Global Volunteers is Partners in development. Waging peace and promoting justice. Raising children’s potential. Travel that feeds the soul. Serious service.

Global Volunteers mobilizes short-term volunteers in service to local people on long-term community development projects to help children and families reach their full human potential.

Our Mission: Extraordinary International Volunteer Programs

International volunteer programs offer an experience of a lifetime. Choose a program wisely, and you’ll change the world – yours and global society. Join us!  We’re an internationally recognized and respected non-profit leader.  Since 1984 we’ve provided:

  • Genuine human and economic development to hundreds of communities in 35 countries on 6 continents
  • Short-term assignments on long-term community-defined projects
  • Sustained community-based partnerships

Global Volunteers encourages and enables volunteers to spend short periods of time working with and learning from and about local people in communities throughout the world.

You’ll help deliver essential services uniquely and personally.  With your teammates, you’ll contribute to the physical health and intellectual development of the world’s future leaders – its youth.

Can one or two weeks truly make a difference?  Yes!  We know that when properly managed, international community-based service projects benefit greatly from short-term volunteers – an infinitely renewable resource of expertise, energy and compassion.  We’ve seen the tremendous cumulative benefits of international volunteers over more than three decades – helping children reach their full potential.

We listen to local people’s needs, dreams and plans. Then, we mobilize volunteers to work hand-in-hand with them on their community’s vision to serve youth and families. You’re part of that vision.   Read our Essential Services Prospectus here.  

Our Goal: Sustained International Volunteer Program Partnerships

Global Volunteers works to create, nurture and sustain the well-being of the world’s children and their community, so they can realize the full promise of their human potential.

We were granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations in 1999, one of the first short-term volunteer organizations to do so. Through high-level associations, our international volunteer service work protects children’s security and welfare as we help eradicate hunger, improve health, and enhance cognition at the community level around the world.

For instance, we’ve taught English to entire villages, built schools, health clinics and water systems where there were none; cared for children who were living on the streets; supplied pregnant women and new mothers with household gardens and professional assistance, and so much more. Most important, we’ve proven that these people-to-people initiatives are successful where simply writing a check too often fails.

Measurable, positive outcomes in international volunteer service is our agenda. Short-term volunteer service teams provide an infinitely renewable resource to communities who invite our assistance.  This is why USA Today calls us the “granddaddy of the volunteer vacation movement.” Our international volunteer service expertise is our legacy – and your resource.

“Global Volunteering is a wonderful thing. It brings people together in ways that are mutually beneficial on so many levels and always has the potential for experiences and human contact that are profoundly life-changing. A single spark can indeed start a prairie fire.”

“I encourage all who want to make a difference in this world to serve with Global Volunteers. I wholeheartedly endorse their approach. On every program, I truly feel we’re waging peace by making friends with the ordinary people of another nation. Besides, these programs are FUN!

“Thank you for starting such an organization which has enabled me — and so many others — to become a network of people who change lives.”

“Global Volunteers overwhelmingly bolstered my sense of compassion for humanity and fueled an insatiable desire to aid in the global pursuit of peace. My service helped establish the foundation for the rest of my life. I am forever indebted to Global Volunteers!”

Our Vision: Peace Through International Understanding

We’re a worldwide network of local people, community leaders, volunteers, staff and board members committed to genuine human and economic development.

Global Volunteers is dedicated to helping build a foundation for world peace through mutual international understanding; recognizing that the mere absence of war is not peace and peace without justice is no peace at all.

Our co-founders followed their vision of international volunteer service to create, nurture and sustain the well-being of the world’s children after a decidedly unconventional “volunteer honeymoon” in 1980.  From that grew a worldwide commitment to community partners who are devoted to providing services to at-risk children and families. Most of our international volunteer service programs are led by country managers who were born and raised in the host country.  Our board members are passionate professionals from diverse fields with expertise in international volunteer service.  Our dedicated staff contributes deep international and development expertise to providing exceptional volunteer management.

Together, Global Volunteers partners, board, staff and volunteers work to wage peace, promote justice and catalyze life-enhancing international volunteer service.   Learn about our responsibility and accountability.

Our Promise: Health and Safety for International Service Volunteers

“Safety trumps everything” in international volunteer service. We provide secure, comfortable and clean lodging in all host communities. Meals are prepared by qualified cooks – either in restaurants or community housing. In-country transportation is provided by qualified drivers in commercial vehicles such as taxis, buses, and vans, or in Global Volunteers vehicles.  Most important, we monitor and comply with travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department, even if it means canceling a service program. Further safety measures are:

  • CPR and first-aid certified team leaders who are trained in personal and national emergency protocols.
  • Emergency medical evacuation insurance for volunteers serving outside the U.S.
  • Emergency contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Health and safety guidelines in our Volunteer Manual.

Be a world-wise traveler. International volunteer service has its risks. When you choose Global Volunteers, you serve with one of the most reputable and safety conscience organizations in the world.  Please contact us with any questions you have about safety in international volunteer service.

Hallmarks of our International Volunteer Programs

Guided by Local Leaders
We only serve where we are invited; we only do what we’re asked to do; and we always work under the direction of local leaders. Work with and learn from and about local people who are making real change in their communities to help children grow and thrive.

Meaningful Work Projects
A direct channel to apply your skills, energy and compassion to genuine community-based development projects on international volunteer programs.

Volunteer Satisfaction
Teamwork that integrates each volunteer’s skills, ensuring all USA and international volunteer programs are consistently rated above 4.5 on a 5-point scale.

Broad Cultural Experiences
Tax-deductible itineraries balancing full-day international volunteer programs and educational free time to deliver true service-learning.

Exceptional Program Management
Full-time team leaders guide your service, helping protect your health and security, and managing team dynamics on all USA and international volunteer programs.

Commitment to Development
A philosophy of comprehensive, sustainable development ensures lasting benefits to children and families on all international volunteer programs, and to USA partners.

Fill the form below for more volunteer abroad information, or call: (800) 487-1074

Please take a moment to answer these questions so that we can best help you.

We will immediately direct your inquiry to our Group Coordinator, who will contact you shortly. In addition, please answer the following:

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Global Volunteers is a U.S. based NGO in the central time zone (UTC -6). Because tax-deductibility, visa requirements, and language proficiencies vary, please choose the country you’re inquiring from to enable us to provide you the most appropriate information.

Thank you for your interest in a development partnership with Global Volunteers. We're unable to expand our programs at this time. As our website portrays, our current service programs center around providing the 12 Essential Services for our Reaching Children's Potential Program. But for future reference, please send any information to:

As a private, non-profit organization independent from government and religious funding, Global Volunteers’ programs are financed almost entirely by volunteer contributions. This is important because our community partners cannot afford the “open market” costs of the services and materials we provide. Your tax-deductible service program contribution pays your expenses in the partner community. These include your food, lodging, work site transportation, program materials, team leadership, emergency evacuation insurance, and administrative costs. In addition, we provide supplemental financing to help meet our host’s many, on-going and special needs.

While English fluency does not disqualify you from participating on any of our programs, Global Volunteers is a U.S based NGO with your teammates, training materials and other communications being conduced primarily in English.

We’re unable to provide any assistance in obtaining your passport or visa. You'll need a passport to travel abroad and for some countries, you’ll need a visa.  Please keep this in mind when planning your travel schedule. If you live outside the U.S., you may have additional restrictions for participating on U.S. programs.

To provide you with information to match your specific interests, please tell us a little about you:

Many employers help cover part of the service program contribution. Providing this information can help us determine if this is available to you.

Our volunteer coordinators are available from 8:30AM to 4:30PM Central Time and will email you during that time on the next business day. If you prefer, you may chat now, or call 651-407-6100 if you’re inquiring during office hours.

Please choose up to 4 program locations and projects that interest you.

By providing my phone number to Global Volunteers, I agree and acknowledge that Global Volunteers may send text messages to my wireless phone number for any purpose. Message and data rates may apply. We will only send one SMS as a reply to you, and you will be able to opt-out by replying "STOP". For more information on how your data will be handled please visit No mobile information will be shared with third parties/affiliates for marketing/promotional purposes. All the above categories exclude text messaging originator opt-in data and consent; this information will not be shared with any third parties.