Operation Groundswell is a social enterprise where revenue is re-invested back into the organization through program planning, curriculum design, and modest salaries. We maintain a lean and sustainable organization, and think about our participants’ best interests, not our bank account. When you join OG overseas, you can be sure that you’re investing in people before profits!
In an effort to be radically transparent, we have separated our program fee from our community contribution – so that you know exactly where and how your money is being spent overseas.
We want to make your decision to travel again as easy as possible. That’s why we have flexible, transparent policies that will ensure you can join us on an OG program when you are comfortable and able to.
Your deposit guarantees you a spot on an OG program. It’s non-refundable, but it’s good for two years and can be used towards any OG program within those two years (as long as there’s space, of course!). Learn more about our fee structure here.
Typically, our program fees are paid in three instalments. We understand that everyone’s situation is different, though, and do our best to accommodate personalized payment plans. After you’ve paid your deposit, simply reach out to talk about your options.
No Change Fees
If for whatever reason you don’t want to or can’t participate in the program you first applied to, you can switch programs for free. We just ask that you let us know up to 45 days before your program (60 days before if it’s a long program). Browse open programs here.
Our organization was founded on the principle of accessibility. We’ve set out to develop the most affordable programs possible, while packing in adventure, cross-cultural dialogue, and meaningful community service.
Our program fee covers all your expenses on the ground including lodgings and accommodations, three local meals a day, excursions, dynamic program leaders, and all the magic that happens in-country.
But OG is more than just a trip. We are a community of ethical travellers pushing to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. By joining us on a program, you’ll become a member of OG. The membership fee covers program design and recruitment, leadership training, a host of alumni activities, project monitoring and evaluation, participant impact evaluation, scholarships, and much more.
From the modest office space where all the planning takes place right down to that plate of pad thai you’ll be drooling over in Thailand, your program and membership fee ensures the highest quality of programming!
There are a few things the program fee doesn’t cover. We want to be up front about some of the extra costs you should expect.
There’s more that goes into every OG program than you may think. Your experience on the ground is just part of the magic, but there’s also a lot going on behind the scenes. Expand the sections below to see the details.
82% of team members’ community contributions go directly to support projects implemented by the local non-profits, charities, and communities that we are partnered with. From constructing the first Ubuntu Blox styrofoam factory in Haiti to supporting literacy programs in Tanzania, our groups always strive to make a lasting impact. Each team contributes to one or two major local projects while abroad. Teams may also choose to allocate funds to the Alumni Project Fund, a communal pool to support alumni who have continued working on development projects with local partners.
There is no question that round-trip flights leave a large carbon footprint. If we are going to fly, we want to encourage environmental responsibility. For this reason, we carbon offset all of our programs. 10% of each community contribution is allocated to PlanetAir, a Canadian organization regarded by the Suzuki Foundation as one of the leaders in the industry.
Only 8% goes towards the administration of funds, maintenance of an interactive fundraising platform, and bank transfer fees. We do our best to maintain a lean organization!