Beware Original Volunteers and similar companies..

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Beware Original Volunteers and similar companies..


Total Posts: 1

Joined 2010-11-05

Hi all, this is a just a general post to make people aware of what the company Original Volunteers is up to behind the scenes, and my feelings on how you can volunteer more responsibly.

I’m a close friend of someone running a charity that has had dealings with Original Volunteers (This person wants to remain anonymous)  You might think that OV would be supportive and helpful to charities. After all it’s a ‘charitable’ industry.  This unfortunately isn’t so. 

My friend has told me how OV has tried to force an exclusivity agreement with them. So that volunteers around the world can only go through OV. This cripples and severely limits how these charities can function.  So ultimately damaging the children, animals or whatever the charity is set up to provide. 

I don’t know if the other companies like OV do the same. Maybe they do.  IMO These kind of aggressive business practices should have no place in the volunteering sector.  But thankfully I do know a way around all of this.

Where possible- go the charity direct. Then you know all your money will go to them. That’s how I’ve done it and I’m so glad.  Invariably the kind of person running a charity is unlikely to want to profit from the income. 

The middle men like OV are sadly quite another story. As soon as I hear words like ‘exclusivity’ being banded about, I know its all about the money. 

So if you want to make a difference, try and go direct.  My rant over, thanks for reading…

Avatar for Redandwhitead

Total Posts: 48

Joined 2010-10-03

Thanks for this post MS.

Is there anywhere where the charities themselves are listed, or a website which lists charities in these countries that you can contact directly?


Total Posts: 2

Joined 2011-03-12


Do you know anyone you went on one of their volunteers experiences??

Would be really interested!



Avatar for burros10

Total Posts: 2

Joined 2012-06-27

oh am i so glad that somebody else has found this company wanting

I WOULD NOT RECOMEND this company to any one
i went to india three years ago and stayed with a wonderful family in the Himalays and have become friends with them and the local area
Orginal volunteers has left them high and dry owing them close to £4000 of unpaid fees

the family put up 14 PEOPLE at their own cost   and transported them from the railway station to their home a journey of some 7 hours each way
Original volunteers have cut them off from contacting them by email post and phone
I and the 14 people involved have written to the company with no response asking where their money has gone
please be aware of this company they only want your sign up fee
if you want to go to India and have great time go direct to the charities and others and cut out these sharks preying on people by the nature of their culture and language issues and have no redress in this country as to getting the money due to them

Avatar for Flamenco

Total Posts: 29

Joined 2008-07-24

Great post. This just goes to show the benefits of independent volunteering and contacting organisations directly.

Happy volunteering!


Total Posts: 1

Joined 2016-07-19

I volunteered myself with Original Volunteers last year in Ghana and I found them to be an amazing company! Although this isn’t quite on topic as I don’t know much about exclusivity agreements as this is something i’ve never heard about the company before this is my views on the company!
After conducting a wide range of research I found many companies out there that charge huge amounts of money that doesn’t go towards any of the projects! Popular companies such as STA Travel and Gap360 to name a few charge around £600 for two weeks on average whereas I paid a maximum of £95.
I agree that working directly for not for profit charities is of course the best way to volunteer I found it very difficult to get hold of these companies and volunteer through them hence why I went with OV.
Before leaving I contacted them often with any questions that may occur to me and they replied quickly and were very very helpful, they also provided me with fundraising suggestions to help fund my trip.
Once in Ghana the people in charge of the project were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Fred and Rebbeca show you around and make you feel comfortable and are always there if you have any questions at all. The money you pay provides your accommodation and staff in each house which go with you to the schools and other projects each day which makes it so much easier to settle into. They will also organise any out of hours entertainment if you ask such as trips to the waterfalls, going into town or going away for the weekend. They also keep the house tidy and can cook you traditional Ghanaian dishes if you ask nicely!
On Wednesdays for example they take you to a poor village for outreach where you can donate any clothes or water filters and you can buy rice and soap and medicine to give out. This way its up to you what you want to give and you can feel the amazing satisfaction of helping people directly.
I know people that go back every year to keep in contact with the wonderful kids they meet out there because it really is a worthwhile after seeing their faces!
Overall I had an amazing experience with them and although the money you cost probably doesn’t all go to charity if it so much cheaper than other companies you find out there which can charge up to £1000!
If you can find and get hold of any not for profit charities that will let you volunteer through them then definitely do that! but if like me you found that difficult and are a first time volunteer I found it a good company to go with no matter what.
I’ve never found any limitations with being able to volunteer exclusively with them and haven’t heard anything about that before.
I’m volunteering with them in Cambodia in January and I cant wait!