Our use of Money
“Why should I pay to volunteer?… if I want to volunteer in my community I just go and do it!”
Volunteering, interning or taking a placement abroad is a bit different from volunteering in the community where you live. In your own community, you are likely to know the people you would be volunteering for; how and where can your time make a difference and who to contact if you want to be involved. Also, your cost of living is covered by staying in your own home.
If you travel abroad the scenario gets complicated by finding a place where your skills can be useful, taking account of local knowledge. Making sure that your time is useful rather than just taking part in voluntourism, that might not really help the local community; but instead serve to enrich someone else. You also have the question of having to cover your cost of living and travelling there in a way that will also benefit the community and not someone’s pocket.
Being mindful of the possible damages of voluntarism. As a social enterprise we spend our time and efforts forming meaningful partnerships with local institutions and organisations that are in most cases part of the local community. We also invest in guaranteeing your safety. Furthermore, for being an organisation dedicated to the protection of tropical forest, we make sure that our placements are aimed at protecting the forests and helping you gain practical research experience.
From having lived in developing countries and partnering with responsible local organisations we have insider-understanding of the issues faced by the communities we help. In most developing countries forest communities depend directly on healthy forests for their livelihood and are often alone in a struggle to protect their forests for themselves and the good of humanity.
Similarly, research and conservation organisations that protect these forests are under-resourced. Therefore, our work and your support are aimed at empowering these organisations and local communities to protect the forests and keep them alive for the benefits of human kind. Also, as faithful protectors of nature, we want to help the future generation of sustainability leaders prepare to face the challenges of climate change and protect the planet in the future. With that purpose in mind, we find research and conservation opportunities that will enhance your career.
Where does my money go?
We are a social enterprise, which means our business model is that of running a commercial operation for the benefits of society.
We do not depend on charitable money and donations or grant applications from governments and foundations. We run our operation as a non-for-profit service. The money you pay also goes to support forest conservation projects, as well as the local communities.
We are different from volunteering organisations in which we do not rent premises abroad or own volunteering camps: in other words we are against the green colonialism that many voluntarism companies practice. You will receive accommodation and food services from local service providers, so the benefits go directly to the local community. We work in partnership with local conservation/research organisations that need extra man power to conduct their work without putting at risk local employment. This is why, we have a more efficient operation in which most of the project fee is dedicated to the direct costs of your participation in the project, allowing us deliver value for money to you and greater benefit to the local community. We also have a policy of not creating extra costs for the organisations we work with in developing countries. And also make sure that the volunteers/ interns add extra capacity to the organisation’s work, without being a substitute for any of the local employees. In this way we conduct a socially responsible business that makes a contribution to the communities where you work and supports local social development.
There is a lot more than meets the eye, that takes place behind the scenes to make your project possible.
- We have the obvious direct costs of the services you receive such as: food, accommodation and transport provided. But we also have other direct costs such as
- Administration and logistics: booking of the services you receive, information provided and risk management, to make sure you stay safe and your placement goes smoothly.
- Support the project you work, with equipment and tools, when necesary.
- Coordinating a work plan tailored to your personal requirements. We take extra care to make sure that the partner organisation where you will be putting your time, creates a work plan that will be instructive, challenging and rewarding for you personally, according to your level of education, technical background and skills.
- Other direct costs: we make sure that we do not make our partner organisation incur in expenses due to your stay, so we also cover costs related to your work with regards to species licenses, protected areas access permit and employment of personnel only needed to service your project/stay i.e translation during your session if required as well as house keeping and coordination where necessary .
Indirect project costs
- Recruitment and communications. Cost of interviewing candidates and all communication related.
- Web development: To be able to take bring our projects to you (our audience) we require to keep our website up to date and therefore support the people and systems that make that possible.
- We also incur in communications costs. This being in person, through talks and information events as well as written/ printed materials.
- This includes the running of our organisations, such as office and salary of the people that make our work possible.
- Taxes and insurances
- Cost of researching our proposed projects before they are brought to you.