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Tips for turning a vacation into a volunteer opportunity

When most people think of a vacation, one word tends to mind – relax. With today's highly crowded lifestyle, the vacation gives you much-needed comfort to the bustling business world. For many, the goals of the holidays are simple: get away from reality as humanly as possible, leave all work-related problems and put pressure on them, and enjoy rest while relaxing with family and friends. While many Americans still prefer the "traditional" type of vacation, the relatively new trend is gaining in popularity in the travel industry today: volunteering.

What is volunteering? As the name implies, volunteer work combines vacations with volunteering at the destination visited. Instead of an extravagant beach getaway, some Americans share their time with the needy. In fact, according to some recent studies, the number of organizations that offer volunteer leave has doubled over the past few years. One of the great great things about volunteering is that people of all ages and lifestyles can participate and offer something unique to this cause.

For those who are not keen to travel abroad or simply want to volunteer their time for reasons within the United States, there are many opportunities available here in your backyard. The U.S. government has a serve.gov site dedicated to helping Americans connect with volunteer opportunities. These similar websites provide a starting point for those looking to give their time and efforts to a cause like you.

In this article, we cover some helpful tips for those looking to launch a volunteer event.

Keep them at reasonable prices

Keeping expenses low can make a volunteer trip more enjoyable. Every effort should be made to reduce the expenses incurred by volunteers. Think creatively about ways your company can partner with nonprofits and other local companies to cut costs. For example, contact local restaurants or churches to find out if they want to provide low-cost or free meals to volunteers. Ideas like this are great ways to cut costs and make the experience even more enjoyable for its participants. After all, providing an unforgettable experience will help build a lasting relationship with the individuals involved in your case – and make them more likely to return in the future.

Find fun things to do in the area

Your site may be more to offer than you think. Don't exclude your organization as a potential volunteer destination just because you think you live in a boring city. Often times, people overlook many interesting sites in the area. Do your research. Ask for travel guides about your state, search the internet, and perhaps take a wild trip to explore your site with an open mind. Amusement parks, historical monuments, historical sites and even sporting events are great attractions to consider. Remember to look behind the backyard – you may find something interesting about a few hours from your site.

Develop a volunteer management strategy

Volunteer vacations are completely different from regular volunteer opportunities. With volunteers traveling from different states (perhaps even from countries) staying for weeks at a time, a lack of organization on your part can quickly lead to a negative experience for participants. For this reason, it is important to think about how your organization manages, tracks and communicates with followers. If your nonprofit is still relying solely on a paper event management system, then it may be time to think about updating it to an online volunteer management system. Using an online system, your organization can spread volunteer opportunities online – allowing participants to browse and record events themselves. Nonprofits worldwide are transforming into cloud-based systems to reduce administrative manpower and costs as well as simplify the entire volunteer management process.

Enhance your volunteer vacation

A key step in shaping your volunteer vacation is developing an effective marketing plan. How will you post a word about your event? Marketing is about creating innovative ways to sell your product, or in this case your "vacation" to your target audience. Put yourself in the place of those you are trying to attract. Think about the things that might paint You are To the opportunity to volunteer. When designing an online ad or promotional brochure, remember to include important information such as: required skills (if any), event duration, and any additional arrangements made to reduce participant costs (such as food and accommodation). Also, include a list of attractions in the area so that entrepreneurs can plan their free time in advance.

If you spend time thinking outside the box, your organization can easily find inexpensive or even free ways to commercialize your volunteer vacation. For example, communicating with organizations outside your area is an effective (and free) method that can help attract people from a different geographic region to your event. Likewise, be sure to boost your opportunity on your website and check whether you can get a list on other volunteering sites. Consider using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkdIn to get attention as well.

Get started with your Voluntour event

When volunteer leave is well organized and strategically planned, it benefits all stakeholders. Providing a positive and unforgettable experience that can help your organization develop and maintain lasting relationships with volunteers again for more information.