How Volunteering Can Help Raise Fund for Poor Nations?
You may ask yourself “why should I have to pay to volunteer?” Unless you are going through a government organization, like the Peace Corps, you will probably be required to pay a program fee. Because you will require accommodation, food, emergency health insurance, transportation, and in-country orientation, most volunteer agencies charge a fee to cover program costs. Fees also go to cover staff salaries and project contributions. Air fare, visa and passport requirements, and program fees can all add up, however, there are several ways to fund-raise for your trip abroad.
First things first, create a budget – outline costs of plane tickets, a passport (if you don’t already have one), and a visa. Ask your volunteer agency to send you a break-down of the program fees so you can see exactly how much you are paying for accommodation, food, transportation, etc. Then, create a blog or website. Explain to your readers exactly what you are doing, where you are going, and, most importantly, why you’re doing it. Discuss the issues faced by the people you are going to help and your goals for the trip.
Talk about the project and its impact on the local community. Focus on fundraising for the results of your project and not the trip itself. If you are going to help with a clean water project in Africa, do not focus on the cost of air fare or supplies, but rather the fact that when the project is finished, the people will have filtered drinking water or a new community well. Invite your friends and family to read your website or follow your blog. Include your itemized budget, how much money you have raised already, and how much you have left to collect. Create a special Paypal account and put the link on your blog or website. People reading can click on the link and donate to your cause via the internet.
Take on a second job to help save money. This could be anything from working at a restaurant or bookstore on the weekends to pet/house sitting. Designate all funds from your second job to your trip. It may seem like a full schedule, but remind yourself of your goals and the fact that you won’t have to work two jobs forever. You may also delegate a certain amount or percentage of your regular paycheck to your volunteer opportunity. Update your website/blog regularly and inform readers how much you have raised yourself. Seeing you work so hard for your journey may inspire others to help you out.
Look around your room/closet/house. See anything you’ve had for years but don’t use or forgot you had? Sell it on Ebay or have a garage sale. I used to horseback ride, but have long-since given up the hobby. I gathered my boots, helmets, grooming kit, show jackets, and riding pants, took pictures of them and put them up on Ebay. While I didn’t sell everything, I sold enough to make over $300. Have friends help you organize a garage sale one weekend. Put up banners or signs stating all the proceeds go towards your volunteer experience.
Churches and services clubs (such as The Rotary Club or The Lion’s Club) are hugely supportive of volunteer excursions. Arrange to speak in front of your congregation or at a club meeting. Bring posters, photos, and brochures. Make a 15-20 minute speech on your cause, your goals, the issues and challenges faced by the community’s people, and how your contribution to the project will help them. Have a jar or envelope available to collect donations. Give contributors a brochure with your website or blog address so they can keep up with your endeavors and fundraising achievements.
Hold a fundraising party. Make posters about your project, create leaflets with your website/blog address, show a film or documentary, and serve food specific to where you are going. Send out invitations ahead of time telling friends that you will be having this party to spread awareness of your cause and to collect donations. Make sure everyone receives a leaflet so they can see exactly where their donations are going.
Write down the names of guests and the amounts they gave so you can send a thank you note later. Instead of receiving gifts for your birthday/graduation/holidays, ask for monetary donations or for supplies you may need on your trip. Ask relatives for a loan and create a payment plan so you can pay them back over time. Get in contact with others who have volunteered abroad to ask advice on other fundraising ideas. Ask your volunteer agency if they have any advice as well.
You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of raising money to go overseas; however, given enough time and creativity, one can successfully fundraise to help cover costs. Get your friends and family involved, as they will surely support your desire to volunteer your time and skills to help others. Create a website and carefully track donations. Speak at service clubs and churches and host a party to spread awareness of your mission.
Once your trip is fully funded and you’re on your way, send thank you notes, photos and updates to those who helped you accomplish your goals. They will love to keep up with your work and feel good about helping such a great cause.