Our Favorite Tips to FUNdraising Your Way Abroad

Our Favorite Tips to FUNdraising Your Way Abroad

One of the biggest barriers to travel abroad is affording it – but Greenheart Travel has several resources. While we do offer scholarships every year, most Greenheart Travelers are able to go abroad by fundraising. Or, what we like to call… FUNdraising (Get it?)!

Check out our recent webinar here on FUNdraising or read on below for the summary!


We want to share our favorite tips, but first, two important reminders:

You better make a plan and stick to it.

Fundraising is a long process, and one that requires much diligence and perseverance. Fundraising is better achieved by setting concrete, attainable goals – and sticking to them!

For example, try something like this: “I will fundraise $1,000 over the course of six months to help pay for my Teen Summer Language Camp in France program. I will do this by organizing one community dinner per month with the goal of raising $100 per community dinner, selling used items at garage sales and on websites like Ebay to raise $200 during the first three months, and for the final three months I will sell my photography to earn the final $200.”

Wow, that’s a plan for success!

You’ll have to plan in advance and make hard choices, too. It’s not always going to be fun to have to skip out on a concert or an outing with your friends, but keeping your end goal (TRAVEL!) in mind makes it easier.

And leave your excuses at home.

As long as your fundraising goal is realistic and attainable for your situation, you shouldn’t be making any excuses as to why you can’t achieve it. Giving up? Concluding it’s “just not possible”? That’s easy! But following through with your plan takes drive and determination, and those are the same skills you’ll need to have a successful travel abroad program, so why not start early?

Greenheart Travel alum success story: Jessica, our 2018 scholarship winner and alum of the Teen Elephant Conservation Program in Sri Lanka, collected recyclable bottles and cans to earn money!   

So now that you’re in the right mindset, here are our favorite FUNdraising tips!

1. Host an auction

Even if friends or family can’t donate money to help you pay for your program, most will have other items they don’t mind donating for an auction, such as gently used bikes, a week at a time share or time, such as “30 minutes of tutoring” or “an hour of free legal consulting.” If you never ask, you’ll never know!

2. Have a specialized bake sale

Having a bake sale may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but you can put a new spin on it but making it tailored to your program. Going to Japan? Make your own mochi and advertise like mad. What about if you’re headed to France? Ever heard of croissants?! Yeah, they’re yummy. And please, don’t get me started on flan, the Spanish desert we just can’t stop devouring.

By making desserts from the country you’re headed to, you can learn more about the culture, teach friends, family and strangers about your future residence and earn money in the process.

3. Sell gently used items

You and your friends might have gently used items you’re dying to get rid of! Ask friends and family if they have any clothes, house goods, or even the most random of gadgets they no longer have use for. Take quality photos of the items, make a convincing description and sell them on sites like Etsy, Ebay, Poshmark and OfferUp. You’re making money, helping your friends AND contributing to a world with less carbon footprint.

4. “Task Rabbit” yourself

Have you ever sat in your room, dreading the thought of putting up the painting you just bought? Well, that’s what the application Task Rabbit is for! That app connects willing helpers (“taskers”) with people who need help doing random things – think mowing the lawn, raking leaves, delivering packages to the post office – all the things people don’t want or don’t have time to do. So, that’s where you come in!

Even if task rabbit isn’t available in your area, think of skills you have or anything you’re willing to do. Tutoring? Homework help? Give personal training classes? The opportunities are endless.

5. Sell art or post cards

If you have a knack for photography, pick your five best shots and make post cards out of them. Encourage friends, family, or community members to buy them and send them to friends near or far. Postcards are a great way to remind someone you care about and are thinking of them!

6. Don’t be afraid to directly ask

Asking for money isn’t easy, but often it’s the simplest way to get it. Before you do, have a clear reasoning in mind for why your Greenheart Travel program is important for you and your future. Make them an offer they can’t refuse! For example, “Going on Greenheart Travel’s high school abroad in Argentina program will demonstrate to college admissions offices at University of Chicago (my dream college!) that I am the independent, mature leader who will be a successful student.”

7. Community dinner events

Hosting community dinners has been one of the most successful fundraising events for Greenheart Travel alum. Pick a dish you know people will love – who doesn’t love spaghetti? – and invite everyone you know. Get the ingredients donated by local businesses or wholesale grocery stores to cut on start-up costs and ask attendees to give a small donation, such as $10. You’ll be able to talk more about your upcoming program, and spend time with people before your trip.

8. Get sponsored for a “____-athon”

If you’ve ever heard of a marathon, triathalon, eatathon – a you name it – you know that there are people who will sponsor your endeavor. If you plan to run 10 miles, ask for $10 for each mile you run from various friends or family. Pretty soon, that will add up. Want to eat 15 hamburgers? (Hope Pavich might have done something similar…) Ask for $5 for each hamburger you successfully gobble up!

9. Babysitting

There are lots of critters who have parents who are eager to have a babysitter every now and then. Ask friends, family and neighbors, and even consider posting flyers in community bulletin boards. Or, post an ad on sites like SitterCity or Care.com.


Looking for more? We also have a guide for fundraising and tips for saving that you might find helpful. Many past participants have had success fundraising including Jaime who wrote a wonderful blog about the unique way she paid for her program abroad.


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