Where does my project fee go?

Why pay to volunteer? Some people are surprised to learn that volunteering abroad isn’t free. While there are projects abroad with no fees, most wildlife conservation organisations often rely solely on volunteer income to run their programmes long term.

Your fees cover the costs of you being at project and enables the organisation you are working for to achieve its goals and continue their good work after you are gone. Your fee also helps us evaluate projects, find new organisations to support, and promote the project to new volunteers.

Our ‘Why pay to volunteer’ infographic (click below) should explain where your project fees go. The breakdown is also detailed below the button. Please get in touch if you have any more questions about volunteer fees.

Partner organisations - 72% of your fee

The majority of your project fee (72%) is paid directly to the organisation running your programme. Their running costs cover a range of expenses, which we split into three key areas:

Direct volunteer costs: 30%

These are the direct costs of you being at the project, including meals, accommodation, airport transfers and transport from your accommodation to do your work.

Project running costs: 40%

Your fee covers costs which make your project a worthwhile, long term and safe experience. These include expenses for equipment needed to run the volunteer programme such as vehicles, tools, learning materials, research equipment etc. Plus things like local staff salaries and training, accommodation and vehicle upkeep; utilities; government levies and taxes.

Spending money on programme running costs means that you can be sure the project has a well-organised and well-structured programme, where volunteers are contributing effectively. If there are no staff, no training, no equipment and no housing, then there’s no programme!

Programme contribution: 30%

The most important part of your project fee is used to support the organisation and help them achieve their goals. This might include things like:
  • Building and maintenance work around game reserves;
  • Support for animal care (e.g. veterinarians, vaccinations, medical supplies, feed);
  • Purchase of anti-poaching equipment;
  • Donations within local communities for school books, healthcare supplies or building equipment;
  • Payment for equipment and workmen to provide water and sanitation equipment at schools and in villages.
This is your direct contribution to the communities or wildlife you are volunteering for.

Supporting operations - 28%

The remainder of your project fee ensures that we are able to continuously monitor and promote projects, handle enquiries and pay our staff! We try to keep these costs as low as possible, to ensure that the vast majority of your project fee goes to the project itself.

Promoting projects: 8%

Many grass roots organisations lack the financial capacity, time and skills to promote their work and reach new volunteers.

Our marketing costs include the set up and maintenance of websites, brochures and pre-departure material, ensuring volunteers always have up-to-date information. It includes our expenditure on online advertising, social media and other marketing activities.

We tell the world about the projects we support, and this can’t be done without incurring costs. Effective marketing allows us to attract more volunteers, which in turn allows our projects to achieve their social goals.

Administrative & finance costs: 5%

We try to keep our administrative expenses to a minimum. These costs include our small team, communication equipment, IT and staff training, plus operational costs such as bank fees and accountancy services.

Volunteer support: 4%

This includes staff to handle volunteer enquiries and bookings, help with project selection and give travel advice and emergency assistance.

Project management: 5%

This enables us to visit our current projects, to ensure they are consistently meeting volunteer expectations. It also includes sourcing, evaluating and visiting potential new partners and if necessary helping them improve the operation of their programme.

Project management ensures we offer only well-run projects that can really benefit from your help.

Profits 6%

CTA is a small, efficient and cost-effective organisation. When we build up revenue over and above our running costs, it allows us to invest in new projects and ensures we can operate during times when there are fewer volunteers. Building up revenue also allows us to offer some great projects where we are not able to cover our running costs.

Find out more about our projects:

Wildlife conservation programmes

Marine conservation programmes

Community volunteering


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