Bringing awareness to the benefits of service travel

Monthly Archives: May 2012

SEE Turtles

Green Sea Turtle Under Water

Image source: Seapics.com

Nature is where my heart is. I’ve been a wildlife lover since I saw my first butterfly fluttering above a dandelion. The movement of the wings, the way it flitted from one side of the flower to the other, and then the way it rested, folding its wings to sit perched atop a blade of grass… I was captivated by how unique and special it was, how beautiful and free and unlike me. And yet, it was alive! There are so many creatures in our world, of all shapes and sizes. Over millions of years they have evolved to perfectly inhabit their environments—from grassy hills to the treetops, from the driest desert to the deep sea. Today, all of our world’s creatures are in danger and the danger comes from all sides: pollution, over-fishing, development, deforestation, poaching, and climate change.

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Voluntour Organizations Take Note: The Effect of Social Media on Travel Booking

Santorini Greece, An Image Shared on Trippy

Image source: Trippy.com

I often write about how social media can help your voluntour organization attract new volunteers, but unfortunately the effect is relatively unquantifiable. It is difficult to discern what factors are inspiring volunteers to travel. Is it the company’s website, their twitter feed, word of mouth, or Facebook? Organizations struggle to keep up with all of the latest tools, convinced that they’re working… somehow. But, according to some, it’s not impossible to quantify the effect of social media on travel booking, it just requires a bit of a shift in the way we think about our measurements. It’s more about measuring activity and interest than it is about identifying a direct link between fans and customers. So, it would rather obviously follow that the more you can inspire engagement, the better. There are also some exciting new tools available for measuring engagement—from KLM’s Meet & Seat application to Trippy which allows users to solicit advice from friends about their travel plans.

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Newsletters: Outreach, Education, Inspiration

A Been To Africa Volunteer with Local Children

Image source: Beentoafrica.com

In a past life, I was the Marketing Director for a web hosting company. I had an ad-hock background in online marketing from working on my own artistic projects, but I certainly wasn’t up-to-date on the latest tools and tricks. Of course, with the lightning fast pace of technology, being up-do-date is a constant challenge, but I was rather dismally behind the curve. Fortunately, my boss was happy to give me the time I needed to learn so I started reading everything I could find on Internet marketing best practices—from SEO and meta tags to social media and newsletters. By the end of my two years with the company, I was something of an expert on marketing strategy. I learned that all the frenetic updating and linking in the world can’t match a good person-to-person campaign. I think the online marketing experts would agree.

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Global Water

A Young Girl Fetching Water in a Bucket

Image source: Champoli.com

I’m noticing a trend: our last three articles have been about organizations that use the word “global” in their titles. It’s the perfect word. It embodies what these organizations represent: the universality of human experience, change on a planetary scale. Distance doesn’t separate our natures. We are all citizens of one world. We have to take care of each other. I’m reminded again of our humanness by the subject of today’s article: Global Water.

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Global Volunteers: Leave Your Mark on the World

Global Volunteers in Kenya

Image source: Petergreenberg.com

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a long-standing NGO—the kind of organization that has roots overseas, and in US politics. Global Volunteers has been working on grassroots international aid projects since 1984. They work with the United Nations, UNICEF, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. They are known as the “grandfather of volunteer vacations.” Indeed, they are pioneers. They “engage short-term volunteers in long-term projects,” a model that hundreds (even thousands?) of volunteer organizations use today.

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