Even though volunteering abroad is a cost-effective way to travel, when you add up all the costs, like airfare, insurance, spending money for sight-seeing, the total can possibly overwhelm you.
You shouldn't let financial barriers keep you from pursuing a worthy cause. Fundraising your volunteer trip abroad is a lot easier than you think. Remember: if you never ask, you'll never receive any assistance.
Let people know about what you're doing and the cause your working for. Show them your understanding about the issue while highlighting your passion for the cause. Utilize social media like Facebook, Twitter, and your crowd-funding page to show off your progress. Post photos, blog entries, and videos on the important moments dealing directly with the core issue you are volunteering abroad for. And if grandma doesn't use Facebook, send her a photo in the mail. She'll definitely appreciate it. An important thing to remember during your fundraising campaign is whenever, wherever possible, keep your donors updated on your progress before leaving to volunteer abroad and after coming back from your trip.
Our How to Start Fundraising page guides you through preparing, promoting, and planning your fundraising journey. Make sure you create a digital and physical fundraising pamphlet to distribute to friends, family, classmates, colleagues, and others. Provide plenty of detail on the issues, your goals, and a calender of your fundraising events. (Its very likely that you will have to set up a few events to reach your projected goal.) Let people know far in advance when and where they can come out and support you during your fundraising events.
People love initiative. Don't be afraid to ask, and get started! Here are 8 of my favorite fun and unique tips for fundraising your volunteer trip abroad in addition to your online fundraising campaigns:
1. Dog Wash: This one is especially great if your volunteering with cats or dogs or at any other animal care and rescue project. On a warm day grab a friend or two and set up a dog-washing station near a local dog park or in front of the pet store (with their permission of course!). Everyone wants their dog clean, but not everyone wants to give their dog a bath, and groomers can be expensive. Offer a low-cost service, and you might even be surprised by the number of tips you receive when you tell dog owners (and lovers) about your fundraising efforts.
2. Baked cookies (or rum balls) for the holidays: People love sugar. Cupcakes, cookies, and brownies are perfect indulgences, especially if its for a good cause! Hit up the end of a happy hour or at closing time at your local bar, or set up a stand in front of your local grocers. Remember always ask. It might also be better if you don't put a price tag on the baked goods. “However much you can or you want to give to the cause,” is a great answer. You'll sometimes end up walking away with a higher donation.
3. Students should party for a cause! Ask a campus organization, group, club, fraternity or sorority to sponsor a party for you. Any proceeds raised from the event can be donated to you. Those five dollar red cups can add up pretty quickly.
4. Make a community mural. See empty walls around your community? Ask local businesses, the township, or anyone else if you can use their wall to make a community mural. Public art beautifies the community. Let members of the community add their handprints to the mural for $5 a stamp.
5. BBQ! Who doesn't love a good barbeque? Ask your local market, library, local sports event, or other popular community location if you can set up a temporary BBQ joint to sell burgers and hotdogs for a low-cost meal. Make a catchy sign and tip jar advertising why you're selling burgers for your cause. Let the delicious smell of grilling meat do the rest of the work.
6. Have a clothing sale: Most of us desperately need to clean out our closets. Invite your friends over (and have a party while you're at it) or find a space elsewhere where you can sell that unused stuff. Perhaps you'll find some of your friends donating some stuff to add to your collection. Sell things at a low cost rate. You'll be surprised how fast the cash will add up.
7. Pub quiz: Gather your friends and other competitive nerdy folk to join you for a pub quiz. Ask your local watering hole to sponsor you for a night with the entry fee being donated to you. Businesses want to be seen as corporately responsible and lending support to the fellow members of their community (in return for your patronship). Supply the winning team with a prize. This can be donated from another local business, or some sort of service you can offer. Get creative. (Or maybe the bar will even buy the winners a round of drinks.)
8. Neighborhood chores: This one is thing for all students, but especially a beneficial task for anyone under the age of 20. It demonstrates responsibility, entrepreneurship, and marketing initiative. Alert your neighbors of chores you can do for them in return for a donation for your trip. Services can include snow removal, mowing lawns, gardening, painting, washing cars, raking leaves, babysitting, or any other chore you can think of.
Please feel free to share your great ideas as well!