The Impact of CCS Volunteers
Like most of the 35,000+ Cross-Cultural Solutions alumni out there, I am well aware of the impact that volunteering abroad has had on my life. I first volunteered with CCS when I was 18 and it has been an important part of me ever since. So it's safe to say that the experience changed me. I can feel the impact that this experience had on me. I feel it everyday. But what about the impact that my work, and the work of my fellow volunteers, has had on the community organizations with which we volunteered.
Many volunteers say that they feel like they got more than they gave, but how are they to know the lasting effects of their work? Every year, CCS gathers community impact data from the people we believe are most knowledgeable on the subject—the people at our partner organizations. 2012 marked the tenth consecutive year we've conducted our Partner Program Survey, asking our partners to describe the impact CCS volunteers have had.
I'm happy to report that once again, 100% of the responding partners—over 150 unique organizations—said that overall, CCS volunteers have a positive or highly positive impact, and 57% of these organizations gave CCS volunteers the highest possible score. This is something in which we take great pride, but honestly, it doesn't come as much of a surprise. Our full-time in-country staff at each of our destinations stay in close communication with all of our partners year-round, constantly keeping a finger on the pulse of our relationships and facilitating the effective work of CCS volunteers. It's a vital part of the work we do as an organization, and the results show.
Want more evidence that volunteers are a valuable resource to these communities? 11% of our partners have been working with CCS for more than 8 years, and 84% have been partners for at least 2 years. The long-term relationships we hold with our partners offers assurance that with CCS, you will be serving a community organization that understands and respects the local community.
Those little facts are fun, but the best details that come out of these surveys are the quotes and descriptions from our partners about how volunteers are effecting change around the world. Each year, we see recurring trends in subtle but impressive volunteer impact—often the kind of impact that is really hard to notice in just a few weeks, or even months.
In a series of upcoming posts, I'll describe these impacts in further detail, and share with you some of those inspirational quotes. Stay tuned!