We have all, at one point or another, given thought to charity and the organizations we should give to. Should we throw all our weight behind big, busy and wealthy charities? It is certainly simpler. They often have a tried and tested system in place so that you can track your donation; they have larger scope and can reach further, meaning your contribution can have maximum impact. They have skilled employees and you can be secure in the knowledge that your donation will be safe with them, they have a reputation to protect, so no misconduct will be allowed. If you choose to volunteer, you will receive the best training and you will have a support system in place that can lead you on your way, making your experience as volunteer a memorable and pleasant one.
The question posed here is: if you are happy being involved with these bigger organizations, why should you bother with the little fish? Should you consider supporting the smaller NPO or NGO at all?
Most of us know that third world countries, especially, are rife with non-profits and NGO’s. Poverty in these countries are just the tip of the iceberg; HIV/Aids and other diseases, droughts, famine, war…it all gives purpose to these charitable organizations. Thing is, if you decide to do your share for a smaller NPO, where do you start? Where do you support?
Despite having a smaller infrastructure and far less expertise, many smaller NPO’s and NGO’s may be the better choice. Brad says in his article for Volunteer World: “If you really want to make an impact, it may involve selecting a smaller NGO that is starving for support and not forgetting about them when you return home.” [Brad:2015]
Working with smaller NGO’s and NPO’s a volunteer would be able to utilize ALL his or her skills as your help will be required on all levels of the organization. You will be able to reach out and change lives and YOU WILL BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE POSITIVE IMPACT of your decisions and your support first-hand. “The bottom line is that a smaller NGO can offer you the best opportunity to make a true impact.” [Brad:2015]
Of course, doing volunteer work for these smaller organizations means more face to face involvement with your charges, the people you’ve decided to help. While many volunteers in foreign countries crave this ‘real life’ experience, many may see it as an easy way to have a nice holiday. In smaller org’s you will be expected to WORK, it is a hands-on experience. Dedication is key and you will have to realize that the people in your care have been through extremely tough times. Your heart must be in the work, despite the fact that you don’t get paid. “A good volunteer will treat it as an opportunity to help the less fortunate, while also building up some valuable work experience for their resume/CV. The truth is that volunteers come and go and unless they stay long term they really have a minimal impact.”[Brad:2015]
Whatever the length of your stay may be, it is paramount that you continue to support your small NGO/NPO when you return home. Create awareness in your community and make sure that the org knows you did not forget about them. Always remember that a true, dedicated donor or volunteer NEVER wants anything in return and, as Brad puts it: “Don’t ask, what the project can do for you,…”[Brad:2015].
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BRAD. 2015. Making an Impact – The Advantages of Supporting Smaller NGO’s. [Web:] https://blog.volunteerworld.com. [Date of Access:] November 23, 2016.