Sierra Club, 415-977-5522, http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/national. This environmental group runs about 80 trips a year nationwide of six to seven days each. Tasks vary depending on the location but can include plant restoration or rebuilding and maintaining trails. Prices range from $300 to $1,000 and cover meals, lodging and on-the-ground support.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, 831--425--3276, http://www.wwoof.org. Started in the United Kingdom in 1971, this has grown into a global network of farmers who provide housing, food and lessons on leading an organic lifestyle in exchange for help on their farms. Volunteers don't pay for their stay, but WWOOF organizations usually charge both volunteers and hosts a small fee to help maintain the network.
Habitat for Humanity, 800-422-4828, http://www.habitat.org/getinv. This organization sends volunteers to help build homes domestically and internationally. Costs of programs, which typically last seven to 14 days, range from $900 to $2,500, depending on the location.
Amizade, 304-293-6049, http://www.amizade.org. International and domestic programs range in length from one week to a year. Prices start at $732 and can go as high as $12,050 if the volunteer takes a course. Food, lodging, emergency travelers' insurance for international trips and other services are provided. Most of the projects focus on building schools, health clinics and other community structures.
SOCIAL WORK/EDUCATION/HEALTH CARE
Global Volunteers, 800-487-1074, http://www.globalvolunteers.org. Volunteers are sent to communities around the world for one to three weeks to participate in a variety of activities such as teaching English, caring for disabled children, providing health care and repairing community facilities. Fees range from $945 to $3,195 and cover housing, food, in-country transportation, on-the-ground personnel and other services.
Cross-Cultural Solutions, 800-380-4777, http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org. Programs run from one to 12 weeks. Duties may include teaching English, working in health clinics and helping with children in orphanages in 12 countries. Fees range from $1,853 to $6,843, depending on duration of stay and time of year. They include food, lodging, support staff and other services.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
VolunTourism.org, 619-434-6230. Web site provides information and research on voluntourism.
International Volunteer Programs Association, 646-505-8209, http://www.volunteerinternational.org. An association of nongovernmental organizations involved in international volunteer work and internship exchanges.
Center for Responsible Travel, 202-347-9203, http://www.responsibletravel.org. A nonprofit research institution that advocates for tourism practices that don't harm host communities or the environment.