International volunteer projects can vary greatly and be for almost any length of time. From a 1 day virtual project to a 2 year field experience, there are countless ways that you can use your skills. Here are a few recent examples:
Volunteer projects can vary greatly by region. Be sure to read our Region Guides to learn more about find the best projects around the world.
- A fashion designer who worked on fair trade designs with a nonprofit empowering local women in Guatemala for 1 week.
- An accountant supported a medical college in Ghana to help it focus on sustainable social and economic development for 3 weeks.
- A retired Federal US Government employee supported a technology social enterprise working on improved child education in Tanzania.
- An architect supported a nonprofit in Panama to build a self-sustaining research facility for 4 months.
- A business strategy professional traveled around the world for a year supporting social enterprises with go-to-market and marketing plans.
- A business development professional supported a startup in Brazil for 18 months to help it create jobs in impoverished areas.
Regardless of the length of time, the common theme is that these projects are skills-based. We use the word "Experteering" to define skilled volunteering overseas.
Time is one of the most important factors in determining the type of project you’ll work on. Here is a table showing the most common types of projects you’ll find based on your availability, regardless of your skills:
Engage with an organization to help teach a specific skill or resource (like training Excel skills, accounting best practices, git methodology, HR best practices, or marketing analytics to name a few). Usually, Experteers are expected to help develop the content and then conduct the training or workshop, with workload estimated at < 10h/week. See sample project here.
Expert Advisor (call)
Support an organization get clarity about a certain area and better understand their needs around it. Have a 30-60min call to share your expertise about a specific skill and/or industry area, in a short one-off initiative. See sample project here. See sample project here.
Support a team with a specific task that has a clear deliverable, like designing a new website, setting up an accounting system, developing a marketing plan, creating an engineering schematic, or other skills-based projects. It can also be an opportunity to immerse yourself around a specific opportunity or challenge area. Give yourself enough time to learn community and cultural contexts, and then propose (and potentially implement) a plan to accelerate impact. Projects can vary greatly on duration and workload, so the scope should be well aligned between the Experteer and the Organization. See sample project here.
Help facilitate connections between an organization and other experts and industry insiders, by using your network to build bridges for social impact. This is usually done with a short call or over email exchanges, as a short one-off initiative. See sample project here.
Be a coach or mentor to help social entrepreneurs grow their organization, by using your skills and experience to support them to overcome their challenges. This is usually done with a 30-60 min call per month and email exchanges, over 3-6 months. See sample project here.
Not all volunteer projects are created equal. Make sure to find one that fits your skills and availability.