• Volunteer and Adventure

Is it better to give to a charity or volunteer?

Posted: July 18, 2022

Many things in life come down to whether you have the time or the money. Making a contribution to initiatives you care about is no different, and you might find yourself wondering whether it’s better to give to a charity or volunteer

So which is better? Let’s look at each option.



It’s better to give to a charity when…


You don’t have the time or the money to travel


Sometimes, commitments at home – like your work, studies, family or pets – can make it difficult to leave. Or, you may not have the time or funds to travel to another country. Giving to a charitable cause is a great option if you’re in any of these positions.

Adding to a charitable cause is a wonderful way to help effect positive, practical change on the world, even though it’s done remotely. Many charities rely on monetary donations to keep functioning, so never underestimate the importance of giving what you can.

Giving to a charity now is easier and faster than ever before. You can do something as simple as making a donation online, which takes almost no time. Plus, you can do a lot of research online to make sure you’re giving to a reputable charity, and keep up to date on their various projects and accomplishments.

How is volunteering different? 

Well, getting involved in sustainable development activities on the ground can offer a more meaningful experience than watching from afar. Because of this, volunteering might be an even better option when it comes to making a hands-on contribution.


It’s better to volunteer when…


You have the time to spare


You’ve probably heard people say “time is money”, and it’s true – they both have value.

Contributing your time can be beneficial to charitable causes, and by joining a volunteer project you can make a lasting impact. 

Whether it’s doing wildlife research in South Africa, contributing to women’s empowerment initiatives in Costa Rica, or learning to scuba dive while doing marine conservation in Mexico, there are important projects around the world in which volunteers play a vital role.

You don’t need loads of time, either. Volunteer projects range from short– to long-term, and can even be done over part of your holidays, so you can choose the amount of time that suits you. You also don’t need tons of money, you can fundraise to cover all or some of your program costs. 


You’re seeking to expand your skill set



One of the best things about volunteering is that it works both ways. As well as contributing where it counts, volunteering abroad can help you to reach your own career or personal goals through the benefit of experience.

Plus, the skills you get from volunteering, and the meaningful effects of making an impact could inspire you to pursue a career in international development or conservation, allowing you to make an even greater contribution.


You want to understand the world better


Volunteering enables you to become a global citizen – a self aware individual who understands their place in the wider world. Acting as ambassadors for their countries, volunteers working in communities abroad play a role in adding to global intercultural understanding and tolerance. 

By contributing time and volunteering abroad, you’ll help to cross the cultural bridges thrown up by distance. 


You don’t want your contribution to be once-off



Volunteering abroad has ripple effects. Part of the reason for this is that as a volunteer on a reputable program, you’ll contribute to local capacity development to ensure communities are not reliant on volunteer resources in the long term. 

When you go home, you’ll want to tell everyone about your experience. By doing so, you’ll help to dismantle stereotypes about other cultures, raise awareness of critical global issues, and introduce your friends and family to realities different to their own. 

Who knows, you may even inspire others to volunteer, and make an even greater impact!


You want to know exactly where your money is going


 Knowing exactly what happens to your donation is one of the concerns that comes with donating to charities. You can do your research to find reputable organisations, but there’s always an element of caution when you hand over your money.

When you’re volunteering and you make a contribution to help the project reach success, it’s a lot clearer. When you’re on the ground, you can see exactly how that money is used and the direct benefit it has. 

You’ll see your time and money going straight into maintaining programs and contributing to sustainable development in local communities, which is both eye-opening and rewarding.

Find out more about GVI’s international, award-winning volunteering programs and internships, and choose from community development, teaching, women’s empowerment, and conservation projects worldwide.

Disclaimer: The images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.

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