The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in discovering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.
Thank you, again, for your interest in The VolunTourist!
And a BIG Thank You to all who send us some great comments!
This Issue's Reader Comments & Other Mail
My name is Amanda Berlin and I am heading to the Philippines this fall with an organization called Rotaplast International for a two week mission to treat about 100 children with cleft lip and palate. I work as a corporate writer in the field of public relations and publicity and for the trip I have been assigned the role of photojournalist, charged with the responsibility of documenting the group's activities. Given my professional background, I think I can contribute a great deal to this organization in the way of media attention. Since I have never pitched the print media before on the topic of "voluntourism," I am interested in any insight you might offer - perhaps in the way of target outlets that might assign me to cover this for their publication.
I look forward to hearing from you and hope you might be able to offer me some coaching. I have already found your site quite helpful.
I wanted to let you know that I have received your email and will take the weekend to reflect on it.
In the meantime, I would suggest that you take a look at these two links on the voluntourism.org website:
Tuesdays 10am ET/7am PT
The first link will give you a list of some of the articles from the past 12 months that have been written about VolunTourism. I would suggest, if I may, that you check the authors and the publication. If the author is a staff writer, this is a good starting point.
The second link will give you the most recent articles on the subject and on the front page of the VolunTourism.org website you will see the articles from the last couple of weeks. Again, I would look for staff writers and then try to follow up with them directly.
Also, and we can work out the timing on this, you are welcome to submit your story to "The VolunTourist." As it is received by a considerable media audience from around the world, it is an excellent chance for you to get it into the public light. (You may contact me about this and we can determine whether to make it a feature article or something else.)
One thing for you to consider, VolunTourism.org makes every effort to try to showcase programs and projects that also include the tourism element. This is very important to me for many reasons and we can certainly discuss this in a phone call at some point.
Again, I will reflect on this over the weekend and get back with you on any other ideas that I have.
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You may be getting inundated with emails since Time's article this week, but I had to tell you that I found the article inspiring to say the least. I live in Austin, TX (not such a bad city itself) and have 6 years experience working and volunteering with a non-profit here. It has long been my desire to see Austin's general population (not just the churches and hippies) lending a helping hand to the less fortunate. I envision a non-profit organization based out of Austin that networks like-minded individuals and sends them out to have a lasting impact in the world while experiencing once in a lifetime opportunities. From what I can tell, this is what your organization is doing. I'm not sure, however, if it focuses on the San Diego populace for it's participants or has a broader scope in mind.
I see great benefits for having a group on the ground in Austin, recruiting participants while networking with local aid organizations that can send these people out to make changes. And with all the need around us (within Austin, Houston, and Dallas as well as South Texas and Mexico), it's foreseeable that we could have a flourishing weekend and short term service project program.
All of this said, I wanted to say thank you to you and all of those you have worked with. I have found your website extremely helpful in my planning and would certainly appreciate any other advice you may have for someone in the very early stages of this journey.
Thank you for you time David and good luck with everything.
I do not know what resources you have available, but my first suggestion to you is to make the journey to San Diego and meet with Elisa Sabatini and participate in one of the experiences that Los Niños, Inc. has crafted between San Diego, Tijuana, Mexicali, and Ensenada. (This, of course, after a phone call with Elisa. But there is absolutely nothing like seeing a VolunTourism operation doing just that, operating, if you are considering doing the same thing.)
You have, by the looks of your email, spent some time on the VolunTourism.org website already. The information on the website will assist you, should you decide to run with this on your own.
But as I said, I would strongly consider making an initial investment in connecting with Elisa and the Los Niños' Team. Nearly 3 decades of experimentation, evaluation, modification, etc., has gone into that program. I'll bet that some of that experience would prove beneficial for someone as eager as yourself to get VolunTourism going in Austin.
To address your "question" about San Diego market only... The organization focuses well beyond San Diego. Thus, creating a connection with Austin would be well within the purview of the organization.
I wish you well in connecting with Elisa and continuing to grow in your understanding of this burgeoning form of service and travel.
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