Yesmeen had a deep desire to partake on a world wide volunteer project for six months to serve on six different projects, in five different countries. She knew she wouldn’t be able to raise the funds for this endeavor on her own and decided to use FundMyTravel to fundraise for her cause. Yesmeen ran a very successful campaign on FundMyTravel raising 104% of her goal totaling $12,433! We interviewed her to find out what her secret to success was.
How did you find out about FundMyTravel?
When I was inspired by people in the community to crowd-fund I obviously went straight to Google to look for a platform to use. I have many friends that have used various crowd-funding platforms and the one I was most familiar with and had seen around, has a lot of campaigns funding medical-type expenses. Since I am not one to choose the “popular” route, that I like to shine light on the smaller up and coming platforms, and I was doing a volunteer/serve based trip, FundMyTravel seemed to be the best fit for my campaign.
Were you satisfied with how the platform supported you?
In the beginning, I was a bit stressed considering there wasn’t a customer service number to reach out to when I had issues. However, along the way the FundMyTravel team responded to my emails promptly and I was shocked when they added things for me on my campaign page. For example, when I was listing my expenses, there were several areas I needed to elaborate on. This wasn’t an option at first so I reached out to the team explaining my dilemma. The team listened to my concern and added an “info” logo to highlight over in which I could explaining what the expenses were for in further detail, which was so helpful. I learned a lot as I went along realizing that the platform is great and has room to grow. My “needs” will most likely be experienced by others which will lead to long term change on the site, which is always looking for ways to improve.
How did you stay motivated during your campaign?
The whole process was a roller-coaster ride of emotions and experiences. I knew in my heart this was a “calling” I was supposed to fulfill so the feeling was different from something I “chose” to partake in and create. I would work on my project all day, go to work in the evening and be so motivated and pumped that I would return from work and get back at it until 1-2am! I had a short time frame to pull this off so my brain was running non-stop. I’ve also created an incredible motivational board on Pinterest that really kept me strong along the way. You can see my board on Pinterest.com and search for me @ LovingLife328.
What is your advice to potential crowd-funders?
Move from the heart. Be open. Watch for miracles. Honestly, I think it is important to asses your reason for wanting to do what you are about to do. I feel the more passion you have the more others feel it and are inspired by it. Work hard and trust that what will be will be. Don’t “sell” to people! I can’t stand that feeling! I never ASKED a single person if they would donate. NOT ONCE! Was I scared I wouldn’t make my goal?? Of course, I went through waves of doubt and then I would get an email from an anonymous person and that would be my affirmation to keep going. I knew the only way this campaign would be successful is to simply share. I couldn’t force anyone to click my link, watch my video let alone pull out their credit card and donate. I knew that this had to be from the heart and only those that felt it in their heart would support. Be organized, ask for help and get friends/family and the community involved, explore other blogs, expect the unexpected and go with the flow. Oh, and don’t forget to laugh when it all seems like too much!
Did your trip turn out as you expected it would? What surprised you?
I went in with ZERO expectations. I obviously knew I was going to be in (blank) country in (blank) month and what project I was doing etc. The things that were unknown were many and I just rolled with it all. If I had an expectation of the project itself, the organization (never really organized), the housing and all of the little things that came up, I would have gone nuts. I just let it all unfold.
What surprised me was being in a place for the first time and being completely uncomfortable (language barriers, culture, transportation). You learn to be very aware, and listen to your gut, which saved me many times. I was surprised by how much inspiration I received along the way, to do creative things at each project, and give back in my own way. For example, I love painting my nails. In Vietnam I bought several shades of pink polish and painted over 60 nails of kids of all ages from Project #1, Victims of Agent Orange. The look on their faces was priceless and it melted my heart. I just followed my inspiration… You can read more about that day here:
How does this experience affect your future? Do you have more travel plans?
What does the future hold? That is the mystery. This is an experience that will never leave my heart and soul. It is part of me forever. Whenever I go back and read my posts, my eyes tear up. It puts me right back there and I am still in shock of my ability to pull it all off! A book looks like it will be created in the near future and possibly leading youth “out there” to do social good!
Traveling is part of my soul and I will continue it forever. My first trip was to India in 2009 SOLO. Whoa, what a ride that was. It absolutely blew my mind and definitely challenged me. Traveling also teaches you a lot about yourself, how you react to good and bad situations as well as cultural norms. You become a better person, humble, patient and definitely open-minded.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
I have managed to find a lifestyle in the Colorado mountains in a seasonal town that allows me to fulfill this passion of travel and to meet other like-minded travel bugs. This gives me an “off-season” to get back out there, to explore, to live my dreams and passions, to share and to inspire.