Fundraising is a great option if you want to volunteer internationally but need help affording the program and airfare. While some people think fundraising is just asking close friends and family members for money, we know that it can actually be a fun and impactful way to share with others what you will be doing internationally and create a community of support and awareness for your volunteer mission. Here are some creative fundraising ideas for your own trip:
Share your story
Whether it’s a brochure, short video, slideshow, article – tell people why you chose the program you did and why it is important to you. Let them know what you’re passionate about and how their support will be helping you reach these goals. Whether it’s a desire for international travel, furthering education, or passion for the local community and construction projects, share with them what you will be doing on the trip and how they will be supporting that community by sponsoring you.
Make it easy to donate with the right technology
Use an online platform to make it easy and secure for people to donate. Sites like GoFundMe are easy to use and allow you to advertise your fundraising efforts and track your progress. They also have a section just for Volunteers as well as people can search by zip code to see what local projects to donate to, so you can get people involved from your community even if you don’t personally know them. Razoo and Indiegogo are also crowdfunding sites that can be used to share your story and raise money through an online platform.
Get creative with your fundraising ideas
You’re not just raising money, you’re raising awareness around the cause you are supporting when you volunteer abroad. Create shirts with native designs or text in native languages. Have a cultural party and make food from the country you will be visiting. Do some sort of personal sacrifice campaign, where people can pledge $1 for every 1 day you live off of less than $1. Offer people something in return for their support, a photo, reflection letter, or email thank you for their support. It doesn’t have to cost you anything, but knowing how their donation impacted the community where you are volunteering will help them see the return on their investment.
Look for Sponsors
Get your company or school to sponsor you. Most companies love not only showing that their employees love their jobs but also any positive PR they can get. Ask your company for a sponsorship for in return they will get a photo with you holding their sign (or wearing their t-shirt) in your volunteer destination and a spotlight about what you did there and how the company encourages employees to pursue their passions. Maybe even ask if the company has frequent flyer miles they would be willing to donate to fund your flight. It may not work for all businesses, but even spreading awareness of the social problem you’re tackling is helping your overall goals of benefiting the community.
Remember, make your fundraising goal clear, let your supporters know why you chose the program you do, what you’re excited to do there, and how they will be supporting that community by sponsoring you. Make it personal to you and your goals. Get creative, and have fun.