The Man on a Mission to Better the Volunteer Experience [Q&A]

Goodnet gets the scoop from Dan Radcliffe, the Executive Director of International Volunteer HQ.

Mar 3, 2016
Dan Radcliffe is the Executive Director of International Volunteer HQ

Dan Radcliffe is the Executive Director of International Volunteer HQ

Like many before him, Dan Radcliffe saw a problem and sought a solution. In this case, the problem was a costly, largely irresponsible international volunteer industry, and his solution was a volunteer company based on the ideals of transparency, honesty, affordability, responsibility, and trust.

The Executive Director of International Volunteer HQ, a volunteering organization that places thousands of volunteers in projects across more than 30 countries, Dan has not lost sight of the company’s founding principles. In this week’s 10 Good Questions, he explains how International Volunteer HQ came to be, and what it’s like to be part of the solution.

1. What is your organization’s mission?

To change the face of volunteer travel. Volunteer travel is great because it enables people to make a contribution in communities while having a unique and eye-opening experience, but it hasn't always been done well. I believe that volunteer travel has the potential to become something really great; a mainstream form of travel and a vehicle with which we can encourage global cross-cultural learning and community development, not just in developing countries but anywhere in the world.

2. What makes you guys different from the rest?

I volunteered in Kenya in 2006, and was disappointed with my experience and the company organizing the trip. Speaking to other volunteers through my travels, it appeared that volunteer travel was in a state of disarray globally, so I decided to establish IVHQ as I knew it could be done better. Since day one, our focus has been on providing volunteer programs which are responsible, affordable and transparent in pricing. Our programs are run by local organizations who source meaningful volunteer work, and we work hard with them to keep fees low and fair for volunteers. The response has been huge and we've placed over 50,000 volunteer travelers into 30 countries in our first eight years.

3. What three words describe your organization?

I'll give you four, which are our company values - Responsible, Trusted, Innovative and Awesome.

Dan Radcliffe in Kenya

The idea for International Volunteer HQ was inspired by Dan's first trip to Kenya in 2006

4. What inspires you?

Seeing the impact and change our programs can make. Not just through the communities and countries in which we work, but through the impact the experience has on our volunteers. Travel of this kind changes how you think about the world and your role in it.

5. Who's your favorite good doer figure?

Elon Musk, an engineer, inventor and investor who makes changing the world the center of his ideology. Elon's going to be remembered as someone who played a large role in making the world a better place through his electric car company, Tesla.

6. What is the best part about your job?

I get to travel to a lot of places, but it's the people in these places that are the highlight of my job. Living and working with our partners and volunteers from hundreds of different countries, in communities all over the world, I never stop learning.

Dan Radcliffe with partners in Nepal

International Volunteer HQ aims to work in collaboration with local communities across the world

7. How do you measure success within your organization?

We've got a huge number of stakeholders within IVHQ and so we have to measure success on a number of levels. The impact we make in the communities we work with around the globe, the experience of our volunteers on our programs, and the growth and development of our local team and staff are critical measures of success for us as an organization.

8. Facebook or Twitter?

9. What do you want Goodnet users to know about your organization?

We're a proud New Zealand company doing great things globally through IVHQ.

10. How can people get involved?

Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.