So you want to embark on the travel experience of a lifetime, but don’t have a stockpile of cash lying around? No worries! We will give you tips and tools to mobilize your personal network and help make your overseas adventure a reality.
While daydreaming about your travel destination is a helpful motivator, to really achieve your travel goals requires a plan. Below is an outline of how to get started in your fundraising efforts.
The first step to starting your fundraising journey is setting a fundraising goal. This goal is determined by how much money you will need to fundraise in order to make your trip a reality. Before establishing your goal, you will need to begin by assessing the amount of funding you personally can contribute to your program. Once you know the cost of the program and your personal contribution, you can calculate your fundraising goal. Don’t forget to consider the price of a flight and any additional costs like food to make sure you are financially secure during our time abroad.
ICost of Greenheart Travel Program + Additional Expenses )- Funding You Already Have = Fundraising Goal
After you have established your fundraising goal it is time to create a timeline of when you will need your travel funds. Work backwards on a timeline to achieve your fundraising goals that meet your ideal departure date.
With your timeline and goal in mind, you can start to assess what communities you can reach out to for support. It is important to remember that fundraising takes time and you will likely need to reach out to various groups at different times to meet the full fundraising amount.
A few questions you can use to discover what networks you belong to outside of friends and family are:
Write down the groups of people you can reach out and the contact information for individuals within those groups. Start thinking about the best time to host an event, or speak to these communities.
Now that you have outlined your fundraising goal, timeline, and supportive communities, it is time to start determining how you will raise the money needed for your travels. There are two main ways for you to have your networks support you in meeting your fundraising goal: direct solicitation and events.
Asking your communities for financial support can seem daunting, but by using the tips below it can be both a great learning experience and an opportunity to share your story and possibly inspire future travelers to meet their personal goals as well.
This fundraising approach is often called direct solicitation, and requires reaching out to people who are part of your community via email, letter, recorded video, phone call, or face-to-face interactions and asking them directly to make a donation. This approach might be more nerve-wracking than an event, and is best used for individuals that you feel especially connected to such as family members and friends.
In your individual appeal letter or conversation you will need to including the following information:
You can use this sample letter to tailor your own direct solicitation.
Having a fundraising event is a fun way to raise money for your Greenheart Travel program abroad. Generally, these events are informal, provide some service or good in exchange for a donation, and can involve many community members at the same time.
A few ways to easily mobilize your community are through the following events:
Consider thinking about what events your community would be most likely to get involved in. In addition, it is important to think about your overall goal when choosing which event to have.
For instance, if you need to raise $4,000 but are having a bake sale with 50 items at $2.00 a piece, plus additional donations, you are likely to make only $300.00. It is also important to consider the costs of hosting these events. A yard sale would require your family and friends giving up items to be sold for your cause, a car wash requires time from people willing to help you wash the cars, and a bake sale requires money to buy the baking materials.
An event doesn’t necessarily have to be in a physical location. If you have a large network spread out across the country, it might also be helpful to create an online fundraising campaign that you promote through word of mouth and social media.
The following platforms make raising money via a social media campaign easy, but be aware of the fees they charge:
The best approach to raising your funds will likely be a combination of direct solicitation, events and online outreach. Consider directly reaching out to those in your life who you know are willing to donate and have a close relationship with you, while using the events to engage the broader community in your network.
Keep in mind that there are many reasons people might not donate to your cause, and don’t take it personally or negatively. If someone isn’t able to support your fundraising efforts financially, perhaps they can help spread the word about your online campaign or event.
Sometimes, it is a matter of following up, especially with online fundraising. With so many emails and social media feeds that compete for our attention, a friendly reminder or check-in might be all that is needed to start seeing your fundraising efforts succeed. No matter what, always thank your community for their support of your journey, regardless of if they can provide money to finance it.
It is very important that you thank everyone who gave money to provide you with the experience of a lifetime! In addition to saying “thank you” immediately to anyone who made a contribution to your program, it is a good idea to follow up with an additional thank you once you return from your travels as well.
Here are some creative ways to show your community you appreciate their support:
In an age where everything seems to be online, never underestimate the power of a hand-written thank you note. While photos, videos and travel montages are exciting, being able to say a personal and genuine “thanks” to show your appreciation is priceless.
Plan ahead for your thank you ideas so you can be sure to get the footage or photos you need while abroad. However you choose to show gratitude, remember the impact that this experience had on you and the generous friends and family that used their time and resources to make it a reality.
Alongside personal thank you notes and gratitude collages, it is also worth considering giving a presentation once you return. By sharing what you have learned about a culture, language and yourself, you can inspire and educate your community. You can also use this opportunity to say thank you to groups or local organizations that helped you fundraise or your travels.
Showing gratitude for all the support you’ve had in reaching your goal is important, but don’t forget to give yourself a high-five as well. You are on your way to a life-changing travel adventure through your hard work and fundraising efforts!