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Discover the history of International Volunteer HQ

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) was launched in July 2007 by Executive Director, Dan Radcliffe, following a trip abroad backpacking and volunteering in Africa.

Upon completing a Master’s degree in Finance and Management from the University of Otago in 2006, Dan Radcliffe was employed by a large New Zealand corporate, as a Graduate Financial Analyst. After 3 days of employment, Dan realized he would never be happy in a corporate financial job and quit, heading back to his family farm in Taranaki. Undecided with what he wanted to do with his life, Dan decided to work on the family farm for 6 months to save some money, before traveling abroad to backpack and volunteer.

After researching the volunteer travel opportunities available with existing online companies, Dan was surprised at the cost of volunteering abroad and the lack of affordable options available. Registering with the cheapest and most reliable company he could find, Dan headed away to volunteer in Kenya in August 2006. Although he loved the experience of volunteering in Kenya, he was disillusioned with the large disparity between what he had paid, and the actual cost of the volunteer trip. While in Nairobi, Dan began meeting with potential local partner organizations and the seeds of IVHQ were planted.

International Volunteer HQ's Dan Radcliffe as a volunteer in Kenya

Returning to New Zealand in early 2007, Dan took out a loan from the bank using his parents’ farm as security. With this money, IVHQ was registered, a website was built and Dan returned to Kenya to formalize a partnership and systems while also heading to Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam to screen, select and train local teams.

On July 26 2007, International Volunteer HQ was launched online from the Radcliffe family farm in Taranaki, New Zealand. Based on the concept that volunteer travel should be responsible, high quality and affordable, IVHQ quickly became the provider of choice for thousands of people looking to travel and volunteer abroad.

Since launching in 2007, IVHQ has established itself as the world’s premier volunteer travel organization, operating in 50+ destinations throughout the world. We are no longer based on a farm, but we still strive to provide trips that are responsible, high quality and affordable. We have provided volunteer abroad programs for tens of thousands of people from over 100 countries around the world.

Volunteer abroad as a surf instructor in South Africa with IVHQ

IVHQ volunteer programs allow people to travel to destinations as diverse as Rio de Janeiro, Phnom Penh and Nairobi, while participating on a variety of projects such as Turtle Conservation, Construction and Teaching. To discover which IVHQ volunteer program is best for you, visit our Volunteer Abroad Programs page.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!