Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated on September 3, 2017

FAQHere are some of the most commonly asked questions about Grassroots Volunteering. And this page has a massive list of volunteer resources, links, books, questions, and ideas. Between these two pages, they should answer most aspects of the hows and whys of the site. Please check both pages before shooting us an email.

What is GV?
How do you select and vet projects?
How is this site funded?
How can I get involved?
Can I submit an organization?
Can I contribute to the GV blog?
Full Volunteer Resource List



What is GV?

At the core, GV is a search engine for local causes and organizations all over the world. Travelers find projects in our databases that sound like a good fit for their next trip and directly contact the organizations to either support their social enterprise, or arrange volunteering. Our two databases contain:

  1. Independent volunteer opportunities.
  2. Social enterprises.

Click on the links above to read more information about each database.

How do you select and vet projects?

Every volunteer opportunity is hand-vetted before being entered into the site. To vet organizations, we use a combination of in-person questions, information from their website, and e-mail communications. Because of the disparate locations covered (we map the world!) it’s been difficult to nail down a single methodology that works for vetting every type of organization possible.

While we do our best to ensure every project is on the up and up, use your own judgment and independent research too. This is particularly true if you are researching our volunteer opportunities.

Here are a few areas we always consider:

  • business structure: for-profit and nonprofit something in between?
  • money trail: how are their books and where do any fees go?
  • community impact: how long have they worked within the community?
  • reasonable fees: are any fees charged reasonable relative to the location and nature of the volunteering?
  • legacy: does the volunteer system create long-term dependency or support local training or development efforts?
  • connection: do we know someone on the ground who has visited the business?
  • mission: how directly does their business model support their social mission?
  • size: are they a local, national, or global organization? We give weight to local, grassroots initiatives formed within the communities they support.

How is this site funded?

The two GV databases are free to use and they will remain that way in perpetuity. At present, the site is funded entirely by its founder, Shannon O’Donnell. GV will consider high-level partnerships with organizations whose missions dovetail with the GV mission to support grassroots-level travel that uses tourism to fund and support local initiatives and causes all over the world. GV is also looking for Angel donors who believe in supporting our mission.

GV Ambassadors are volunteers who give their time and expertise to help map the world for other travelers. The GV Ambassadors program is the central force expanding this site’s mission and their time and effort is greatly appreciated. Find out more about this program here.

How can I get involved?

We’d love to have you join the GV community, our members live all over the globe and share a common desire to support the places they travel.

  • Keep updated by email.
  • Spread the word. This is more invaluable than you know. If you believe in what we’re creating here, share GV with your friends and network through your website, blog, or via social media (Facebook, Twitter, G+).
  • Join GV Ambassadors.
  • Say hello! We’d truly love to hear from you; we’re on FacebookTwitter, and Google +.
  • Intern for GV! Our mission is supported by volunteers and we’re open to interns (we’ll help you get school credit too!). Contact us and let’s talk. 🙂

The site is privately funded, so if you’re keen to help but none of these options are a good fit, consider sharing the site with your network and spreading our reach. This site has grown through the efforts of a committed group of service-minded travelers and we always appreciate your help spreading the message through Twitter, Facebook, or your social platform of choice.

As always, you can also drop the founder an email,, to chat about other possibilities.

Can I submit an organization?

Sure thing! If you know of a business or organization that fits our mission and would work well in the GV database, fill out our handy form for consideration. Please be as thorough as possible as it helps us vet the organization and get it posted sooner than it might otherwise!

How can I contribute to the GV blog?

We accept service stories on the site and love to share your positive experiences. Posts must be narrative in nature, include at least two photos, and the article may only link to your personal blog and/or the organization you supported. If your organization also qualifies for either GV database, we do ask that you submit it here so we can add it to the site before we share your story.

We also accept regular contributors keen to share insights and industry news; contact us to discuss a good-fit story for the site.