Sunday, July 6, 2008

What's the deal with CADIP? Part 2

UPDATE: I NO LONGER RECOMMEND CADIP. They need to stop treating every prospective volunteer like a brainless load of cash. And Roy needs to learn to sign his emails with both his first AND last names, if he wants to be taken seriously. Or better yet, he needs to be fired and a whole new management needs to be brought in.

If you're looking for an organized volunteering alternative, consider Service Civil International. Same setup as CADIP, but much nicer to deal with.

OK, I hope that now we can put the issue of whether CADIP is a scam out of its misery.

I promised you guys that if I got a reply from CADIP, I would post it on my blog. And here it is:

Dear Anna,

Thank you for your message and your interest in our activities. Please accept my apologies for the unusual delay in responding to your e-mail. We have received an extremely high volume of e-mails in the past several weeks and have been unable to answer all of the requests within our habitual time frame. Now is the busiest time of the year and, in this very moment, there are literally hundreds of volunteers taking part in so many different programs of CADIP or its partners around the globe.

CADIP is a non-profit organization, registered under the Society Act of British Columbia, Registration Number S-48793. It has no religious or political affiliation. Through various charity, volunteer and youth initiatives, CADIP promotes peace, cooperation, tolerance and understanding in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and international surroundings. The organization also promotes patterns and examples of civil activities focused on serving others, on building social ties and strengthening communities, and on supporting civil society development.

CADIP is a reputable organization with a successful history and thousands of volunteers that are happy with our work. CADIP volunteers have been contributing for years to many charitable projects, development initiatives, cultural events, etc. around the world.

We strive to be the most reliable organization of this kind in North America and we constantly make efforts to give meaning the word affordable when it comes to international volunteering.
Actually, CADIP was created as an organization that would change the pricing of the international volunteer service for the people who want to volunteer abroad without breaking the bank. One of our unwritten goals is to provide affordable international volunteer experiences and to be an alternative to many organizations and private agencies that ruin the idea of volunteering by charging huge fees for similar activities.

We strive to provide a variety of volunteering opportunities in Canada and abroad for a really affordable financial contribution. And we truly believe that CADIP is working for the best of the voluntary service movement.

It’s just unbelievably inappropriate to blame Cadip of being a scam. We are respected not only by our members but also by our partners in Canada and abroad. It may be a good idea for you to check out the web site of the United Nations in its section for international volunteering, or go to the web of the Government of British Columbia in the section 'volunteering' or the respective section on the web sites of the biggest Canadian universities. We think that scams would never be listed there.

There is truly nothing that can lead someone to think CADIP is a scam.
Scams exist to make profit, and we are one of the organizations with the smallest fees ever. As a comparison, you can easily find organizations on the Internet that charge 10 times more and which start with a strictly non-refundable deposit that equals all our fees put together. By the way, we noticed that some of them have a twisted understanding for competition in the nowadays world. Trying to justify their high fees, some of them spread false information, sometimes they post fabricated opinions of former volunteers in blogs under fake names. We believe you understand what we are talking about. Just browsing on the net, you’ll find proof of all and any of our words.

If someone contacts you with a concrete case, we can comment, but only if we have the details, not in general. Of course, nobody is perfect, there is always room to improve the work of any organization, and we are always open for that.

We believe that we are a reliable and experienced organization and we are doing our best to provide not only affordable but safe and enriching international volunteer experience. We are proud with our achievements but we consider ourselves just as a part of the colourful and meaningful world of the world volunteerism. By the way, Canadian volunteerism is considered internationally to be one of the most developed and CADIP strives to be just one more reason for that.

At the end, let me thank you for your efforts to spread the word about CADIP’s activities.

We wish you success and personal happiness.


So if I get one more email from anyone who claims to have been mistreated by CADIP, I will forward it to Canada, because I am not a Better Business Bureau. Are we clear?

Now, go and bother someone else.


  1. I have just got off the phone with a CADIP representative. I emailed them earlier in the day to ask about canceling my membership (signed up a few days ago) because I believe that I could have signed up directly with a local volunteer group without having to go through CADIP and to pay for its membership. She said the membership could not be canceled and I needed it in order to sign up for this volunteer program. I said I did not even live in Canada and I did not plan to use the membership. But if it could not be canceled, I saw it as part of my contribution to the volunteer work. She then started asking me where did I get the information and reiterated how it was very clear on the application about the membership. I told her that I accepted that I was now a member of CADIP. I then asked her, with my membership, what did I get from their organization. She said I would get to sign up for other volunteer opportunities. "For $325?? That's all I get???" I asked. She answered me with a question, "what do you expect us to provide?" I then asked about if part of my membership fee would get to some of these localities as part of the volunteer effort. Her comment was that it was not her job to explain where and how the money was being handled. And she further said that it was not her job to explain how the organization worked.
    I just wrote to this local organization that actually put together the volunteer program to ask if I could have sign up directly with them.
    Awaiting their answer.

  2. Wow. I did not know that there was so much stuff going on with CADIP. I was about to submit my application in for an international project in India (Ayurveda and Yoga experience). Reading this blog is really making me reconsider it and just traveling to India myself and finding another program. This sucks because I was so excited on going too. If anyone has any tips on finding volunteer opportunities in other countries, please let me know.

  3. CADIP really is a scam. I signed up for China last summer and unfortunately, could not travel due to an unforeseen illness. CADIP took my money as well as gave me an earful over the phone. The woman was unsympathetic and rude. I lost hundreds of dollars and felt like I was robbed. Please whatever you do, avoid CADIP.

  4. I was planning on signing up with a program for India with CADIP. Does anyone know better organization for volunteer program?? This will be my first time signing up for these program, it will be great if anyone have any tips or suggestion on things to look out for.

  5. In my own experience, CADIP, an organization located in Canada, functions no more than a middle-person. They fill out the paperwork and contact the local organization. Their so-called membership is non-existing. They do not provide any kind of member service. At least this is the case for me last year. HOWEVER, when I was in Iceland last year, I spoke with the head of the local organization (not part of CADIP), I asked if I could have signed up with them directly instead of having to pay hundreds of dollars to CADIP and THEN the separate application fee to the local org. The answer was "NO". It didn't sound right to me. People I met during this trip paid a lot less in Europe. Something doesn't add up. So look carefully and try to find the local organizations to sign up with directly. This would be my advice. If a non-profit organization cannot tell you if the $350 (app.) you pay them would be contributed (even partially) to the destination you will be volunteering in, I for one would feel very uncomfortable with them.

  6. Did you find the experience to be a good one in Iceland? Was it what you expected? I haven't been able to contact any previous volunteers, so you input would be very much appreciated.

  7. Iceland is...amazing! The untamed beauty is so captivating that I would want to go back there again and again. I spent most of my time in thorsmork and a couple of days in reykavik. Any particular questions that you have, let me know.

  8. yeah, I'll second the guy above. i went through w/ them to Peru and they were certainly legit. No need to go into detail, but I think its important to note that there are a lot of scams out there nowadays and cadip really doesn't seem to be one of why slaughter one of few organizations which actually gives what it promises?

  9. Sure, their price on these trips are lower when compared to other scammers, however it doesn't mean they are making any money or scamming in this case. The volunteer trip was wonderful, however I was wondering why my fee was alot more than other volunteer participants. I found out I could apply to the program directly, instead of going through CADIP, for you two that doesn't care where your money go, then great for youu, however for the majority of us we would like to know where my money is going to.
    It is the fact that they claimed to be a non-profit organization but obviously they are reaping profits. I can confirmed 100% that none of my membershit + volunteer fee went to my volunteer program.

  10. I don't feel its appropriate to expect volunteer organizations to operate fully funded by the government. You are a part of that funding because non-profits only receive 50% funding and make up their other fees through service users and donations. You are a service user. It is your choice to either use the service or not. Nobody put a gun to your heads. And I find it irritating that tight wads gain the power that they do by bitching and complaining like this. I'm currently researching it and though I haven't decided on CADIP 100%, my experience to date has been positive. AND, sometimes we need middle men - do it all yourself if you are so tight with your pennies that you cannot separate from them. And maybe reconsider the volunteer work all together because it actually requires generosity of spirit.