Volunteer Vacations

By: Lynn Waddell

Learn a little about volunteer vacations.

Take a break and do some good. Volunteer vacations let you learn about an area and its causes while also giving back to the community you’re visiting. But how do you find the opportunities? And what should you expect?

The Internet is an obvious place to search for opportunities. Web sites such as www.volunteerguide.org and idealist.org list volunteer needs of non-profits.

But before jumping on a plane and flying to New Guinea to help a charity you know nothing about it, it’s a good idea to check them out on the website, www.charitynavigator.org, which rates charities on financial efficiency. You can see where they spend most of their money, say on services or director’s salaries.

Finally, be realistic. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t save tigers from extinction in a week. Remember you’re part of a tapestry of volunteers who can make it happen.

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