All packed for that holiday getaway to Uganda? You may want to check AngelMule and see if you have extra space for a few clothes for orphans in Kampala, the African country’s capital city.
For some people, traveling is more than just having a taste of a country’s food and attractions. To them, it is an opportunity to go voluntouring: meeting people, helping communities, participating in development projects, and, increasingly, delivering requested goods for charity.
Developed by travel enthusiasts and founders of social travel network mmMule, AngelMule is an online platform connecting nonprofits with voluntourists.
Upon sign up, travelers, referred to as AngelMules, can browse through the different item or service requests nonprofits post on the site. These vary from school supplies, such as books and pencils, to used clothes and shoes for children.
Each posting contains the name of the organization that made the request, item cost, delivery information and the offered reward in exchange. The last can be a drink in a local bar, accommodations or “one big hug.”
Travelers can reach nonprofits via a simple messaging system on the site. While there are no penalties for those who fail to honor the agreement, AngelMule encourages both parties to “uphold their promise.” But, a caveat. The organizations have user profiles on the site, but these are not vetted by AngelMule. As such, travelers who aren’t comfortable with the nonprofit they would be delivering goods for are advised not to enter into an agreement.
This kind of travel experience is not new, and is similar to StuffYourRuckSack.com. The difference is AngelMule offers some perks for travelers — apart from the “feel good” factor. Travelers can become AngelMule ambassadors as well, spreading the word to fellow travelers and nonprofits that could benefit from joining the site.
Avis Mulhall, AngelMule co-founder and marketing director, told Devex the social travel site has been using direct contact and social media to get more people on the site. But it is also looking into partnering with tour operators, travel agents and volunteer placement agencies. AngelMule is in talks with several large organizations as well to reach smaller, grass-roots groups.
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