Fundraising for Your Travel Adventure Part 2: Making the Most of Local Resources
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. Let’s get started!
First Approach: Straight Up Asking For Financial Support
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:
- A little bit about yourself and why you are reaching out to this person
- What travel program you have chosen and why you think it is impactful on your future
- Your fundraising goal (be specific! If you need $2,000 by August say it!)
- How the funds will be used
- A direct ask of them to contribute to your goal
- How they can donate to you (cash, check, GoFundMe website)
- A thank you to them for being part of your community and supporting you through your life journey
You can use this sample letter to tailor your own direct solicitation.
Second Approach: Hosting a Fundraising Event
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:
- Car Wash
- Bake Sale
- Yard Sale
- Community fundraising at a restaurant
- Create a community cookbook and sell it
- Host a field day or game night and charge a fee for people to participate
The possibilities for events are endless. 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.
Appreciate Various Forms of Support
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.
Fundraising takes time and you may have try multiple approaches and events to meet your goal. Don’t get discouraged, and keep updating your fundraising goal as you move closer to your journey of a lifetime! Equally as important is to remember to show gratitude for all the support you receive along the way.
Check out our final article in our three-part fundraising series on ways to say thank you before and after your program!