As experienced travelers, we know the costs entailed can be intimidating, but we also know that the personal growth and cultural gains of going abroad are priceless.
FundMyTravel was created for travelers, by travelers, in the hopes that more people will have the opportunity to discover their own meaningful travel experiences around the world. In this guidebook, we have compiled some useful articles, tips and ideas on how to boost your fundraising campaign. These ideas come from successful and experienced fundraisers and will help you get the most out of your FundMyTravel experience.
Always remember that in the end it's up to you!
If you are determined and motivated to go abroad, you will find a way to prioritize your efforts and make the time for working on your campaign. Donors and your viewing audiences will stay engaged and interested just as long as you are, so have fun with it and make it exciting for those tuned in to help you go abroad.
Make A Video
When you first create your campaign, you might put up only a photo, until you have time to make a personal video, but be sure to go back and upload one as soon as you can. You can use the camera on your laptop or even a smartphone to share your story and mission with everybody.
What's most important is that you leave an impression on your audience that inspires donations!
- Campaigns with personal videos increase their success odds by more than two times!
- Images are good to share also, but a video builds trust and helps donors feel a more meaningful connection to the campaign faster.
Try dressing up for the climate and environment, which you plan on traveling to or create a background that resembles your destination and it's culture. You can play local music, show your audience some images of the places you will visit, then tell them about what you will be doing there and why it will be meaningful for you personally. The question you want to address is why should a donor invest in your experience?
Remember to get creative and have fun with this project!
Write Your Campaign Description and Keep It On the Positive
When you're writing your campaign description, consider what would inspire you to give to someone else if you were looking at a friend's campaign. Sometimes, it seems like a good idea to explain why you need funding support, but that's not necessary at all. 'Sad' stories about why it's hard to afford going abroad aren't the type of thing that people are interested in reading and it doesn't often move people to donate to travel campaigns.
Supporters of your campaign want to know that you are going to make it worth their time and effort to contribute. They want to hear from someone, who is motivated, hard working and determined to get abroad.
So keep it on the positive,
and focus instead on how great of an opportunity this is in front of you!
- Explain why you want to go on this trip and how you will grow from it.
- Talk about what you will be able to do with your funders' support, where you will go, what you will get to experience for the first time and how it will be meaningful, for you and others!
Do It Differently!
If you have never raised funds for another cause, then it may feel uncomfortable or awkward to ask your friends and family for money. You are in luck though because fundraising is very different from simply asking for handouts.
The key difference is that fundraising is actually about an exchange...
Incentives or 'donor rewards' are a creative way to engage your audience with your campaign because it helps donors feel more connected to the cause when they receive some type of reward or acknowledge for their support.
For everyone that donates $10, you can promise to send them a postcard, from your meaningful travel destination.
For those who donate $25, keep a video blog for them and record a verbal shout-out including a message of thanks.
If they donate $100 you can provide supporters with the two previous rewards, and some type of souvenir from your destination.
It is up to you how you want to create your incentives. Some people make Tshirts, write songs for their donors or share the experience with them through travel blogs. We've even seen "traveling gnome" ideas. In this case, for people who donated $10 to the FundMyTravel campaign, the fundraiser promised to take a picture at their destination place, holding the donor's photo there also. That way, her supporters could feel like they were abroad and part of her experience too.
See an example of the giving levels that this campaigner made and attached to her page. Incentive schemes are a fun way to make the campaign more exciting for donors, but be sure to only promise donor rewards that you are able to fulfill.
They don't need to be expensive or too time consuming, just meaningful.
Don't feel shy about sharing your campaign page frequently, because that is the only way people will see it. Writing personal emails and including the link is one way to share and this is sometimes even more effective than posting a million times on Faebook and Twitter. An individual message is more personal for the donors but the absolute best approach is to make a combination of personal message writing and social media sharing. Be smart about using the Updates section of your campaign. You can include photos in this section and offer new communications often; then you have further reason to share you campaign over again.
Remember that your initial donors will likely be from your core group of family and friends. In the early stages of your campaign, focus on earning the support of these people first because they know you best, personally and can later endorse your campaign for other viewers. When strategizing your campaign efforts, it may help to break down your audience for outreach into tiers:
- Tier 1 - Family and Friends
- Tier 2 - Friends of your family and friends
- Tier 3 - The General Crowd
You can ask these groups to share your page with their own networks and gather more awareness for your campaign. It is also a nice option for friends and family to support you this way, in case they are not in a position to donate financially. When extended networks see that you have the backing from others, it provides them with more confidence and interest to donate to your page, too.
One of the most influential ways to promote your campaign is by sharing it on social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The news-feeds on these platforms refresh often, so you’ll want to keep audiences engaged by sharing new Updates and plan to post about your campaign page, daily. It is important to share frequently on social media but you don’t want to be ‘spam-like’ with your posts. The best way to approach this is by customizing the content of your post and by always making it personal.
- Be sure to acknowledge the people who share, like and comment on your posts.
- Make use of the sharing tools directly from your campaign page to spread the word about your Updates and travel plans too.
Fundraising is about building and maintaining relationships, which makes consistent communication and engagement especially important. One way to build trust with your donors is to share the sense of community that you build up during your campaigning efforts. Allow your networks to feel that, through their support, they can become part of your travel.
Be sure to respond to your audience’s comments, status, tweets and email messages. Thank them after donating to your page or even if they just shared your campaign across social media.
Write Updates about your trip planning and any time you get closer to reaching your fundraising goal. Sharing these Updates about your campaign progress will encourage more donors to give because people want to be involved, when they see the project becoming successful.
You can share these new updates every few days or so to let people know that your campaign is developing. Don’t forget to share those Updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Email!
Reach out to Extended Networks- Be Brave!
This campaign is a great reason to expand your current network and display your initiative for future connections. If you are traveling to Spain, reach out with a personal message to the Spanish Club on campus or a local Spanish Culture community center. Find Spanish Speakers Associations or Spanish Education Organizations using LinkedIn and other online resources. Inform them about your desire to learn about the culture through an immersive experience and tell them about the incentives you’re offering for donors. They might just have a project that they need support with and you can help one another. You never know who will be interested in your campaign, until you ask.
Complete your FundMyTravel Profile and Campaign page
Your Profile section is designed to let people know who you are and what your travel plans are, but it also helps to build trust and confidence within your network of donors and supporters. On the Bio field, you may want to describe your inspiration for traveling, any previous cultural experiences that left an impression on you, or even just a bit about your life and what drives you to go see new places!
An empty Profile is unsettling for potential donors and can cause sincere doubt if there is a genuine person behind the campaign, so be sure to create a completed campaign and profile section in order to gain more interest. Having a photo and including social media or blog links within the profile section makes your campaign page more reliable and engaging for your audience.
Continue your community engagement after the campaign and during your trip
Great FundMyTravel campaigners continue to communicate and get in touch with their supporters while they are abroad.
- Teaching in the Philippines?
- Traveling in Brazil? Share that photo of you doing Capoeira.
- Studying in Paris? How about a snap in front of the Eiffel Tower for all of your friends and family who shared your campaign?
No matter where you are, keep in touch with your supporters, help them feel connected to your trip and illustrate your gratitude in creative ways.
By keeping your networks connected with your travel experience, you build a community of people who are interested in watching you explore and grow from going abroad. Who knows, they may even be moved to continue supporting you on your next journey and travel campaign.
The best way to develop ideas for your fundraising incentives is to take a minute and reflect on what you are most passionate about.
Find a way to incorporate your greatest interest into the campaign and it will be a win, win, WIN.
This way, you continue to stay motivated on reaching your goal and sharing the campaign out. If you love photography, make that a major part of your fundraising! Engage more donor interest by incorporating something you love, and then you will also enjoy putting your own time and effort into a project that is sure to inspire. Show the world you are capable of making this trip a possibility and you will end up showing yourself, that you have an impressive character to be proud of.
The skills acquired through online campaigning and fundraising are skills that you can take with you and showcase to future employers. Any organization is going to be interested in a student, intern, volunteer, or other type of meaningful traveler who has already taken the initiative to raise the funds needed, in order to develop a cultural and global perspective.
- Communication and understanding when dealing with diverse audiences
- Social Media management abilities and multimedia understanding
- Online platform understanding and ecommunication skills
- Hard working, determined and motivated to seek opportunities
- Interests in cultural sensitivity and international education
- Ability to motivate others, network and raise essential funding support
- Host a bake sale and designate proceeds to fund your travel.
- Host a dinner party for all friends and family who have donated to your campaign.
- Have your own dinner or dessert party, screen your campaign video & request donations.
- Create customized baked goods for friends’ birthdays or other events.
- Tell your networks about games & competitions. Ask them to donate for every win or milestone you hit and make a short shout out video, dedicating the win to them.
- Sign up for a marathon, tough mudder, triathlon, pie-eating contest, dance-o, anything! Keep your audience informed about the event and get donation pledges for your wins.
- Host your own competition and get friends to help! It could be a contest for the biggest collection of loose change donations, a Bowl-a-Thon or even a board game tournament.
- If you like to sew, knit, crochet or bead jewelry, make gifts in return for donations.
- Musicians and writers can host their own concert or poetry slam for contributions.
- If you’re good with jingles or stories, offer to write something for your contributors & make a video for them to share with their own networks, and help spread the word.
- If you like painting, drawing, pottery or wood-working, host your own gallery on the weekend and sell your creations for travel campaign donations.
- Rake leaves, shovel snow, mow lawns or tutor for tips.
- Get friends together to host a talent show for donations.
- Babysit or nanny for contributions to your travel campaign.
- Talk to local cultural groups and businesses who might help you sponsor an event or even your trip, in exchange for volunteering or supporting their products/services.
- Update your campaign followers about volunteering opportunities you will commit to for contributions.
- Ask friends what kind of smart but silly dares they would donate to see you perform.
- You could set a certain goal amount to reach before offering to shave your head, wear your clothes backwards for a day or document a series of headstands in fun places.
- Dress like you are stuck in a certain decade for donations,
- 1950 once you reach $50,
- 1960 once you reach $60,
- 1970 once you reach $70,
- 1980 once you reach $80, etc.
- Go for a karaoke or open mic night with pals and sing the worst song or the longest solo for laughs and donations.
The fundmytravel team is happy to be of assistance, wherever you need it. Feel free to follow and reach out to us on social media for additional quick tips or travel information and if you have a specific question pertaining to your own campaign, please email the query directly to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your campaign title, so that we can provide the best assistance possible.