What is Travelers’ Philanthropy, and how does it work?
Travelers’ Philanthropy is a web portal that connects prospective donors with community development projects abroad, making travel a vehicle for positive change. Travelers’ Philanthropy is a program of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit. Donations to Travelers’ Philanthropy/CREST are secure, easy and tax-deductible. CREST uses donations to support community projects funding international development initiatives, education, conservation, and community health, all of which further CREST's goals of promoting responsible and sustainable development.
Why choose Travelers’ Philanthropy?
Here at Travelers’ Philanthropy, we do the background work so that you know your donation will be handled properly and according to US and international law. No need to worry about the security of a cash donation, or the impact of a check written at the last moment of a voyage. We know you want to make a difference, so we have gathered a group of dedicated local development projects that do just that. The projects you see on our website are all backed by a local tourism operator, allowing for added transparency and organization. Most importantly, Travelers’ Philanthropy processes donations while preserving the privacy of your sensitive financial information by routing donors through a direct link to our own, exclusive page on the secure JustGive.org financial website, offering you superior security and customer service.
How are companies chosen to be part of the website?
Each of the companies currently included on our website has demonstrated a commitment to benefiting local peoples and the environment. The travel operators in our list have received numerous awards for their efforts toward sustainability and local advancement, building schools, funding income-generation programs, and protecting natural resources for both tourists and local residents. In addition, each company has partnered with local community projects, which they support through their own operations and through donations made on the Travelers' Philanthropy website. For a detailed list of membership criteria for companies wishing to become part of the Travelers' Philanthropy network, please click here. Only companies with a proven track record of philanthropic work and environmental stewardship have been or will be included. We are working to grow our impact by incorporating more responsible tourism enterprises and local community projects, while still representing top-notch results and quality service.
How do I make a donation?
To donate by credit card: Simply visit the "Community Projects" tab and click "Community Projects". Scroll through the list of projects for whom we collect donations. At the bottom of each project description there is a colorful "donate now" button that will open a convenient donation form in a new window through a secure connection. You may also visit our “Donate” tab and read step-by-step instructions.
To donate by check: Please make your check out to the Center for Responsible Travel, including Travelers’ Philanthropy and the name of the recipient project on the memo line. Please mail your check to our Washington, D.C. office, using this address:
ATTN: CREST and Travelers’ Philanthropy
1333 H St., NW
Suite 300, East Tower
Washington, DC 20005, USA
Will I receive information to help me reflect my donation on my tax return?
Yes. When you make a donation through our website, you will automatically receive tax information via mail, along with a confirmation, a thank you note from CREST. Donations made by check will be followed with a receipt from CREST, thanking you for your donation to community development worldwide.
Can I specify how my donation should be used?
At Travelers’ Philanthropy, we want to help you make a difference where you feel it is most needed. When you make your donation, we invite you to tell us where you prefer that your donation be used. You may donate to a specific community project, or you may contact us to find out how to make a donation with other guidelines. However, in all cases it must be noted that IRS guidelines for charitable donations prohibit us from guaranteeing that funds will be used in accordance with a donor’s instructions. This is because all donations must pass through an internal process of review before being granted out to recipients and must be used in a manner that furthers the charitable purposes outlined in our filings with the IRS (and that are described throughout this website). Thus, although we will do everything in our power to follow the wishes of donors in all but the most unusual case, you should know that funds cannot be formally designated. In the event that you prefer that we use the funds in a way that we cannot, CREST will contact you with a suggestion for another worthy use of the funds and await your approval before accepting the donation and sending confirmation paperwork.
Can I donate to any project, or only one sponsored by the tour operator I recently traveled with?
You may make a donation to any project on our website, whether or not you have ever visited their sponsoring tour operator. Anyone can donate, at any time, to any of our listed projects.
Does Travelers’ Philanthropy/CREST take a percentage of donations?
Operating Travelers’ Philanthropy takes time and effort in order to be done right. To cover the costs of maintaining the website, consulting with legal counsel, contacting, verifying and maintaining close relationships with tour operators and community projects, and following up with donors, Travelers’ Philanthropy keeps 10% of donated funds. Funds donated through the website incur an additional 3% charge from JustGive.org, which JustGive uses to offset the credit card use fee. No additional charges apply to donations made by personal check.
If I have trouble with the donation process, whom should I ask for help?
If you are unclear on any part of the process while navigating the Travelers’ Philanthropy website, please contact CREST program associate, Samantha Hogenson, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 202-347-9203 ex. 414. If you experience problems or have questions while navigating the JustGive donation web form, please contact their help center by following the links on their website.