Originally published in “Impact Tourism Handbook: Best Practices in Giving Time, Talent, & Treasure” by the Center for Responsible Travel.
What is donor travel?
Donor travel is a thriving and important subset of impact tourism. While it can be argued that all donor trips are considered impact trips, not all impact trips are considered donor trips. The nuance lies in the distinction between travelers who donate and donors who travel. All impact trips involve travelers who donate (whether that be time, talent, or treasure), as that is inherent in the very definition of impact tourism. These travelers often select a destination based on recreational appeal, travel independently, or join tours that are open to the general public, and may be compelled to make a separate financial gift or engage in a volunteer experience to give back to the places that gifted them with memorable experiences. These are travelers who have been turned into donors through the course of their journey.
Donor travel, however, seeks the involvement of individuals who are already donors and aims to turn them into travelers. These individuals have given, or are expected to give, to the nonprofits that have arranged their tours. The purpose of donor travel is not purely recreational but also to engage more deeply with the organization and its mission…