Stop the Doom & Gloom – 63% of you are Up on Last Year

OK – its not the most scientific study in the world, but the little poll I had running on the side of this blog for about a month got a fair number of your votes and the results are:

63% are up on last year
25% are flat
13% are down

There’s a lot you can say about how accurate my mini-poll is, its not, but its something and it backs up what I’ve heard talking to a bunch of providers over the past month. The bigger players seem to be down year on year and the smaller players are up big time.

Those that are down are blaming the recession, but the ones that are up credit their innovative marketing and fresh product as the reason they are building market share. The amount of providers offering some sort of volunteer travel experience has multiplied in the last year, and the adventure travel world is now including voluntourism into most of their itineraries. There’s simply more people in the space (which is great!).

All the surveys and research I’ve blogged about in the last month all have said that voluntourism will not be hit hard, if at all, by the recession – so quit whining, just promote your product better. Find partnerships, enhance SEO, provide exceptional customer service, get involved in online PR, talk to your past volunteers more, whatever works for your customer.

A recent IVPA poll came out and confirms the above:

Overall, we saw a trend in this survey that large organizations (1000 + volunteers annually) are appear to be experiencing a decrease in the number of volunteers by as much as 25%. Medium-sized organizations (between 500-1000 volunteers annually) have either stayed the same or experienced a slight decrease, and small organizations (less than 300 volunteers annually) have shown growth in many situations.