2004 – 2009

In the last five years of Global Volunteers’ history, ever-increasing numbers of citizen ambassadors have reached out through short-term service assignments to extend international good will – and demonstrating the average American’s generosity of heart.  More and more “alternative travel” options have arisen worldwide to compete for the traveling public’s discretionary dollar. The once obscure “working vacation” now appeals to first-time international traveler as much as the veteran. The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) estimated in 2007 that more than 55 million Americans have taken a “volunteer vacation,” and nearly twice that many are considering doing the same in the near future.


In 2004, Global Volunteers’ Board of Directors enthusiastically advanced new opportunities to serve a small, resourceful aboriginal community on Australia’s northeastern coast. This distinctive service programs in a distant country symbolized Global Volunteers’ dedication to service partnerships in all regions of the globe. At the same time, we established a new partnership in Peru – providing volunteer assistance to homeless, abandoned and orphaned children in Lima, and in succeeding years, we expanded partnerships in South Africa, Portugal, and Hanoi, Vietnam.  Each year, up to 33 percent of the volunteers on any Global Volunteers team are repeat volunteers. Co-founder Bud Philbrook attributes this impressive repeat rate to both “responding respectfully to host partner’s development needs and engaging all age groups in genuine service opportunities.” Global Volunteers set the standard in 1984, and continues to excel in genuine development assistance worldwide. As we celebrate 25 years of service the following distinguishes us in an ever-expanding field of volunteer abroad programs:

Unique Philosophy of Service: Global Volunteers teams work “hand-in-hand” with local people at the invitation and under the direction of local leaders on community-based work projects.

Non-sectarian orientation: While we may work in partnership with faith-based or local government entities, Global Volunteers is strictly non-religious and apolitical.

Development foundation: Global Volunteers is led by experts grounded in development and intercultural administration.

Direct financial support: A portion of each volunteers’ service fee is spent on project materials or direct financial support to the on-going project. Additionally, student scholarships, and classroom and child sponsorships sustain critical resources.

Exceptional Host Representatives: Our commitment to “best practices” in our service work extends to our local hosts. Global Volunteers host partners are community leaders who strive to engage volunteers to the maximum extent in all aspects of the community.

Proprietary Program Methods: We employ tested and perfected orientation and education sessions along with team-building exercises designed to optimize team cohesiveness.

U.N. Consultative Status: Global Volunteers works as one of only a few select NGO for this designation in partnership with the Economic and Social Council.