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Chloe Hall
ENGL 1102-097
Dr. Sally Griffin
April 4, 2014
Second Draft of Paper

Volunteer abroad programs allow someone to travel, see the world, grow as an
individual, and do worthy things for another country. It also gives an individual the
opportunity to learn so much about his or her own character. Giving someone the chance to
do things that they have never done before in their life is another great aspect of
volunteering internationally. Many locals can do what the international volunteers are
doing, however lending a helping hand, growing friendships, and possibly giving someone
the opportunity to lean on you through hardships is irreplaceable. Unlike paid
employment, volunteering abroad allows flexibility as someone can choose how long they
would like to be volunteering for and where they would like to be whether it is improving
childrens education in Tanzania, enhancing the quality of healthcare in India, teaching
English in Brazil, or assisting and supporting those affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
Although volunteering abroad comes with experiences of such great value and so many
benefits for someone to grow as individual, it can also come with a large fee and worries
how the program handles your money or donation. Many people, when we first think about
volunteering abroad, think that it should be enough that we give our time. Therefore, why
should we pay for the privilege of volunteering internationally? How do non-profit
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organizations prevent fraudulent activity and remain successful? What benefits come from
volunteering abroad?
According to Stebbins and Graham, it is generally agreed that the volunteer is one
who offers service, time and skills to benefit others, provides voluntary personal aid while
living in developing communities, and gains mutual learning, friendship and
adventurousness. Definitions of volunteers necessarily include the recognition that they
are those who provide assistance, or unpaid service, usually for the benefit of the
community. This may be through formal involvement as a volunteer in an organization,
and/or independently as an individual. Therefore, the concept of volunteering is defined as
an action perceived as freely chosen, without financial gain and generally aimed at helping
others (208). Joanne Fritz states, Volunteering abroad can be referred to as arranged
volunteering." It is usually done through an organized program that makes arrangements
with nonprofits (usually called NGOs or Non-Governmental Organizations) in the country
where you volunteer.
Many non-profit organizations face the fear of fraud and embezzlement. Along with
the worries of non-profit organizations, volunteers and donors may be concerned with
where their fees to volunteer abroad or donations go.
On October 26, 2013, the Washington Post reported that from 2008 to 2012, more
than 1,000 nonprofit organizations disclosed hundreds of millions in losses attributed to
theft, fraud, embezzlement, and other unauthorized uses of funds and organizational
assets. According to a study cited by the Post, nonprofits and religious organizations suffer
one-sixth of all major embezzlements; second only to the financial services industry.
Nonprofits are generally established for beneficial purposes and assume that their
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employees share the organization's philanthropic mission. As such, nonprofits tend to be
more trusting of their employees and have less stringent financial controls than their for-
profit counterparts. Thus, they fall prey to embezzlement and other forms of employee
fraud at an alarming rate (Devaney et al 2013).
By way of recent example, as reported by the Washington Post: From 1999 to 2007,
the American Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about the
dangers of smoking, suffered an estimated $3.4 million loss as a result of alleged
embezzlement by a former employee. In 2012, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis
and Malaria reported to the federal government a misuse of funds or unsubstantiated
spending of $43 million. In 2011, the Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, New
York reported a loss of $8.6 million through the "theft" of certain medical devices (Devaney
et al 2013).
Few non-profits can afford losses of any size, let alone $100,000 or more. Non-profit
organizations have found many warning signs that make it easier for dishonest employees
to engage in criminal behavior. Among these risks are; inadequate internal controls, lack of
management review, override of existing internal controls, under staffing, relatively low
compensation, whether wages or benefits, lack of employee training, limits on career
advancement, employees personal financial issues, lack of strong company leadership
(Zack 2003).
With the worries of fraudulent activity and embezzlement, nonprofit organizations
have trouble finding the positive ways of staying successful. Cass Wheelers book, Youve
Gotta Have Heart: Achieving Purpose Beyond Profit in the Social Sector, and Lester
Salamons book, The State of Nonprofit America, both do a great job of explaining how a
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nonprofit organization can stay successful and how accountability is so important within
an organization.
Wheeler explains that having a breakthrough goal energizes and focuses the
organization on success. It builds passion and excitement among your employees,
volunteers, board members, donors, and the public. When creating a breakthrough goal, it
is important to ask yourself as an organization: Is anyone else doing this? If so, how can we
do it more effectively? If not, is anyone else better positioned to do this? Where can we
provide added value? For example, groups serving youth might focus on reducing
absenteeism, drug use, or dropout rates or measure the movement of at-risk students
becoming more active in school activities. Organizations providing social assistance might
set a goal to increase the number of people living above the poverty level a year later. While
setting a breakthrough goal as a non-profit organization, it is important to create financial
models in a business plan: In a business you are predicting profit; in creating your
breakthrough goal you are measuring impact. The goal should also have a good chance of
coming to fruition (66).
Nonprofit Organizations rely on the public trust to do their work. That is why it is so
important that nonprofits continuously earn the publics trust through their commitment
to ethical principles. If only one donor loses confidence in a charitable nonprofit because
the nonprofit behaves unethically, thats one too many.
Wheeler states that volunteers are also customers. We must treat them accordingly
and earn their trust and respect. You need to build an organizational culture that values
both staff members and volunteers. Volunteers want to be part of something about which
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they have a deep sense of pride. They will only donate their time and recruit friends and
challenges if they have confidence in the competence of their staff partners (160).
Salamon defines accountability as the extent to which one must answer to a higher
authority, legal or organizational, for ones actions in society at large or within ones
organization. There must be a code of ethics, rule, law, regulation, internally sanctioned
procedure, or organizational policy that is accepted by all stakeholders as a valid and
legitimate standard of performance. There must be some type of overseeing authority that
is recognized by all stakeholders as legitimate and qualified to judge compliance or
performance relative to the standard. The oversight body must itself have sufficient
internal capacity, including resources and management expertise, to effectively and fairly
monitor compliance (598).
Financial accounting documents are used by outside stakeholders to evaluate the
financial condition of the organization and its compliance with commonly accepted
accounting rules and standards, such as those established by the Financial Accounting
Standards Board (FASB). The two essential questions are: Where did the money come from
and how was it spent? In an attempt to enhance accountability reporting, the IRS revised
Form 990, requiring nonprofits to supply more information on their finances, governance,
program performance, and management operations. Budget documents translate the
organizations long-range strategic plans and annual operating plans into financial terms. A
business plan contains both financial and nonfinancial information about new programs or
business ventures being considered by a nonprofit organization (Salamon 562).
Ron Mattocks expresses in his book, Zone of Insolvency: How Non Profits Avoid
Hidden Liabilities and Build Financial Strength, non-profit organizations need to become
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more engaged with management issues. The zone of insolvency can alter the relationship
between organization and donor. If, for example, an organization operating in the zone is
offered a major gift with significant restrictions, it needs to make its financial situation
crystal clear right up front or risk violating the donor's legal rights.
As I grew older and more mature, volunteering abroad was appealing to me in the
sense of helping others while exploring a new country at the same time. I took it as a
personal challenge to grow as an individual and learn new things about myself.
Volunteering locally in the past was a great way to grow friendships and relationships with
different organizations. I wasnt aware that volunteering internationally comes with a large
cost. Through Stebbins and Grahams research in the area of volunteerism, it has shown
that people working and living together on jobs of social significance often results in
facilitating understanding and friendships that are more important to the participants than
the physical construction itself. Whatever the genesis of the program, it is the personal
encounter between the volunteer and the community that is essential. Additionally,
research on international volunteer organizations has demonstrated an orientation
towards reviewing the issues around personal development (page 212).
On many volunteer abroad program websites you will find the question Why do I
need to pay to volunteer? under their FAQs tab. Cross Cultural Solutions answered this
question stating, With CCS, you dont pay to volunteer. You pay for the assurance of living
in a safe and comfortable Home-Base; an opportunity to be completely immersed in a
warm and welcoming community, and to find the family that you never knew you had. Your
program fee enables us to create an incredible breadth of Cultural Activities, from language
and cooking lessons, to exclusive lectures on local culture and history. Your contribution
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will help to create long-term sustainable jobs paying living wages for local people, like the
CCS directors, drivers, cooks, and house guards, and to make sure that theyre all expertly
trained. Youll pay so that the ingredients necessary for the CCS cook to prepare authentic,
healthy cuisine are purchased locally, and to ensure that the trusty passenger van safely
transporting you to and from your volunteer project each day is ready for the job. The
contribution of your program fee is an investment in your international experience, and in
the local economy in a community that youll soon call home.
Charity Guide explains the purpose of a service program fee: "Volunteers are asked
to pay for their own travel expenses, and even non-profit agencies need to be reimbursed
for recruiting costs, volunteer training, and on-site coordination. Volunteer vacation
program fees range from $50 to $3,000+, depending on the agency's degree of involvement
and the accommodation provided. Volunteer vacation program fees are relatively small
when accommodation is "basic", such as a tent in a national park, and when volunteers
prepare their own meals. At the other extreme, program fees charged by organizations
such as Global Volunteers can be as high as a few thousand dollars. But, in return for higher
fees comes the comfort and safety you pay for: extensive pre-trip reading materials,
someone to escort you from the airport, security when using public transportation in high
risk areas, on-site training, hotel accommodation, prepared meals, a volunteer coordinator
on-site at all times, assistance dealing with local officials, etc. As well, Global Volunteers will
use part of your program fee to pay for supplies donated to the hospital, school, or
community being served."
Although someone would have to pay a fee to volunteer abroad, there are many
advantages that come with fee. LeAnn Joy Adam described the benefits of paying a program
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fee to volunteer when she worked as the Overseas Resource Coordinator at Stanford
University: Orientation, including important pre-departure reading material as well as on-
site orientation on local culture, history and customs. Arranged accommodations, providing
an important connection to the culture and a first-hand view of social and political events
in the country. A safety net, staff to provide logistical and emotional support. Clear
expectations, your responsibilities, in the host community, are clear and well-defined.
Affordability, when you calculate the difference between traveling to a country on your
own and the cost of participating in a program, you might be surprised by how little the
difference is (Global Volunteers).
As I grew older and more mature, volunteering abroad was appealing to me in the
sense of helping others while exploring a new country at the same time. I took it as a
personal challenge to grow as an individual and learn new things about myself.
Volunteering locally in the past was a great way to grow friendships and relationships with
different organizations. Through Stebbins and Grahams research in the area of
volunteerism, it has shown that people working and living together on jobs of social
significance often results in facilitating understanding and friendships that are more
important to the participants than the physical construction itself. Whatever the genesis of
the program, it is the personal encounter between the volunteer and the community that is
essential. Additionally, research on international volunteer organizations has
demonstrated an orientation towards reviewing the issues around personal development
(page 212).
In reviewing the international volunteering literature, there is a focus on personal
development and the role of learning in changing or influencing the self, which introduces
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to the alternative tourism experience issues relating to self-identity and change. The
research of Weinmann and Carlson, in considering exposure to a new culture, found
personal development related to: greater tolerance; a more compassionate understanding
of other people and their individual differences; and the gaining of a more global
perspective and insight into new values, beliefs and ways of life. Learning components
within this exchange included academic learning, the development of personal knowledge,
self-confidence, independence, cultural awareness and social abilities (Stebbins and
Graham page 211).

I have been the recipient of love and service; therefore
I can love and serve. There is great satisfaction in
service to others, in seeing people and their conditions
change.
Clarence E. Hodges

Volunteering abroad not only gives someone the chance to give back, but it also
gives someone a reason to explore, have a team or program behind an individual to give
them a peace of mind, a place to stay, and a new place to explore. Building a resume is
another great benefit from volunteering abroad as it shows a business or employer an
individual is committed, flexible, dedicated, and hard working. Some volunteering
opportunities offer placement within an individuals field of study that can also be of value
for career development. The best part of it all is a volunteer will have a better
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understanding of another culture, challenge their comfort zone, and develop bonds with
people they never imagined.