Volunteering abroad is a great way to see the world, broaden your horizons, and enrich the lives of those in need along the way. Unfortunately, it can also be expensive and seem infeasible. But, there are actually a ton of volunteer abroad scholarships and grants available out there for motivated people. We've selected some of the best for you to get you on the road to volunteering overseas!
This list is updated on a rolling basis and we’ve worked hard to make sure that deadlines are accurate and the scholarships listed are true to what each organization offers. However, it’s your job to confirm the details and official deadlines through their website, as these things have been known to change throughout the year.
How to find financial aid for volunteering abroad
Finding financial aid for volunteering abroad can take a bit of work but there are plenty of opportunities if you know where to look. By taking the first step of reading this article, you've already been provided with a few! Outside of the internet, your local community is a great place to start. Here are a few places to consider:
- Cultural centers
- Faith-based organizations
- Colleges and universities
- State and county government
If you already have an organization in mind that you'd like to volunteer with, it doesn't hurt to ask them about funding options. They may have leads on scholarships or might even offer one of their own!
Volunteer abroad scholarships & opportunities
When it comes to databases of volunteer abroad funding, the internet is truly your friend. Youth Opportunities is one of the few options we've found. It's a constantly updated list of global scholarships, most of which are applicable to those seeking to study or intern abroad, however, the occasional service-learning or volunteer grant has been known to be listed.
Below you can also find open scholarships and grants to help fund your volunteer efforts around the world. Make sure to check back regularly, as new applications do open up!
The National Grid: Samuel Huntington Service Award
Offered by the National Grid, one or two lucky applications win a $20,000 stipend to be put towards the costs of a one-year, meaningful public service project that seeks to further public good anywhere around the globe. The winner can spend the money on a volunteering project that they organize themselves, or on an established program.
- Can be of any nationality but must be graduating from a college or university based in the U.S
All People Be Happy
Volunteers who’ve been accepted onto a six-week or longer volunteer abroad program focusing on education and training, healthcare, or sustainable agriculture can apply to receive a scholarship of up to $2,500 from All People Be Happy, based in the U.S. In the past, they’ve awarded up a grand number of 25 scholarships in one year.
- Must be a U.S. resident or U.S. citizen
Hazel’s Footprints Trust Footprinter Grant
Since 2005, Hazel’s Footprints have been offering Footprinter grants, which are open to individuals looking to volunteer with an educational project abroad, which must last for a minimum of six months and be based in a developing company. Applications from those planning on volunteering for a full year are preferred. You can apply from any part of the U.K. or Europe, but applications must be written in English.
- Aged 18+
Jack Petchey Foundation (UK)
The Individual Grants for Volunteering programme encourages young people across London and Essex to get involved in volunteering projects in the UK and overseas. We’ve helped young people to travel all over the world to help local communities, support schools, improve access to health services and contribute to conservation projects.
- Live in London or Essex, UK.
Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Program
Stipends of $500 are available for those who successfully apply to become a Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador. The money is put towards a Spring or Fall semester volunteering or studying abroad program. Ambassadors are expected to blog about their experiences for the Diversity Abroad community with the aim of inspiring other members to travel.
- Must be enrolled full-time in, or recently graduated from, a U.S. university or college
- Have a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA at an accredited U.S. university or college
- You are energetic, creative and have a passion for international engagement
HI USA Explore the World Scholarship Program
If you've limited experience of traveling abroad, the Hostelling International World Scholarship Program is likely right up your street. Awards of $2,000 are available to help young people from the US travel abroad and experience cross-cultural exchange. To be successful, your planned trip must have an educational or service-learning element.
- Be 18-30 years old
- Be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
- Have a demonstrated financial need
- Reside or attend school in one of the 13 metropolitan areas where HI USA has a community presence
- Be planning an upcoming international trip that involves an educational and/or volunteer service component
What do I do if I can’t find a scholarship?
Remember, it is OK to pay to volunteer!
Even if there aren't any scholarships available for you at the moment, know that the money that you are paying to volunteer is usually money well spent. Although the organizations are more than thankful for your service, your monetary contribution helps them stay active.
Consider your time spent volunteering and your money spent on the program a one-two punch for the cause that you are championing. Also, don't forget that housing and food are usually included in the program fee, which is always a bonus!
Other ways to fund your volunteer experience:
- Try crowdfunding. GoFundMe is a great tool for sharing your cause and connecting with friends and family, who may be excited to monetarily support you in your efforts.
- Fundraise through events. Host a bake sale, happy hour, or a fun run in your town to get your neighbors involved in raising money for a good cause.
- Apply for a no-fee volunteer program. Although some volunteering programs might look quite costly, there are plenty that are no-fee or completely free. Bear in mind though, you will typically be required to pay for your accommodation and food.
Fund your volunteer project abroad
Volunteering abroad can be a life-changing opportunity, and while cost matters, don't let the price tag discourage you! With ample scholarships and financial resources available, we're sure you'll be on your way to traveling the world and helping to make it a better place for others.
Explore more tips and tricks on affordable volunteering abroad: