First, keep these three things in mind:
- Be vocal! Tell people that you’re volunteering and that you need to raise money to help pay for the trip. Each person who knows about your goals is a potential donor. (Even if they’re not able to help financially, by sharing your story you’ll spread the mission of Utopia Volunteers and inspire others to give back.)
- Give details! Make sure your provide details on how donors can give you money for your trip. Do you have an online platform? Are you accepting cash or check? Think of how others can give to you and let them know! Also, make sure to provide multiple ways for contacting you should someone want to donate in the future (phone, email, address, social media, etc.).
- Promote! Regardless of which fundraising method you use, it’s important to spread the word to your friends, family, community, and local businesses and organizations. Use social media, internet ads, radio, bulletin boards, newspapers and community newsletters, church bulletins, etc. Do whatever you can to get the word out!
Fundraising on the web
If you’ve never looked at GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, or similar sites for fundraising, you should! These websites let you set up a profile and fundraise directly through them. You can create a campaign to tell others what you’re raising money for, and offer a token of gratitude in exchange for donations. This is a simple, easy way to fundraise that gives you an online tool to share with others. If you use multiple methods of fundraising, this option can be promoted with any others as well!
Promote your upcoming international volunteering experience on social media. Get the word out to your friends and networks and ask them to share it with their contacts. You can create a Facebook page especially for your trip — ask for donations and advertise your other fundraising efforts. A Facebook page is a great way to share project information beforehand and post pictures and updates during your experience, too!
Get into your community
Chamber of Commerce
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for fundraising ideas, or to ask for a donation to help offset the costs of advertising your fundraisers. They may even provide a donation for your trip!
Host a themed meal
Consider hosting a meal with a minimum-suggested donation to raise funds for your trip. Plan the menu around your volunteer destination. You can also use this time to share details of your upcoming project including pictures, stories, and information about UV and the destination — ask for additional donations and you may be surprised how quickly this can add up. Again, promote, promote, promote!
Go green and cash in!
Old cell phones, electronics, and printer cartridges can be recycled for cash! Set up donation boxes or offer pickup to encourage giving. There are many companies online offering this service — check out Think Recycle as an option.
If you’re volunteering as a group, or if you have a group of friends who would like to offer their support, host a car wash! Many businesses will let you set up in a parking lot and use their water hookups for free. Make sure to promote this, and tell each customer what you’re raising money for and provide ways for them to donate in the future.
Sell for support
Garage sale/Bake sale
Sometimes, an old-fashioned method of fundraising works well! Consider selling old clothes, knick-knacks, or even offering up larger items you no longer need. Others may be able to provide items for a garage sale or bake sale, as well. Remember to promote this event!
Crafts for awareness
If you’re able to create pins, T-shirts, buttons, etc., you can sell these in offices and schools as a way to both fund your trip and create awareness for the project you’ll be working on.
There are many companies that offer fundraising programs to help support your trip expenses. Research companies that offer pre-made fundraising options such as Yankee Candle, Little Caesars, and Krispy Kreme.