the pandas, cleaning out enclosures, and keeping data on panda behavior. This project is open to anyone interested in animal care and wildlife conservation. No specific work experience with animals is required.
For more information: http://www.projects-abroad.org
Project: Sustaining Thailand’s Treasures
Location: Thailand: Ayutthaya, Bangkok
Take a volunteer vacation and see and participate in how Thais really live and help to preserve Thailand’s native elephant habitat. You will find yourself in one the most unique environments, working to build an ecologically sustainable reforested habitat to give elephants a home. With a volunteer vacation, you can be a part of the solution and help change the fate of elephants in Thailand by creating ways for the people of Surin Province to promote sustainable elephant eco-tourism, preserve their natural habitat and provide an alternative to the current use of elephants as revenue in circuses and street begging operations.
For more information: http://www.globeaware.org
Amigos de las Americas
Project: Collaborate for Environmental Sustainability
Location: Perez Zeledón, Costa Rica
This summer volunteers in Costa Rica will play an integral role in collaborating with local youth to promote environmental awareness and stewardship in local host communities and national parks. Beyond traditional AMIGOS activities, this unique project also includes two 6-day “campamentos” (camps) in national parks where Tico and AMIGOS volunteers work alongside one another in trail maintenance, cultural exchange, and team-building activities.
More information: http://www.amigoslink.org
This is just a small insight into ways volunteers can get involved in conservation projects around the world. Volunteering abroad projects often incorporate conservation aspects even if it isn’t the main focus. To take a look at all of IVPA members and their programs, please reference IVPA’s Member List
Position Description: IVPA Internship – Media and Communications
Approximate Dates: May 5 – August 22, 2014
Application Deadline: April 26, 2014
Location: This is not a location specific internship.
Wage: Internship is unpaid but a small stipend of $500 or discount on volunteer travel program options are be available.
The International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) is a 501c3 nonprofit association dedicated to promoting awareness and access to quality volunteer aboard programs. IVPA is committed to standards of excellence in the field of international volunteering and IVPA member organizations must uphold the IVPA’s Principles and Practices as guidelines for good programming as well as meet stringent membership criteria. IVPA is an association of volunteer sending organizations but does not organize or run its own volunteer programs.
The Main Duties of this position are to support the online branding and marketing presence of IVPA
The Responsibilities of this position will vary but may include the following:
- Take part in the rollout of a new social media campaign
- Curate content for dissemination on social media platforms
- Contact and liaison with potential social media partners
- Author special topic IVPA Blog Posts and Newsletter articles
- Support administrative projects and other duties as assigned
- Demonstrated interest in international volunteering, cross-cultural exchange and/or previous international travel or study abroad experience
- Ability to work independently, remotely and manage multiple tasks and deadlines
- Understanding and experience with social media platforms
- Experience with Microsoft Office
- Strong writing and copy writing skills
Hours and Length of Service: Intern hours are flexible and will be arranged prior to start date. Intern must be willing to offer a minimum of four months of service or 125 hours. A longer commitment is preferred.
Supervision: Intern’s responsibilities and work arrangements will be coordinated with and supervised by the IVPA Director.
To Apply: Interested candidates should submit a cover letter & resume. Please email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org
Only applications received electronically will be reviewed. No calls please. Deadline: April 26, 2014
Thank you for your interest.
International Volunteer Programs Association: Website Redesign
Request for Proposals
This Request For Proposals (RFP) is for the redesign of International Volunteer Program Association’s (IVPA) current website www.volunteerinternational.org.
The main purpose in a site redesign is to create a more visually appealing and adaptable site to increase visitor traffic.
IVPA is a small 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to promoting awareness and access to quality volunteer aboard programs. IVPA is committed to standards of excellence in the field of international volunteering and IVPA member organizations must uphold the IVPA’s Principles and Practices as guidelines for good programming as well as meet stringent membership criteria. IVPA is an association of volunteer sending organizations but does not organize or run its own volunteer programs.
The main target audience for the IVPA website is US Americans interested in volunteering abroad. Secondary geographic target location would be English speakers and those interested in volunteering from Canada, UK and Australia. The target age ranges from 16 – 65 years old with prime target being 19-24 year olds.
The majority of the visitors to the site are from the United States followed by Canada, United Kingdom, China and Australia.
Tools and High Level Functionality
The functionality of the IVPA website should include the following features and tools:
- Content management so that text can be easily added to and updated
- Integration of IVPA blog (currently hosted on free version of WordPress)
- Email sign-up for newsletter (currently run by Campaign Monitor). Would like to add a bot prevention
- Links to social media: Twitter, FB and IG
- Map or search feature for current countries where IVPA Members have programs.
- Currently we have a search feature that allows visitors to search by project type and/or location. This is a valuable feature but is problematic for the redesign. The search function is written in Flash which limits our alternative host options
Design Look & Feel
- Clean lines
- Nice use of white space
- Good use of graphics and photography
- Easy to read and digest information.
- Promotes international volunteerism
In a search of “volunteer international” IVPA’s website comes up first. Yet with other similar searches like “volunteer abroad” IVPA does not come up on the first page.
In 2013, the IVPA website averaged 13,057 visitors a month with 51% absolute unique visitors.
A large portion, 55%, of traffic came through organic searches and 14% came to the site directly. Key words and phrases used in searches by visitors included variations of the words international, volunteer, programs.
SEO remains a high priority for the IVPA site and there is concern about a website redesign altering our Google ranking. We would like to increase our SEO with the new site.
We currently use Google Analytics and would like to continue to do so for our web trafficking needs.
Budget (including hosting and maintaining)
We do have an alternative hosting options that cost around $60/yr. Current web changes are done pro bono by the previous designer of the IVPA site. With the redesign we would not have a dedicated webmaster and any updates would be done in house.
Our budget allotted for this project is up to $7,000.
All proposals should be received by 8:00pm ET on April 30, 2014. Submit your proposal by e-mail to Genevieve Brown email@example.com
As part of your proposal, please address the following:
- Sample Project Plan
- Project Budget
- Your approach to web design
- Details regarding your website project management process
- A summary of website development experience
- A list of at least two client references
- Identify who will be involved on your project team, including their relevant experience and credentials
Please be sure to include the name and contact details of persons to be approached for clarification of the proposal if needed
The desired delivery date for the revised website is August 31, 2014.
Genevieve Brown, Executive Director
International Volunteer Programs Association
IVPA member Service For Peace just finished an exciting month of March hosting six alternative spring groups. These six groups of university students chose to take part in alternative spring breaks, participating in service projects and learning about new cultures in Guatemala and Dominican Republic.
Students and staff members from Alternative Breaks@UCSD joined the Service For Peace Servicio Para la Paz República Dominicana team in La Represa, Dominican Republic to continue construction of two new classrooms, a new computer lab and an administrative office/library, AND learn to make organic chocolate courtesy of the new Empowered Women’s Cooperative. In Guatemala another Alternative Breaks@UCSD group joined Service For Peace to continue building three new classrooms in the Community of Peace of El Quimal.
New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof has long been an advocate for study abroad and recently he reiterated his stance that more Americans, particularly college students, should study abroad, do a gap year or otherwise live abroad.
“The number of Americans studying abroad has tripled over the last 20 years, but, still, fewer than 10 percent of college students study overseas during undergraduate years.”
As Kristof explains, learning another language and living abroad expands your perspective, exposes you to a new culture and way of life and gives you the tools to interact with an increasingly globalized world.
As an association, IVPA is dedicated to promoting awareness and access to valuable volunteer abroad programs. Many people don’t realize that volunteering abroad can be an adaptable experience depending on your situation and time commitment. Volunteer programs can be short term, a week or two, but many of IVPA’s member organizations offer Gap Year experiences and/or college credit with longer volunteer programs.
Credit: LA Hall
I am always renewed by the stories of travelers, the connections and encounters. Just reading over some of IVPA members’ blogs I feel I am gaining some of that knowledge by reading about volunteers and their experiences. Check out some of the latest from IVPA’s members and you might just catch the travel volunteer bug yourself: