Funding your service adventure

Have you ever dreamed of volunteering in a developing country?  But couldn’t swing the cash to do it?  Join the club. 
There is a way that you can travel to the most distant corners of the earth for FREE.  And, it’s legal.  You can fundraise to pay for your trip. 
The first step is to set a fundraising goal.  You should know exactly, to the dollar, how much you need to raise to finance your trip.  You should also be able to articulate where every dollar is going.  Donors are excited to send you the hills of Nepal to build a school in a rural village.  They will not pay for your booze at the airport bar.
Here are few easy ways to raise quick cash:
1.  Create a fundraising page.
  You can use sites like ChipIn ( or Kickstarter (  Tell a compelling story on your page.  Talk about why you are doing what you are doing.  Stories and photos speak to the wallet.  Once you have your page set up, blast the site out to everyone you know. Since donors are contributing online, a small percentage of each donation will go towards credit card processing fees.  While admittedly, it’s not fun to give a small percentage to PayPal, the simplicity of donating online speaks to a wider audience and you’ll get more donations.  
2.  Use all social media tools.  Put a widget on your Facebook page.  Tweet about your cause and how to donate.  Blog about the fundraising process as well as the actual experience.  The more people you reach out to, the more money you will raise.  I once received a $500 donation from someone who I met in my travels and who noticed my cause on Facebook.   
3.  Thow a party.  Ask a bar or restaurant to donate space on a slower night like a Tuesday or Wednesday.  In return for their “donation”, you will guarantee that 50-100 people will show up on an off night.  Ask the bar if you can charge $20 (or $5, $10, whatever your audience will pay) at the door and all proceeds will go to your program fee.  Ask the bar or restaurant if they will throw in a drink special or two, ask a buddy to play some live music, and see if a local business will donate a door prize and you have a great fundraising event.
4.  Promote tax deductions and charitable matching programs.
  If you volunteer abroad through a non-profit organization with 501c3 status, all donations are tax deductible.  And, many U.S. businesses will match charitable contributions from their employees as an added benefit.  Ask your friends and family if their employer has a matching program.  Double the fun.
The Catch 22 of volunteering abroad has always been that if you have the time, you don’t have the money.  Or if you have the money, you don’t have the time.  Now, you have both.  Help hard.


One thought on “Funding your service adventure

  1. Pingback: Nepal Project Fall 2010: Frequently Asked Questions « Edge of Seven

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