So, what is the Global Volunteer Network all about?

GVN what is

I thought now is a good time to give GVN a bit of web time and highlight some of the reasons why I have decided to volunteer with them.

The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) was launched in December 2000 by Colin Salisbury, its Founder and Executive Director, after spending time volunteering in Ghana, West Africa. While he was there he saw the tremendous difference volunteers could make in helping local organizations achieve their goals. Upon returning to New Zealand he spent some time researching the different volunteer organizations around the world and was amazed at how expensive and limiting many programs were in terms of volunteer opportunities.

Over the past 14 years the Global Volunteer Network have built up strong ties with grassroots organizations throughout the world, and placed 19017 volunteers. 

Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating “I’d love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network” and CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you.

Meet the Team

Our Staff

The GVN home office is located in Wellington, New Zealand.

What can you expect once you join?


GVN offers such a wide variety of project options there’s something for everyone. Projects include working with children, teaching, construction, conservation, wildlife, medical, HIV/Aids, peace cells, women’s empowerment, and organic farming.

Program Specialist

Once you have confirmed your placement you will be put in touch with your Program Specialist (PS). Your PS has a thorough knowledge of your program and is there to guide you as you prepare for your volunteer placement with them.

Program Guides

Once you have secured your placement you will be provided with further information to help you prepare for your trip. You will be given access to your in-depth online Program Guide which covers topics such as country information, details on your placement, travel links, visa application process, vaccinations and much more.


The orientation session will provide you with the necessary information to begin your volunteering program. It includes an introduction to the local culture and language, the Code of Conduct and expectations of the program, health and safety, local tips and advice.



Accommodation is provided and depending on your program choice will vary from home stay, dormitory style, volunteer house, apartment, or on-site accommodation.


The delicious meals provided are a great way for volunteers to experience the local culture. Depending on your program choice you will be provided with between 1-3 meals each day.

Language Lessons (optional)

Depending on your program choice, you may receive introduction to the local language at orientation, Spanish immersion lessons may be included, or you may have the opportunity to pay for additional language lessons before orientation or during your placement.

On-going In-country Support

During your placement GVN staff in New Zealand are available to support you as you volunteer and will email you while in country to see how the program is going. Our 24 hour emergency telephone number provides an opportunity to get in touch with us in the case of an emergency.

TEFL Training

GVN is proud to partner with Global English: specialists in online TEFL/TESOL provision since 1996. GVN volunteers receive preferential pricing.

Letter of Participation

At the end of your placement you’ll receive a letter outlining the details of your volunteer placement, which can be included in your resume.

Fundraising Guide and Personal Website


GVN provides our volunteers with a comprehensive fundraising pack, that will provide you with the resources to raise 100% of your costs!

Online Journal

They provide online volunteer journals where you can post your latest news, making it so easy to keep in touch with your friends and family while you’re volunteering.

Preparation Checklist

To make the preparations for your volunteer placement even easier, we provide you with a ‘must have’ checklist.

Contact Details of Fellow Volunteers

One month before you travel they will email a list of all the volunteers who will be starting in the program at the same time as you. This provides you the opportunity to get in touch with each other before you meet in country.

And last but not least, a T-Shirt

A GVN branded T-shirt to wear before, during and after your volunteer placement. There isn’t an easier way to promote a good cause!

The vision of GVN is to connect people with communities in need, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. They do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.



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