Unlock the secrets of how to raise money to volunteer abroad—without losing your mind!
If you’re looking for something more meaningful than the regular, old tourist adventure, you need to volunteer abroad! Volunteering abroad gives you the opportunity to learn about local issues, and more importantly, be a part of meaningful solutions. Volunteering abroad leaves an impact long after the trip is over. By working closely with the community, you will experience local life in a very different way from the average visitor. It’s an exciting way to see the world and also help those in need!
There’s just one liiittle problem: once you add together flights, program fees, travel insurance, and a little extra cash for fun, the costs can add up very quickly. Well, here’s the good news – there are tons of tried and tested volunteer fundraising ideas for you to try! Anyone who has volunteered abroad will say you shouldn’t let your finances hold you back from the trip of a lifetime. It’s hard to put a price tag on what might be one of the best experiences of your life! And when you consider the fact that other people will also greatly benefit from your volunteer trip – well, it’s a no-brainer! Here are some of our top tips on how to raise money for a volunteer trip abroad.
10 ways to raise money for a volunteer trip
1. Take advantage of a fundraising platform
This is where FundMyTravel can help! FundMyTravel gives travelers a platform to host a travel fundraising campaign and collect donations. Using a fundraising platform like FundMyTravel makes your campaign more accessible, gets your word out there, and makes your volunteer fundraising efforts look way more legit. If you’re wondering how to fundraise for a volunteer trip, your first step should be getting on a fundraising platform. One of the benefits of FundMyTravel is they only host travel related fundraisers. This means that your fundraising campaign won’t get lost among other types of fundraisers. Having an online campaign centralizes your efforts and makes it easier to collect donations. It provides donors with all of your information (as well as a CTA to donate!) all in one place. Just make sure to write a compelling pitch!
2. Spread the word on social media
Ah, the magic of social media. There’s no better way to get your message to the masses in this day and age. If creating an online fundraising campaign is your first step, then sharing it on social media comes as a close second. Your family and friends are your greatest support network – and that also applies to raising money for your volunteer trip. Many of your donations will come from people you know, and one of the best ways to reach them quickly is through social media. You can’t have a successful fundraising campaign if no one knows you have a fundraising campaign. Without question, awareness is your best friend when raising money!
3. Start a “challenge”
Speaking of social media: nothing gets people fired up like a challenge. No, it doesn’t mean you have to go viral, but feel free to take some inspiration from these viral fundraisers! Realistically, your challenge doesn’t even have to take place on social media. The moral of the story is: if you have a fun way of spreading your message, more people will pay attention. Starting a challenge gives people a reason to contribute beyond just handing over some money. Get your friends involved and give them a more creative reason to contribute. Hold a contest, make up a goofy activity, or challenge yourself to something new!
Free money? Yes please! There are tons of scholarships and grants for those who are passionate about volunteering abroad. There’s just one catch: many are very competitive. You will definitely have to learn how to craft a compelling application. Every good application starts with a clear reason for why you are choosing to volunteer abroad.
To have the best chance of success, start small and work your way up. The first place to look is within your community; you may have a better chance of winning local scholarships and grants. Then, work your way up to the big cash. Get ready to write a lot of application essays—just as with a fundraising campaign, you want to be clear about your goals and objectives, and hopefully, the dough will start rolling in!
5. Pick up odd jobs
Everyone has a side hustle nowadays! The best way to find yours is to figure out what your community needs, and fill that niche. Some easy ways to start include: pet sitting, tutoring, gardening, or using apps such as Uber, TaskRabbit, or PostMates. If you have a hobby or skill you can monetize, that’s even better! You might as well try to have a little bit of fun while you’re at it. There are so many options to earn a buck or two – maybe it’s not always fun or glamorous, but every dollar brings you closer to your fundraising goal. If you have the extra time and you’re really committed, picking up a few shifts at a part-time job gives you the consistency to maximize your savings.
6. Leverage gifts
Birthdays and holidays just became a lot easier for your family and friends! Use gift-giving opportunities as an outlet for raising money for volunteer trip. The best way to do this is to let those around you know in advance that the best gift you can receive is cold, hard cash. It’s not like you needed another gift card anyways! There’s no better birthday present than knowing you are one step closer to your dream volunteer trip.
7. Organize a fundraising event
There are tons of possible ideas! A bake sale, themed dinner, car wash, trivia night, or even a full on fundraising gala (just to name a few). Do you or any of your friends have any interesting talents? Host a talent show! This is a great time to use any community connections you may have. For example, if you have any family members or friends with a unique flair for baking, or an interesting space you can borrow one night for an event. Hosting an event draws a lot of attention to your fundraising efforts, and it’s fun for everyone involved. An event gives your donors a sense of community, and gives them a tangible experience, all while supporting you!
8. Ask for time, not money
We’ve talked a lot about how to raise money for a volunteer trip, but that ignores one real-life situation: not everyone has the means to donate money. And that’s totally okay! A donation doesn’t have to be monetary. In fact, some of the most meaningful donations you can receive are not monetary at all. Loved ones might choose to donate their time to help you fundraise. From as small brainstorming volunteer fundraising ideas and sharing a social media post, to as time-consuming as helping you plan an entire fundraising event, you should make sure you are appreciative of your loved one’s efforts. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and also make it known that you welcome these efforts as much as money. It all brings you one step closer to your goal!
9. Sell your stuff
How much stuff do you really need? When was the last time you wore that jacket? Or used that old game console sitting in your closet? You know where this is headed—these are tough questions that you have to ask yourself on your journey towards learning how to raise money to volunteer abroad. Turn that stuff into money! Hold a garage sale, consign some old clothes, and sell your old electronics. Unless you’re a total minimalist, there must be something in your house you can sell – and all those little “somethings” can really add up! If you have a gift for crafting, you can even create products to sell to friends and family.
10. Get sponsored
Some companies offer sponsorships for goodwill endeavors. Companies sponsor volunteer efforts because it is an advertising opportunity that makes them look charitable. Lucky for you, it also helps you raise resources (it’s a win-win!). This means that for the best chance at success, you should get into contact with companies that have CSR goals that align with the goals of your trip. When reaching out to companies that sponsor volunteer trips, make sure you have an idea of what you want from them. Money is always great, but you can also request donated products and services (eg. donated food or school supplies).
Learning how to raise money to volunteer abroad is a no-brainer
Money is one of the biggest barriers that prevents people from volunteering abroad. Flights and program fees alone can cost thousands of dollars! With such a steep price tag, it can feel daunting to figure out how to raise money for a volunteer trip. With these volunteer fundraising ideas, you should be on your way in no time.
When you realize how many options there are to fundraise for your volunteer trip, it makes affording a volunteer abroad trip look much more doable. Beyond being a memorable thing to do for yourself, you have to remember that the purpose of a volunteer trip is to help others. So there’s no reason not to go! These tips on how to raise money to volunteer abroad will make sure you get on that plane for the trip of a lifetime!
This article was written by Jasmine Harding. Jasmine recently graduated from Western University with a degree in Media, Information and Technoculture. She lived in 5 different countries before she turned 7 years old, but she claims that none of them “count” since she doesn’t remember them. She can’t wait to actually live in 5 different countries. In her spare time, you can find her playing with cats or watching food documentaries on Netflix.