Megan Lee of GoAbroad.com traced historical search trends for volunteer abroad opportunities during yesterday’s WYSE webinar, What are the most sought-after destinations and fields for volunteering abroad?
Going back to 2005 with Google Trends data, Megan showed that searches for ‘volunteer abroad’ were fairly steady in volume between 2005 and 2010, however, there was a gradual decline between 2010 and 2013 and a slow dip in searches has continued from 2013 onward.
“Clearly spikes of search activity are fueled by current events – the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 you can see quite clearly,” Lee indicated.
WYSE webinar participants were asked to share their opinions and practices, including whether search terms are researched prior to determining new volunteer programmes, if volunteers put destination before field of activity/project when choosing a programme, and which keywords are being used most to target potential volunteer travellers. Sixty-four percent of participating organizations believe that the destination is most important than the field when choosing a volunteer programme abroad.
When it comes to key words most often used by volunteer travel organisations, it seems that many are neglecting one with a track record for high search volume according to Google Trends data. The search term ‘volunteer work’ has over time outpaced other search terms in terms of volume. While Australia, New Zealand and Singapore top the list of countries where this term are most popular, the UK and South Africa follow not far behind.
Surprisingly, only a a few participating organisations reported actively looking at search terms when determining where to set up new volunteer abroad programs.
“This is an opportunity for organisations to evaluate their approach and experiment with some new keywords based on their targets and goals,” suggested Lee.