Billy Beltz, Co-Founder & CMO – Volunteer Forever, shares tips on how to raise funds for your volunteer travel. Volunteer Forever is currently the only online crowd funding platform entirely dedicated towards volunteer travel.
Volunteering abroad is a fantastic way to travel and see the world while using your skills and time to help a community in need. And beyond providing positive benefits to the host community it can also be a source of personal transformation. However, it can often be very expensive to participate in this meaningful activity. If it’s a financial obstacle that’s holding you back, there’s good news to share: At Volunteer Forever we’ve created a simple and effective online fundraising solution to help you raise funds for your trip.
The Volunteer Forever platform allows you to create a campaign page to tell your story and convey your fundraising needs in a simple yet powerful way, and then promote the campaign to your extended network. You’ll be able to reach more people than you ever would have through traditional fundraising methods and make your dream tip a reality!
The first step is to create a campaign page on Volunteer Forever.
But creating your page is the easy part- the success of your online fundraising campaign is determined by what you do afterwards.
Here are 6 tips to ensure you optimize your fundraising campaign:
1. Tell A Compelling Story
As you’re setting up your fundraising campaign, the most important thing you must do is tell a compelling story. Each person has their own motivation for volunteering overseas, but it’s important to communicate in your fundraising campaign description why you’ve decide to engage in this form of meaningful travel. Also, talk about what you plan to do while you are abroad- whether you’ll be teaching English in Africa or serving on a medical mission in Peru – be sure to highlight how you’re going to add value to the host community. Furthermore, describe why you need the funds. Those of us experienced with international volunteering know that it can be expensive, but your potential donors may not know that you have to pay a program fee, travel insurance, and airfare (all of which can easily add up to thousands of dollars).
2. Share Your Page
There’s an art to crowd-funding and it starts by tapping into your core network. Think for a second and jot down the 10 closest people in your life. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, close friends- these are the people you should engage first in asking for a donation for your volunteering abroad crowd-funding campaign. These people know and trust you and will be comfortable donating to your cause. Once you’ve done that it’s time to begin sharing your page with your extended network including, friends, past teachers, co-workers, community members, or even just people that you know on a Christmas-card basis. A good first step is to use the “Share” widget on your campaign page to promote the page through email, Facebook and Twitter. Those are often the quickest ways to get the word out, but don’t stop there! Think of other channels you use to communicate with people including phone calls, text messages, other social media accounts and anything else available to you.
3. Ask Your Contacts to Share Your Page
Don’t limit your outreach to just people you think have the money to donate. One of the most powerful benefits of our crowd-funding platform is that it makes it easy for others to share your page and reach an exponentially larger network. So when you share your page, ask people to share it with their contacts as well! If you don’t ask they may not even realize how they can help. And the more specific your request is the more successful you’ll be.
4. Create Blog Posts
Use your blog section to tell the full story of your volunteer abroad trip and keep everyone updated of your progress. Are you doing anything to prepare for your adventure? How do you feel about your upcoming trip? Write a post about your training regimen or research work. Blog posts also give you new content to post through your social media channels to remind people about your campaign.
5. Thank Your Donors Publicly
People love recognition and this is your chance to give them well-deserved praise! Make it public so that everyone can see that someone has contributed to your campaign- this will help get additional donations from others. Also, when you thank your donors make sure to ask them to help you spread the word among their contacts as well.
6. Keep Sharing!
Your campaign will only be successful in raising funds if you continue to share your campaign everywhere you can and often. People may need several reminders before they take action, and they may not have even seen your other requests for donations. And use your campaign timeline to create a sense of urgency, especially towards the end.