Volunteering Tour Operators

Projects Abroad (http://www.projectsabroad.com, Tel. +61 1300 132831)
A leading global organizer of volunteer placements including teaching, care, conservation, medical, journalism, business and law.
Earth Watch (http://www.earthwatch.org, Tel. + 1 978 461 0081)
Earth Watch supports scientific field research by offering volunteers the opportunity to join research teams around the world.
Cross Cultural Solutions (http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org, Tel. 1 800 380 4777)
Volunteer opportunities worldwide and year-round.
Global Cross Road (http://www.globalcrossroad.com, Tel. + 1 972 252 4191)
Teach abroad, TEFL abroad, intern abroad, travel and volunteer in more than 30 countries
I to I (http://www.i-to-i.com, Tel. + 44 800 011 1156)
Provides a variety of work experiences including teaching English as a foreign language, community development, conservation, construction and sports teaching.
Cosmic Volunteers (http://www.cosmicvolunteers.org, + 1 610 279 2052)
Volunteer and intern abroad options in Asia, Africa and South America.
Volunteer Abroad (http://www.workandvolunteer.com, Tel. + 44 (0)20 8297 3251)
Work and volunteer programs abroad for those on a gap year, seeking work experience, or career advancement.
Institute for Field Research Expeditions (http://www.ifrevolunteers.org, Tel. 1 800 675 2504)
Specializes in ongoing, year-round volunteer abroad projects in 18 countries.
World Youth International (http://www.worldyouth.org.au, Tel. + 61 8 8340 1266)
An Australian based not for profit, non-religious and non-political volunteer organization with placements in Australia, Asia, Africa or South America.
Frontier: Conservation, Education and Exploration (http://www.frontier.ac.uk, Tel. + 44 (0)20 7613 2422)
An international conservation non-profit with gap year programs, research and development opportunities and more.
Suas Educational Development (http://www.suas.ie, Tel. + 353 1 662 1400)
Supports quality education in targeted under-resourced communities, with programs in India, Ireland and Kenya.
Global Volunteer Network (http://www.volunteer.org.nz, Tel. + 64 4 569 9080)
Comprehensive source of positions available in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America.
International Volunteer HQ (http://www.volunteerhq.org, Tel. + 64 27416 9633
Volunteering opportunities in Tanzania, Kenya, Kenya-Maasai, Nepal, Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador and Thailand.
Love without Boundaries (http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com)
Aims to brighten and improve the lives of orphaned and impoverished children in China.
Volunteer International (http://www.volunteerinternational.org, Tel. + 1 914 380 8322)
A program that regularly sends groups or individuals to work abroad as volunteers or interns.
Peace Corps (http://www.peacecorps.gov, Tel. + 1 800 424 8580)
An agency of the American federal government devoted to world peace and friendship.
Australia Volunteers International (http://www.ozvol.org.au, Tel. + 61 3 9279 1788)
Provides opportunities for Australians to become volunteers.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (http://www.msf.org.au, Tel. +41 (22) 849 84 00)
An independent humanitarian medical aid agency committed to providing medical aid.
Engineers Without Borders (http://www.ewb.org.au, Tel. + 61 3 9696 9040)
Works with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through education and the implementation of sustainable engineering projects.

Do-It-Yourself Options

If you have traveled widely you will probably have come into contact with schools, organizations and locals which you may be able to contact in order to find a volunteer or field research placement. If you are relaxed and open minded you might not even wish to organize these placements in advance but find them as you travel.

However while cutting out the sending agency does remove the middleman fees, it also means you are going it alone. You don’t have backup if things go wrong or if there is political or social upheaval.

However for more authentic experiences and finding ground where no other travelers have been before, this is definitely the way to go.