by Liz Peterson, Greenheart Travel Summer Intern
The best way to go about fundraising is to employ all of your resources. Start saving for your next Greenheart Travel program with these fundraising tips to make your dream of going abroad a reality.
- Get started on your budget with help from Lonely Planet, which gives a general outline of costs depending upon location. Download a spreadsheet, or write out a list, just as long as you have a budget in mind. Consider how much you are willing to pay for, and what you want to set your goal at for fundraising. Don’t forget about specific attractions or sightseeing activities you want to have abroad.
- Create a list of donors, and keep thinking of more! Your dentist, local bakery, or distant relative, all could potentially be interested in helping you achieve your financial goal. Send a message out on Facebook or post something on your wall detailing the program and your plan for fundraising.
- Start a fundraising page online. There are a lot of great websites that allow you to begin a project and receive donations from outside parties. Project Travel is a great places to start.
- Search the web for scholarships, grants, and other areas where you can apply to receive money for your project abroad. A simple Google search should bring up good entries, or go International Education Financial Aid and Studyabroad.com.
- Plan an event that will draw in a lot of people such as a dinner party, raffle, garage sale, anything that your friends/family/coworkers would want to attend. Charge a fee and explain the cause of it, some people will be willing to donate more if you are extremely convincing!
- Search Twitter with phrases related to travelling abroad. You will find thousands of accounts with people just like you who are passionate about exploring the world, and you might find that some of them will be willing to support you by donating. If you don’t have an account, we strongly suggest you make one. Create a username related to your travel abroad plans, and write a description about yourself and why you are volunteering/studying abroad. Provide a link to the fundraising page that you set up online.
- Practice your sales pitch! Have it include your intent for travelling abroad, why it’s important to you, some interesting information about the country/culture, and ultimately ask for money. Plan for more material than you need, you want it to sound conversational when you bring it up. Have variations so that when conversing at a party or event, so people aren’t bored with hearing you say the same thing over and over. Practice first on family and friends, and then try it on your boss, coworkers, or any stranger off the street.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for specific dollar amounts, even if it seems a bit high. Obviously don’t be too pushy, but asking for a larger amount will only cause them to donate the same or a little bit less.
- Talk to groups in your local community such as Rotary club, Lions, Veterans clubs, etc.
- If you are alumni of a college, fraternity or sorority, ask them if they have funds to donate.
- Make a Facebook group for your fundraising event! If you aren’t picky about the amount of people who show up, make that a distinction so that people will invite their friends. If you don’t care how many people show up, make the event public.
- If you are a good cook, make a batch of cookies, bars, bread, anything and sell it at your fundraising event.
- If you are a musician, offer lessons to friends, family, anybody for a small fee! Let this be known over an email, Facebook post, Twitter, etc. Make it clear that the lessons are in exchange for a donation for your travels.
- If you are crafty, create an account on Etsy and make it known that all of the money you make off of your designs are going towards your travel abroad funds. Make it known to family, friends, coworkers, etc. that you have an account and want them to check it out.
- Photographers – show donors some samples of your previous work and state that you will send them prints of your travel photos after your trip if they donate. Or, take a different approach like this man, Tyson John Cable did, and create a photo challenge in which people select a donation level, then request specific photos they would like to see after he returns from his trip. At different levels of donation, different photo gifts are offered. He achieved his goal through the crowdfunding website, kickstarter.
- Read this story about how a Greenheart volunteer abroad participant raised money for their Costa Rica trip by selling avocados that grew in their backyard.
- Sound happy and excited! We know that fundraising gets tough, especially after being shot down many times. However, if you sound unenthusiastic about your program, people will be discouraged even more which becomes a vicious cycle. Think about it from the donors’ perspective. What would you need to hear or see somebody to do in order for you to support them financially?
- Get rid of junk! Have a garage sale and sell unwanted items. Take clothes that are still in good shape to second hand stores. Reducing your things will lift a weight off your shoulders and put more money in your pockets.
- If you feel like going the route that was familiar to you in grade school, you can sell candy bars, cookie dough, or whatever bulk product you can get your hands on! It’s still a great way to fundraise. http://www.fund-raising.com/
- Learn how to accept no for an answer, and move on to the next donor! Getting caught up in each donation will make you lose sight of the ultimate goal.
- Construct a slip n slide in your backyard and charge participants $2 for unlimited tries!
Tell us your favorite fundraising tips on our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter @GreenhrtTravel #iwilltravel