Volunteering overseas can be an enlightened way towards becoming an agent of change. You will see amazing sites, meet beautiful people, and you will bridge cultures through care and compassion. However, there are in many cases, considerable expenses that go towards meeting the cost of both travel and project.
There are also real-time challenges, and considerable effort and planning needed before you go, and of course while you in destination. To help you kick off your journey, GoVoluntouring has built a special tool that can create and manage volunteer fundraising campaigns that are effective, well-connected, and held in trust. Below is a list of ideas and tips that can help you raise money towards your volunteer fundraising campaign.
The very first thing you should do is contact your friends, family, peers, coworkers and teammates. Let them see the passion you have for volunteering abroad. It is infectious, and they will want to stoke that same fire. You are making a major commitment, and most people will appreciate that, especially if they can meet you face to face.
Consider 'in lieu' donations.
If you have a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or other milestone event, ask for donations to your campaign page instead of material goods. A little planning and some upfront communication can not only put some funds on the board, but help inform people of your cause.
Why not look at odd jobs.
Why not consider asking for donations in exchange for window cleaning, mowing lawns, or painting a fence. Small jobs can be fast ways of raising money, and can go along way in subsidizing large expenses. Try a little adhoc elbow grease. It may surprise you how many people will hire you for a small job, especially if they know where there money is headed.
Use your online networks.
Be sure to share your expectations, explain the reasons as to why you are considering volunteering overseas and what you hope to gain and accomplish. Try to reach as many people as you can. Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin have considerable reach, and modern dashboard services like Hootsuite (with links back to your campaign pages), can make things easy and effective.
Organize special events or functions.
Do you have a unique skill, or special talent? Do you have friends who run restaurants, or pubs? Do you have colleagues that can bake up a storm? Why not organize a baked goods table, or plan a local event, and provide entertainment in exchange for admission or a negotiated piece of sales. It can be a fun way to host all your friends, and get the word out to a wider range of people.
Contact Businesses and Organizations
Do you know any local businesses and organizations that would consider sponsoring you in exchange for blog post updates, photos wearing their branding, or a return visit to their place of business to share your story with their employees? To begin, start with businesses you frequent often, or that you have close ties too. Don’t give up, and just like how you will use your online networks, be sure to communicate your goals, and your expectations of the project and the destination.
A Few More Tips and Ideas
Start early. Fundraising can be daunting. You will need to be organised and persistent. The earlier you start, the less pressure you will face, and the greater the chance you will succeed.
Budget more. Whatever you think you need to join a project, budget 15-20% more. You will likely have to consider vaccinations, travel insurance, entry visas, or other costs that aren't obvious at first.
Sell yourself and your volunteer program. Don’t be shy! You want people to have confidence that they are giving their money to a worthwhile cause. Convince them of your passion and commitment. Show them that the project you are joining will be important to the destination you are heading to. Do research, and be prepared to answer questions. Consider looking your best, and having hand-outs in the event you have caught them at an awkward time. Just be sure to follow up. The deeper they get to know you, what your plans are, and what you will be doing during your time volunteering abroad, the more likely they will be in donating to you.
Keep Notes. You will be meeting a lot of people during your fundraising efforts, you should keep a journal that lists who you have spoken to, what they said, and how much they offered your campaign. Remember, if you asked for a donation twice from the same person or organisation, and especially if they donated the first time, it will likely come across as poor taste.
Don’t forget about matching donations. If you are fortunate enough to have some savings yourself, or even a business sponsor, than perhaps you can approach donors with a matching incentive. For example, you can then say that for every dollar raised, Company ABC (or even yourself) will be matching it up to $500. Ask for a specific amounts. Depending on the donor, your ‘ask’ may change. But you should always be upfront with your needs. It may surprise you that by asking someone for $50, just how many people will agree.
Finally, don’t forget to show your appreciation! Make it a point to give a shout out to anyone that supported your efforts. Send them pictures and emails while in destination, they will see it as money well spent, and feel apart of the process too! With the help of friends and family, as well as local businesses and organizations, your fundraising objectives can be attainable.
Start today, plan ahead, and be creative, there are many ways to make this a reality. You just need to believe in yourself.