Category Archives: Uncategorized

Volunteering’s Reciprocity + “Be the Good” Giveaway

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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:

  1. Volunteers are faced with culture shock and complex social problems that force reflection and deeper thinking
  2. Volunteer work with host communities builds relationships.  As communities and volunteers work together they build trust and cross-cultural understanding.
  3. 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.


IVPA Media and Communications Intern Position

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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

Only applications received electronically will be reviewed.   No calls please.   Deadline:  April 26, 2014

Thank you for your interest.

RFP – IVPA Website Redesign

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International Volunteer Programs Association: Website Redesign

 Request for Proposals


Project Summary

This Request For Proposals (RFP) is for the redesign of International Volunteer Program Association’s (IVPA) current website

The main purpose in a site redesign is to create a more visually appealing and adaptable site to increase visitor traffic. 

Company Information

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.
  • Trustworthy
  • 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.

Traffic Reporting

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.

Proposal Instructions

All proposals should be received by 8:00pm ET on April 30, 2014. Submit your proposal by e-mail to Genevieve Brown

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

 Proposed Timeline

The desired delivery date for the revised website is August 31, 2014.

Contact Info

Genevieve Brown, Executive Director

International Volunteer Programs Association














Service For Peace Hosts University Alternative Spring Breaks

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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.

service for peace service for peace 2

Students from Georgia Tech’s AMSA – American Medical Student Association served in the DR’s largest public children’s hospital, El Angelita. They visited the rural Community of Peace to learn about unique challenges facing the medical community in the Dominican Republic, and experience what’s not so different after all.
Service For Peace involves volunteers in ongoing community development programs around the world. Currently Service For Peace works with communities in Kenya,  Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Programs are designed to further the growth and development of individuals and communities through the shared experience of voluntary service. For more information visit Service For Peace .

Go West…Go Abroad

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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.

explore Sodavekt

Have Love – Will Travel: Reading about Volunteers’ Experiences

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 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:

Amigos de las Americas News and Blog

AYUDA’s Latest Updates

Cross-Cultural Solutions’ Blog

Global Citizens Network’s Blog

Global Service Corps’ Blog

Globe Aware News

Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Volunteer Stories

Projects Abroad News

Service For Peace’s Volunteer Stories

Child Beggars – What Should You Do? What Can You Do?

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When traveling or volunteering abroad, especially in developing countries, chances are you will be confronted by a child asking for money. What do you do? Do you give some change, a larger bill, or do you walk away?

Last Fall, Jillian Keenan published an article for titled  Keep the Change, Giving Money to Child Beggars is the Least Generous Thing a Tourist Can Do.   In the article she explains how harmful giving money to child beggars can be.

“Many travelers already know that when we give money (or gifts that can be resold, such as pens), we perpetuate a cycle of poverty and give children a strong incentive to stay out of school. You also may already know that giving candy to children in some areas of the world actually causes enormous suffering, since many communities do not have the resources to treat tooth decay. But the reasons to never, ever give to child beggars go much deeper than that. Organized begging is one of the most visible forms of human trafficking—and it’s largely financed and enabled by good-hearted people who just want to help.”

Child beggars are often victims of human trafficking and the money they earn begging goes to organized criminals who are enslaving children. The movie Slumdog Millionaire  opened a lot of people’s eyes to the plight of child beggars in India but the truth is human trafficking happens everywhere. A BBC’s Panorama program about an investigative report on child beggars in the UK revealed that a child begging could make up to 500 pounds a day. And what happens when the child grows up? Often they are pushed into prostitution.

I love what Keenan suggests on ways to interact with child beggars. We don’t want to ignore the children but we can’t give them money directly. She suggests donating to a legitimate charity and finding ways to interact with beggars that don’t involve giving gifts or money.

“The imperative to not give money or gifts to child beggars doesn’t mean we have to turn our backs on them. Donate to responsible NGOs, and look for creative new ways to be kind to children that won’t disrupt familial dynamics, encourage long-term poverty, undercut local businesses, or abet human trafficking.” “Find an inventive, responsible way to be kind.”

Volunteering Abroad is Within Your Reach

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This article taken from the Winter 2014 IVPA Newsletter.

IVPA Principle and Practice #5: Suggest means of fundraising to participants

To prospective volunteers who are just starting to think about volunteering abroad it may come as a surprise that most volunteer sending organizations charge a fee to participate in the program or project. Program fees allow for a volunteer sending organization to maintain a sustainable volunteer program in their partner communities and provide important support before, during and after a trip.  At first glance, a program fee may seem prohibitive to many who want to volunteer but there are ways to make volunteering abroad more affordable.

Fundraising Opens the Door
For many, fundraising is a key that opens the door to volunteering abroad. Some volunteers even fundraise all of their travel and program costs.  Asking friends, family, neighbors and local businesses to contribute to your volunteer trip involves a whole network of people with your experience and your cause. In many cases part of their contribution is also tax deductible*

IVPA member organizations adhere to Principle and Practice #5 by suggesting means of fundraising to participants.  For many first time volunteers, fundraising for their trip is their first exposure to fundraising. IVPA members have years of experience coaching and provide the support volunteers who need it.
Some of the advice from IVPA Members includes:

  • “Set concrete goals.” Global Citizens Network
  • “Make it convenient for your sponsors to donate by telling them about the simple and secure online donation process.” Cross-Cultural Solutions
  • Ask for a specific amount of money. Serivce For Peace
  • Think of creative solutions like: ‘bid on a date’ evening, arts and craft sales, car washes, entering a ‘bike-a-thon’. Habitat for Humanity
  • Approach your employer about a Contribution Match Program. Globe Aware

Fundraising is work but volunteer sending organization can provide the tools and knowledge needed to get the work done. And as Service For Peace return volunteer, Michael Bustamente, stated “Honestly, I can’t even recall what the exact cost of the project was. What I will never forget is the exposure the program gave me. You can’t really put a value on that.”

*Ask your volunteer sending organization or a tax professional if and how much a contribution is deductible.


“Never think you need to apologize for asking someone to give to a worthy cause, any more than as though you were giving him or her an opportunity to participate in a high-grade investment. The duty of giving is as much his or hers as is the duty of asking yours.”
– John D. Rockefeller, Jr

Make Your 2014 New Year’s Resolutions a Reality

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Love it or hate it, with a New Year comes New Year’s resolutions. Does your new year’s resolutions look something like the list below?


2014 New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Travel
  2. Volunteer


Every year some of the most popular resolutions include “taking a trip” and “volunteering to help others in need”.  Why not combine those goals and volunteer abroad? There are so many volunteer opportunities out there. Just a quick google search can overwhelm with information but the good news is that there IS an opportunity out there that will fit your abilities, interests and circumstances.

Start your journey now. Make 2014 the year you take that step outside yourself and volunteer abroad. Start by making the goal and move forward by researching opportunities and organizations . A great way to start your foot on the right path is to check out IVPA’s Member Organizations. IVPA members have a diverse list of projects all over the world that varying lengths of time and the best part is IVPA Members have committed to 35 best practices of volunteer-sending organizations. This is your year.



“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”- Mark Twain