Saturday, June 25, 2011
Fundraising and Volunteering Abroad
“Donors don't give to institutions. They invest in ideas and people in whom they believe.”
- G.T. Smith. Volunteering abroad can be expensive to the individual; most people use their own money to cover expenses while they volunteer in a foreign country. Especially, if you want to volunteer and you are either in high school or college, with no source of income. To decrease financial burdens on yourself, you can carry out some fundraising campaigns maybe from organizations or even from other individuals. Fundraising is not necessarily an expensive process, it’s simply a process to solicit and gather money, by requesting for donations from organizations or individuals.
As an individual you may need some key principles as to how you may approach potential donors. The first thing is that; you need to ask clearly for what you want or expect. In this regard you also need to have some knowledge towards the donors’ ability and willingness to give. With this information it’s easier for the donor to spend money on you.
As a fundraiser you have to make use of the personal approach. Remember that the more personal your approach is, then the more effective it will be, asking a person for funds face to face will be better than even giving a presentation to a group of people. Using the phone or letters to ask for funds are not effective way to go about getting funding. You are always the best person to do the asking.
Whenever you approach a new or potential donor, try and understand the donors view point. A donor being an organization or an individual does not mean that they lack personal inclinations toward some causes. Donors might have personal reasons for wanting to give or build on whatever you are interested in doing while volunteering abroad. In such a case then you need to remember that in supporting your cause then they are supporting their own causes as well. The situation may also work against you, if the cause you are working towards is one that the donor does not particularly care for. In this case then you need to be careful how you approach the donor, and avoid any mention of what may a affect the donor negatively, which may lead to the donor turning you down.
Keep in mind that fundraising is a peoples business. You need to show the donor how you are helping people with your volunteer work, show them how you are going to change peoples’ lives. You can illustrate this through photos or even some statistics, but always try and focus on a specific project where you are planning to do the most good. It will be easier to excite the donor with one particular project than other several achievements that you would like to accomplish while volunteering abroad
When fundraising remember that as much as you are asking for money, you are also selling an idea to the donor. You need to convince them to contribute to your volunteer work. Remember that you are trying to persuade people and organizations to help you, so you have to give them reasons as to why their donations to you are important, and how in some way they will also be doing some good. It will help you much if you guide the donors on your expectations, you do this through asking the donor for a specific amount for a specific item or for a specific expenditure you will have during your volunteer work.
After all this is done, thank your donors for their contributions and try and tell them how you plan to use their money. You can do this through sharing correspondence with them on how your volunteer work is coming along, and if it’s possible you can report back to them specifically how you have used the money they gave to you.