I am going to begin by stating the obvious. Raising money for a trip is hard. And getting your friends to commit money to you, so you can see the world, is daunting and uncomfortable. But if I can do it, so can you. Here are 10 tips that helped me raise over $15,000 in under thirty days for my trip in Nepal.
1. Start with a cause. People aren’t often comfortable with the idea of giving you money so you can experience a new city. There has to be something more. You need to do something that benefits people outside of yourself. When you are planning your trip, make sure to find an activity that allows you to give back to the local community in tangible and meaningful ways. Use this cause as leverage when you reach out to people in your network and request cash.
2. When you find your cause, tell the story. So you decided to go to to the Philippines and help rebuild a school that was damaged by the Typhoon. There are plenty of people doing the same exact thing. The way to differentiate from those people is to tell a story that is specific to the community you are serving. Reach out to people at the organization you are volunteering for. Ask them about the number of students at the school. Ask them the effects these damages have had on students and their parents. Have them tell you stories about one of their students in particular. And then retell a story to your audience that blends data with a personal story. This customization will set you apart. And it will be a compelling reason for your friends to step in and help you.
3. Go the extra mile with your FundMytravel account. It is typical for people to set up a FundMyTravel account and then tell 20 of their friends about it. But that isn’t enough to make serious traction as you attempt to raise funds. When I ran mine I provided daily updates on that platform to inform my donors about our progress and plans. I reached out to each donor to thank them for their donation. That personal touch coupled with transparency created trust with my network. And it in turn created a network effect that resulted in more people learning about my plans. As soon as more people learned about our plans and progress, more people donated to it.
4. Use Facebook as a vehicle for communication. Most people on Facebook have hundreds of friends. These friends are close to you. When I was running my campaign, I reached out to each one of my 700+ friends to ask for help. Not only did I ask them for a donation, but I asked them if they would kindly share our campaign on their page. It was shared over 1000 times. This resulted in a lot of money funneling into our campaign. Start with your close friends to get the ball rolling. And then reach out to the rest of your friends and convince them why they should help.
5. Use Facebook post boosting for more exposure: I know what you are thinking. This sounds like a bad idea. Advertising costs money. But it can also make you money. And it is exactly why so many people and businesses do it. If you create a post on Facebook, boost it for a few dollars to increase your exposure. Instead of reaching 100 people you can reach 1000’s. Use Facebook’s targeting feature to determine your audience. You can target your friends, your friend’s friend’s, and people in your area. Stay inside of your network to maximize your campaign results. It is very likely that more than eighty percent of donations will come from people you know.
6. Create live videos using Instagram story and Facebook live. Videos humanize you and your brand. They show the rawness of you. And we all know that authenticity sells. Create short video’s on Facebook live and Instagram story to tell people about your trip. Tell people where you are going and why. Tell them about what resources you need to get there. Explain what the outcomes of your work will be. Share the stories of the people who have been affected by this work in the past. Also, it is completely free to use! Do this once every few days and you will see results.
7. Make sure to use pictures and videos as much as possible. People are inspired when they SEE the potential for impact and change. Use videos or pictures from the organization that is facilitating your trip. Or you could use personal photos that describe work you have done in the past to help others. Prove through those photos and videos that you are are serious about making a difference. If you can prove your commitment and passion, then more people will want to find ways to help.
8. Commit some of your own funds, so people know you are all-in. It isn’t enough to raise outside money for a trip. You need to be all in too. And all in means using a part of your savings to help fund the trip. Let your friends know how much of your own funds you are committing. When they see that you have skin in the game, they will know you are serious about the cause. They will then feel more inclined to supplement your fundraising efforts.
9. Reach out to local media, and get them to write a story about you. When I was in the middle of a crisis in Nepal, I had people reach out to me from my home town. They represented news outlets that were locally based. I agreed to doing an interview that was later turned into an article. The article was a success. And there were a lot of people from my local community who stepped up to the plate to assist our efforts. Public Relations is a great way to establish credibility with your community. It gives your friends a reason to be proud. When your friends are proud, they support you by sharing articles and your campaign.
10. Be persistent. Again, I am stating the obvious, but persistence should never be overlooked. Stay connected to your friends and extended network throughout the process. They need to know that you are there for them. They need to know that you remain committed to seeing this through. And it doesn’t stop when you go on your trip and come back. People want to see how their money was used. What was the impact? And how can that be articulated to the community that went out of their way to support your endeavors? Take pictures and videos. Write blog posts and journal every day. Share the stories that you earned from your travels. Make sure those are widely heard. Because when they are heard, more people give and they give more often.
Travel changes you. It gives you the opportunity to change other people. And that is exactly why spending 30 days hustling to raise funds for your next adventure is worth it. So stay focused. Call on your friend’s and family for help. And use these 10 tips to help you surpass your goal. Good luck as you venture out into the world. And remember, to get good you first need to do good.
About the Author:
David D’Angelo is the founder of www.jackofallfares.com. As a social entrepreneur who has traveled to over 25 countries, David is passionate about humanitarian work, travel and the outdoors. David has been recognized by Echoing Green as one of the world’s most disruptive social entrepreneurs. He writes for Matador Network in his free time.