Is a BeachCorps volunteer vacation a good deal? We think so. A BeachCorps excursion will seem expensive compared to other excursions like bungee jumping and horseback riding. That is because you are not only paying a regular excursion fee (provided by the top-rated Runners Adventures), you are also paying a separate one-time fee to BeachCorps for coordinating the team and advising on the project and a separate donation directly to the cause (BeachCorps does not collect any commission on the donation but gives 100% to the cause).
But BeachCorps actually is an amazing value. The proper comparison of BeachCorps is not to another simple excursion, but to other volunteer vacations. In that case, BeachCorps is a GREAT deal. Unless you stay in a luxury hotel, you will pay less and more of your funds will actually reach the cause. Moreover, you will enjoy the big three BeachCorps difference: 1) you stay in a nice hotel that you pick (which will often be a partner in the project), 2) you support a REAL cause (not one invented by a volunteer vacation) that is backed in most cases by a registered 501c3 US official charity, and 3) we make sure that your volunteer activities (whether work or play) support and don't hurt the cause or sustainable development.
Most volunteer vacations in the Dominican Republic cost about $2200-$3000 for 8 days (5 days of volunteering, 1 day of rest/fun, and 2 travel days). Compare BeachCorps to other volunteer vacations in terms of price here:
The bottom line is that there are good and bad volunteer vacations out there, but NO ONE is using the BeachCorps model. We do it better, and we do it for less. We ensure more funding goes directly to great causes and we insist on transparency, accountability, and a strategic plan for creating a positive difference. Ultimately, no other model of volunteer vacations has the BeachCorps potential for truly making a difference in sustainable development, because unlike other models we don't try to do it all alone. We lead a team effort of private sector companies, nonprofits, local communities, and even sometimes government organizations. And we make sure that the focus of our efforts is primarily on supporting great causes, rather than the hopes and desires (and egos) of volunteers. We know that in the end that will make our volunteer clients happy: if we actually make a difference, and they know that they are a little grain of sand in that effort!
#Voluntourism #SustainableDevelopment #SustainableTourism #SustainableTravel #DominicanRepublic #VolunteerVacation #ImpactTravel
SAIH is an organization of students and academics in Norway. SAIH focuses on education in development cooperation and created a wonderful if over-simplified parody of the "White Savior Mentality" that permeates so much voluntourism: "Who Wants to Be a Volunteer?"
So much voluntourism today does focus on glorifying the volunteer and making the beneficiaries seem helpless. But BeachCorps is trying to change that. BeachCorps is a model 9 years in the making that focuses on great causes, not the egos of volunteers. After years of developing our model, we were delighted to learn of the seminal work "Toxic Charity" that talks about the dangers of good intentions doing harm through volunteer work. As we read the book, every single danger was one we had already thought of--we just hadn't expressed it so well. And we were glad to see our model avoids those mistakes. We talk a lot about Toxic Charity on our website. https://www.beachcorps.com/avoiding-toxic-charity.html
So ultimately while we believe a lot of voluntourism is bad, not all of it is. We subscribe to the #MendNotEnd philosophy that says you can indeed do good on short term trips if the focus is the cause, not the ego of the volunteer. Our marketing focus is on the great non-profit and for-profit partners that are working to empower local communities. The folks who are fighting to empower local communities to promote education, community development, protecting the environment/animals are the heroes, not BeachCorps, not our volunteers. Our volunteers are but a "Little Grain of Sand" in our view. A little sand in the wrong place can do harm. Only a lot of sand accumulating and supporting the right causes can help. We are starting in the Dominican Republic this year but hope to expand.
We hope that folks will see if we are keeping our promises!
#Voluntourism #SustainableDevelopment #SustainableTourism #SustainableTravel #DominicanRepublic #VolunteerVacation
The BeachCorps Beach Bum!
The BeachCorps Beach Bum loves great vacations and great volunteer work!