If you are one of the most brilliant and thoughtful campaigners in the FundMyTravel community, then surely you’ve read FundMyTravel’s Fundraiser’s Toolkit already, top to bottom and several times over ; ) It offers some ideas for you in developing the main campaign page, as well as some offline initiatives you can use to boost the giving potential from your campaign viewers, BUT there are even more ways that you can increase the value of this experience for yourself and others.
After all, if you’re going to put the time and effort into make a campaign like this, you may as well get the most out of it that you possibly can! Go big or don’t go at all, right? So let’s jump into a few of these things that you can do before, during and most importantly, after your travels- when the real fun begins, and you set off on your journey of a lifetime.
Keep Your Phenomenal Funders Informed and Stay Engaged while Traveling
While your campaign is largely about reaching a monetary goal in order to make your meaningful travel experience accessible and possible, it is even more so about the “exchange” that takes place between the donor and the campaigner, not just financially, but also emotionally.
Just imagine, you’ve reached your campaign goal, have come close to it, or maybe even exceeded it, but now the campaign is closed and the time has finally come to gear up for your trip. Believe it or not, this is probably one of the most valuable times to keep in touch with your campaign audience, because this is the moment that they have been waiting, ever since they contributed to your project.
Let Your Donors Experience Your Journey
They gave to your campaign because they wanted to see you reach your goal and be able to go abroad. Let them be a witness to you achieving that feat. Of course, you would have thanked all your funders by now, but go ahead and thank them again in a creative way. Send a personal message by email, Facebook, even snail mail, it makes a persons day to get snail mail.
You can keep a video diary or photo blog while you are traveling and send the link to all of your family, friends and funders ahead of time. You can even make a private Facebook group, if that’s easier for you to manage. The group will become a small community and you can post pictures, video-clips and send messages to your donors about how you are thinking of them and appreciate their support, whilst on your journey.
Share Their Story
One thing I have started doing is –ask first- but, taking portrait photos of the local people who I buy souvenirs or gifts from. Usually after they have told me their personal story- how they came to own the shop, how long they have been there, where they started, etc. It’s a great way to get to know the locals and then I can share those photos and stories with my friends and family who I’ve gotten the souvenirs for, even if it’s just a postcard or fridge magnet. Sharing the experience this way becomes far more meaningful.
This is Ali, from the antiques section of the Grand Bizarre in Istanbul, Turkey. He has worked in his little corner shop for 30+ years and his son was running the shop right across the way. His son was also former military and Ali had a photo of him in uniform on the busy countertop, filled with cups of pens, old key chains, and delicate pocketknives. When I asked my kind, new, friend for his photo, he told me, “Yes… but, wait… wait!” as he pulled the little oil lamp off of the wall next to him and struck a match, which seemed to come out of thin air, to light the lamp for full effect. This will be one of my most favorite portrait photos and travel memories, for life.
Now for After: Use the Campaign and Your Experiences To Reach New Goals
It’s easy to think that once the campaign and your travels are finished, that’s all there is to it and it’s time to close the chapter on that, but “Oh contraire mon frère!” Like we said before, get everything you possibly can out of this experience! The travel will speak for itself, for many years to come on the ROI (return on investment.) That is without question. But what about your actual FundMyTravel campaign page and the fact that you completed it?
Having successfully carried out a FundMyTravel campaign, speaks on multiple levels to your transferrable skill sets. What we are saying here is that you can actually use this as a ‘portfolio piece’ with future employers, volunteer organizations, NGO’s and many others, as an example of what you are capable of achieving.
Skills Learned from the Campaign Process
To create and complete a successful campaign, means that you have the ability to communicate with a wide audience, follow through and act on your goals, use social media constructively as well as other online tools, (e.g. video, audio, online albums, photo editing tools, etc.). Last but not least, let’s not forget the fact that you’ve learned the skills necessary to fundraise. A knowledge of how to build finances is relevant to absolutely every field of interest that exists.
I don’t want to go on too long here so if you have any questions about the best way to do this or even how to market the skills you gained through your meaningful travel experience, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the FundMyTravel team.
About the Author:
Victoria Mita graduated from Loyola University in Maryland. She spent her first academic experience abroad in Lyon, France, for which she fundraised by raking leaves, with classmates. She has valued the mission of international education ever since this first exchange. Victoria considers herself most fortunate to spend two life-affirming years working with the teams at GoAbroad.com and FundMyTravel.com. Victoria studied abroad at Monash University in Australia, worked with the Australian Trade Commission’s Education team in the U.S. and has now come full circle, working as an International Programs Representative for CISaustralia, in Melbourne, Australia. Connect with her on Twitter at FlamingoPoppins.