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Volunteer Programs: A Receiver’s Perspective Ninad Sharma IDEX


• Established in 2002 • Run a variety of programs in rural and urban locations • Programs in only 3 regions of India with a number of relevant integrated social projects • “Full service” approach


Model for Volunteering Programs • Our own accommodation, meals and daily transport • Residential staff for 24/7 support • Number of workshops and excursions • Onsite assistance at project sites • Online management of programs for senders


Why did we become a Receiving Organization? • • • • •

A fast growing form of youth travel Growing interest from the 35+ segment Attractive to schools and universities Opportunity to make a social impact Commercial viability


Challenges Volunteers

• Poor acceptance of for-profit companies • Unrealistic expectations of their impact • Lack of cultural relativity and responsible behavior • Poor absorption of pre-departure info • Lack of prior work experience or skills • Language barriers


Challenges Local stakeholders

• Taking volunteer orgs as development Orgs. • Tendency to depend on volunteers • Sensitive towards negative impact of volunteers • Unclear visa policies


Challenges Sending Organization • Low understanding of sales personnel about social development • Tempted to oversell • Ineffective managing of expectations • Distribution of sufficient information • Either overcharging ….and not able to explain the prices • …or not charging enough…..to invest in this as a serious product


WETM 2011 - Volunteer Semdinar, Receiver