Raleigh CVB Introduces 'Voluntourism' Program for Meeting Attendees

In partnership with the Raleigh/Wake County Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) has created a new "voluntourism" program aimed at meeting and convention attendees in Raleigh, N.C., it announced last month.

"Collaborating with the Raleigh/Wake County Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness was a natural fit when developing this program," said GRCVB Executive Vice Presidnet Loren Gold. "We looked for an organization that would add awareness to the global problem of homelessness but bring it to a local level where volunteers could walk away feeling they made a difference."

Using a dedicated website — www.visitraleigh.com/voluntourism — meeting planners can choose and organize volunteer outings for their attendees based on their desired level of participation, time and number of volunteers. Options include preparing meals for the homeless, planting community gardens and hosting fundraising activities, including parties, fun runs and golf tournaments. Once they fill out the online form, a GRCVB representative will assist meeting planners with developing a custom program.

"Meeting planners don't often have the time or luxury of going into a destination and planning a volunteer activity for their attendees," said Jennifer Johnson, president of the Johnson Meetings Group, a Raleigh-based meeting planning firm. "The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau offering already developed programs makes it a win-win for both the meeting attendees and the destination."