Many organizations that work for social good run volunteer programs, and these can form the basis of great Airbnb experiences. However, it’s important that these Social Impact experiences still meet Airbnb’s high quality standards.
Kellen, host of Cooks Who Care in San Francisco, and Volunteer Coordinator for Raphael House, a nonprofit focused on family homelessness, knew she wanted to expand on the organization’s existing volunteer program:
“We already have a volunteer opportunity in our kitchen, where groups of up to 6 volunteers can help to prepare and serve dinner from 3:30 to 7 p.m. but we wanted to expand upon this opportunity.”
So she added additional events that give guests a special window into the Raphael House and its work:
“It was helpful for us to think of the experience in three parts—a beginning, middle, and end. We wanted to start with a full tour, then have the guests volunteer in the kitchen as the main part of the experience, and finally we wanted to have a wrap-up experience where guests could discuss their experience with our Executive Director or other senior staff and learn more about homelessness in San Francisco… [and] the good work Raphael House and other similar organizations were doing to improve the community.”
These adjustments required some additional consideration of staff resources:
“As a non-profit, the time of our staff is very valuable. We wanted to open up Raphael House to guests in a way that would not be too different from how we already engage our visitors but that would be special enough for this to be an opportunity you could not get anywhere else. Our main problem was that all three parts had a different staff lead, but we solved this by having myself (the Volunteer Coordinator) give the initial tour, stick around while volunteers were in the kitchen with our chef, and lead them to the wrap up conversation. This way, there was one cohesive staff member who started up and helped to wrap up the experience.”
She also makes clear for guests where their money is going so they feel satisfied with the value of paying for the volunteering opportunity:
“We make sure to explain in our description and in person that all of the money paid for the experience goes to help pay for the cost of dinner for the 20+ families who live at Raphael House. The average cost of one night of dinner is around $300. We also allow guests to eat the dinner they help prepare and we provide dessert-style snacks and beverages during our wrap up conversation.”
This is a natural approach for organizations that already has volunteer programs, such as soup kitchens, animal shelters, and urban gardens.