Interning abroad with African Impact is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. However, I know that raising funds is an incredibly daunting process. It is a TON of work, but I will also be the first to tell you that it is not impossible.
With a little persistence, I was able to pay my volunteering fee and airplane tickets without having to pay any money out of my own pockets. Support is out there for you. Many times in places that you wouldn’t expect! I quickly found out that my community was beyond grateful and supportive of African Impact’s cause, and not only willing, but excited to help me with my future career aspirations in any way they could.
Through the long process of organizing dinners, silent raffles, presentations and letters requesting donations, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel!
1.) First things first, before you begin fundraising you need to realize if this is something that you truly want. Raising funds is not a small task, and might take months of planning. Working with African Impact has been the opportunity of a life time, and worth every effort of work I put in to get here. However, be prepared to be challenged on many different levels, and pushed out of your comfort zone.
2.) Once you have decided this is something you really want, you can dive in head first! Targeting local foundations and business organizations that will support volunteering abroad programs is a great starting point. I was very fortunate to have connections through relatives, and teachers that pointed me towards organizations that would be able to make or match donations. It is incredibly advantageous to make use of the connections that are already available to you.
3.) Don’t hesitate to open a webpage for people to make donations. Put the link on your social media pages, and have friends, relatives, and co-workers share the post. Every small donation gets you closer to your goal, and signing up with websites such as GoFundMe, FirstGiving, and fundmytravel are free and take very little of your time.
4.) Ask everyone for donations. And I mean EVERYONE. Restaurants, wineries, grocery stores, coffee shops….the list goes on and on. It seems intimidating when you first start, but the worst that will happen is that the businesses will simply say no.
5.) Be personal and enthusiastic about your trip. When it shows that you are excited the potential donor will becomes excited as well. Communicate your passion for the cause and make sure the potential donator knows how exactly their donation will be used. It helps if you prepare what you are going to say beforehand by creating a mini presentation ahead of time. This way you will be confident throughout the process.
6.) Host events such as a dinner! Contact restaurants, venues, or even your local school to see if they would be willing to offer you a discount, or even donate their space for you to use. Also contact local restaurants and catering businesses to see if they would offer you a discount on food, or be willing to donate food. The sky’s the limit! Have friends and family help you organize fundraising games. These dinners take a bit more planning but seeing all your hard work come together, along with all the outpouring support from the community is extremely rewarding.
7.) Lastly, don’t be afraid to advertise. I made flyers for my fundraising event and posted them EVERYWHERE-Restaurants, schools, bars, coffee shops, grocery stores, malls. I also think it is a very wise investment to post in your local school newsletter and newspaper. It is a small fee to buy space in most local papers but I believe it was worth every penny (and not just because I am a marketing intern). I could not believe the large amount of people that showed up that I did not know. They would tell me that they saw my article in the paper, and thought it was a wonderful cause to donate to! I was absolutely amazed, and blown away by all the support.
Hopefully this post will give you some valuable insight. Fundraising takes a lot of organization and dedication. However, when it is all said and done, it makes your adventure so much more rewarding when you finally arrive!