About Palms: F.A.Q.

You can also read our frequently asked questions about volunteering.


1. From where does Palms Australia receive its funding?

Palms Australia estimates the average cost of placing a volunteer for two years to be $38,581. Considering the value of a teacher, nurse, doctor, tradesperson, accountant or other professional in Australia is at least $50,000 per year (or $100,000 in total), this is remarkable value.

The costs of a placement are covered by contributions from the following sources:

The volunteer: The volunteer contributes two years of his or her life. The value of this cannot be overestimated. It is much more than their possible salary of $100,000 that they are forgoing. Sometimes a volunteer also contributes financially, however to protect their privacy we include these contributions in the CommUNITY section of the above graph.

Palms grants and general donations: These are donations made to Palms by affiliated organisations and members of the organisation. These are used to cover the administration and the recruitment, selection and re-entry costs of each placement.

Corporate Sponsorship: Occasionally a business will sponsor an individual placement. In return the business may receive advertising on our website and on CommUNITY Newsletters. A small amount can make a big difference. For information, contact Roger O’Halloran on (02) 9560 5333.

Palms Overseas Partner contributions: In some cases, the community requesting the volunteer can provide some assistance with aspects of a placement. This often includes accommodation and sometimes includes food or a simple living allowance. For example, a teacher in Papua New Guinea will often receive a local wage from the PNG Education Department. Partner contributions are an important part of Palms‘ approach because they:

  • are an alternative to the paternalistic, colonial model which does not recognise the value of the local community or the importance of their involvement in their own community development;
  • remove the temptation to employ a “free” foreign volunteer where a local person could adequately do the work;
  • ensure that the community has in place, or will put in place, structures to support a local person in the role once the volunteer has departed.

Contributions from the partner organisations are made locally, not as cash donations through Palms Australia, but we believe it is important to recognise the value of these contributions.

CommUNITY Support: The remainder of an individual placement cost is raised from the Australian public through our CommUNITY Initiative. Due to other contributions this amount is usually between 25% and 50% of the total cost. This means that, for example, by raising $13,250 Australian CommUNITY Partners can provide a volunteer teacher to Kiribati, Solomon Islands or PNG for two years.

This is more than a fundraising scheme. It also serves to spread stories of volunteer and cross-cultural life throughout Australia. It is a method by which an Australian school, church, workplace, parish or club can enter into a mutual partnership with an overseas community through which they can learn about each other’s cultures while contributing to a more just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world.

2. Is Palms an acronym? What does it stand for?

Though the name Palms originated as an acronym, it is now intended more as a symbol of what we stand for. Open hands are used for giving and receiving, welcoming and sharing. Open hands are not threatening, violent, dominating or accusatory but rather imply a willingness to enter into dialogue with others for the advancement of a mutually beneficial world.

3. How can I support a Palms volunteer/overseas community?

A Palms CommUNITY Partner can assist through coordinating fundraising events that cover the costs of preparing, placing and supporting the global volunteer; writing to and/or visiting them when they are away; giving spiritual support and helping to spread the lessons of their placement in the broader community. CommUNITY Partners encourage information exchange and will be provided with regular newsletter updates through Palms Australia.

4. How do I book a Palms Australia training course?

If you would like to take part in a scheduled Palms course, or would like to organise a Palms workshop for your own staff, contact Roger O’Halloran on (02) 9560 5333 or via email.

5. Where does my donation go?

Palms Australia covers all its administration and recruitment costs through grants we receive from affiliated organisations, which means that every cent of your donation is used to prepare, send and support a volunteer while in placement.

Each placement has a total cost of approximately $18,000 per year, however most placements are significantly cheaper as local communities can often provide accommodation and meals. In some cases, the local government will provide a basic living allowance. This means that for some placements Palms needs only to raise $6000-$7000 per year. This amount helps cover airfares, insurance, visa, preparation and support costs.

6. What is CommUNITY?

When Palms Australia sends a volunteer to an overseas community, the community is able to develop skills which will last well beyond the placement. The volunteer gains a unique experience of another culture and an alternate way of life. CommUNITY aims to extend the benefits to Australian communities.

By connecting Australian and overseas communities, Palms encourages mutual learning and enriching relationship where each contributes what they can to the other. The Australian community helps send a volunteer to share their skills and in return learns from the experiences of the cross-cultural volunteer.

7. Do you have a bequest program?

Palms Australia welcomes bequests or legacies from our supporters. Your generosity can assist Palms continue its work long into the future. Information can be found at our bequest page, or to discuss your specific wishes, please call us on (02) 9560 5333 or via email.


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The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress
and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. - Octavio Paz