One of the most rewarding types of travel is using your time for social good. Many people are taking advantage of the opportunity to see the world while helping a cause in an ethical way.
However, many (most) of these opportunities are not free. You shouldn’t expect them to be free — there are costs involved in hosting a volunteer program that you wouldn’t imagine.
CreativeVolunteer has vowed to create an affordable opportunity for creative travelers to utilize their skills for social good. Still, to do so in an ethical way, there are certain costs that are unavoidable.
A part of our program, for example, we will not host a volunteer without paying both the subject of the project and a personal translator for their time. The volunteer will, therefore, incur these costs.
We’ve taken the time to put together a list of ways we’ve found to be effective in raising funds to go on that volunteer experience you’ve always wanted and to touch the lives of many.
Tips for Raising Money for Volunteering Experience
1. Use your network
Contact your family and friends and ask them to place their fundraising initiatives on their media platforms to reach a wider audience. When people see that someone they trust is supporting a cause, they are more likely to show their support.
2. Collect donations in kind
Donations are not always in cash. You can collect things for volunteer work. For example, if you volunteer at school, you may need notebooks and notebooks.
3. Create a website or blog
There are many platforms where you can create a free website or blog and use it to raise funds. Weebly, Square Space and WordPress are just a few examples of website/blog creation platforms. Place your travel information on your website and use the Paypal link so that people can easily make a donation.
The blog is especially useful because it is more personal and can publish your thoughts and dreams about traveling as well as photos of where you want to go; it will be more interesting for your audience.
4. Set up a fundraising website
Set up a fundraising website to collect funds through online donations. It covers everything from product launch to unforeseen medical expenses. In North America alone, donors have donated $17.2 billion to various crowd fundraising campaigns. Mass financing is one of the easiest, fastest and most effective ways to raise funds, but it is important that the fundraising process is ethical at every stage.
It is one of the most reliable platforms for mass financing.
GoFundMe: This is one of the most popular fundraising sites and is often used for personal use. Supported by major media channels such as Forbes and TIME, GoFundMe is a reliable platform.
Fundly: Fundly is not as well known as other platforms, but it focuses primarily on social engagement and community development, making it an excellent choice for an international volunteer campaign.
FundMyTravel: This platform is based solely on travel campaigns, including volunteering. FundMyTravel also provides access to a set of tools to help you achieve the best results.
Generosity: Generosity is an invention of GoFundMe and Indiegogo. The platform focuses on social goals such as volunteering and has the added advantage of double brand recognition.
5. Use social networks
Connect Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to your crowdfunding site to tell your family and friends. Once you have prepared your campaign, you will probably use the media to attract donors. The advantage of the media is that you can reach a wide audience for free, but it is important to act ethically.
If you are at least 18 years old, you can save your personal Facebook fundraising. This is a simple process. In a few minutes, you can add photos and details and create your own fundraising website. Use Instagram and Twitter to send Instagram tweets and articles with hashtags and links to your Facebook fundraising promotion.
6. Organize fundraising events
Don’t forget about offline methods, organize a fundraiser such as lunch, lunch or a cocktail, to name just a few. Invite your whole family and friends – you can also let them know through press releases in local newspapers. Don’t forget the phones and emails. Sometimes a personal note or fundraising call is more effective. Finally, you can ask for donations to your company during holidays or on your birthday instead of gifts.
7. Ask for travel points as a donation
Ask about points, such as ChaseRewards, which will help you pay for your flight to your destination and, if you are lucky, you can use them to pay for your return flight! You can transfer points from airlines to help you buy your ticket, but the rules may vary from one airline to another.
8. Be transparent
Be honest in your mission and do not interfere with the work you do. For example, do not recommend teaching English in school if you really only want to travel around the country. Inform donors about your trip abroad and add photos. Let them know that they will see proof that your money was used for good purposes. This could be a weekly photo or status update by e-mail.
Make sure that each part of your campaign is presented in a clear and honest way:
- Tell the donor that you are using a proven platform (i.e. when a receipt is issued) to make sure that you are using the money for volunteer work and not for shopping.
- Share your project so that donors know about your experience. Let them know that they will see evidence that your money has been used to finance a serious case.
- Focus on the reasons why you decided to volunteer. Be honest. Tell people that you’re passionate about this particular case and let them know that you want to make a difference.
9. Thank your donors
Don’t think automatic thank-you notes after an online donation will be enough. Thank the donors for a personal email address or even a handwritten note. A donor who feels valued will be more willing to support you as a volunteer in the future. Indeed, it is a great idea to send two thank you letters, one when someone makes a donation and one when they return from their journey.
The most important thing to think about when you start a fundraising campaign for a volunteer abroad is to do it ethically. Today it is so easy to raise money online that it has attracted unscrupulous people who unfairly point out the purpose of their collection or ask for donations without the intention of using them for a specific campaign purpose.
Always be honest about how you use the money, and don’t get caught in the trap of using donations for anything other than the specific purpose of your journey. These rules also apply to offline fundraising.
If you have a bake sale and come home with a full envelope of money, you may be tempted to spend some of that money on one or two personal items, but remember that you will betray the trust of your supporters and contributors. You should always be accountable to the donors for the way you used your money.
There are many ways to finance your trip, but if you raise money in an ethical way and show gratitude to donors, you will have a network of people who support and believe in you and your volunteer goals abroad!
Here are some other tips that you should know when you start your fundraising journey:
Focus on the reasons why you decided to volunteer
A true and passionate desire to help those less fortunate than you can always help raise money. More and more people are willing to fund a trip for more important reasons than spring break. Walk on the sidewalk and let your goals and passions speak for themselves.
Use your connections
Effective fundraising is inexpensive and reaches a wide audience. Never forget who you know and who can help you. For example, if your family member works for a large company, you can ask them if they would like to get sponsorship from that company. Or, if you have a friend who can find a meeting place for you, think about raising money. Start by listing everyone you know and how they can contribute to your volunteer goals – every item counts!
Set a reasonable goal
Start with a clear goal, how much money to raise at each fundraising event, and record your progress towards that goal. Track and measure the amount you expect to increase in comparison to what you actually do. Some ideas work, others do not, but they do not repeat the same mistakes. Click here for more information about the fundraising body’s goals.
Ask for specific donations
It’s a good idea to ask for a certain amount of money so that donors can start somewhere and have a point of reference – but that doesn’t mean you should stick to that number! When you ask for a certain amount of money, you can also plan in advance how much money you will need from each donor to achieve your goals. It can be helpful to contact the biggest benefactor first – people often follow a leader.
Encouraging donations with incentives
Make sure that every donor is rewarded. If you give something to all donors, they have the extra incentive to give their word and spread it! It can be as easy as sending a message about your adventures abroad by email or mail when they are abroad, or presenting your impressions when you return.
Even if you are as prepared as possible, you may forget about something or face difficulties in achieving all your goals. Be prepared to take up challenges and overcome them by preparing yourself. Find out what you need abroad, and study the cost of living where you are going. What do you need to spend your money on? How much is included in the cost of your program? Learn more about the cost of living around the world.
Use time wisely
Fundraising can take a long time, so you need to set priorities. Set the time for your purposes, especially if you are under pressure.
Don’t Worry About the Details!
There are many ways to raise money for your travels. So don’t let the money get in the way. Put on your donation hat, and you will be on your way soon!