How will I get the money to start?
How will I get the money to get started?
If independent fundraising is the way that you would like to go, we recognize the associated challenges and have therefore put together a list below of helpful suggestions. We would be happy to help with any of these.
The message we are sending to you is: DO NOT let economy stop you from pursuing the program/your dream further. We honestly believe there is a solution - if YOU have the will.
List of suggestions to independent fundraising:
1. Make a list of everyone you know. Don't leave anyone off. You never know who might be willing to help you achieve your goal. The more contributions, the better, so consider expanding beyond your inner circle of close friends and immediate family members. The cardinal rule of fundraising is that if you don't ask, you won't get anything. Who do you know? Ask anyone and everyone you know and even those you don't know to contribute to your cause.
Mail them each a personalized letter informing them of the opportunity you are about to embark on. Explain your goals and reasons for volunteering and how their donation will make an impact.
Keep it short and simple. Keep your letters to one page. Too much information can alienate a potential donor.
Ask for a specific amount of money. When you say "contribution", some people are thinking $5, while others are thinking $500. Tell people how much you want. Let them know the total amount that you are hoping to fundraise. You may even want to outline the cost per day of your program (divide your total program fee by the number of days you will be overseas). Established, professional people often can contribute more money than those who are students. Don't be afraid to ask your more established contacts for $100, $200 or even $500.
Convey a sense of urgency. This limits their time to forget about giving you a contribution.
Make it convenient for them to give you money and get a commitment for payment rather than a promise. Say, "If you don't have the money now, why don't you post-date a check?" or ask them to fill out a sponsorship form and then get back to them at a designated time. You can even have them make their contributions via Pay Pall at www.iicd-volunteer.org .
Give incentives. Write a thank you letter and include a printed list of your supporters' names. Host a small open house before you leave to publicly recognize and thank your supporters.
Promise a presentation upon your return. Offering to give a slide show upon your return is a great way to secure funding from religious organizations, civic groups, alumni associations, and educational institutions. Tangible evidence of your actions abroad helps people understand where their dollars have gone. Pictures of you working overseas can be good reminders of how their money made an impact.
Always follow up. You have to get on the phone with a small business, a civic or religious group, and your friends and relatives to let them know that you really do need their support. One follow-up call can make the difference between their sending a check or pushing the request to the back burner and never getting to it.
2. Canvass your neighborhood and inform your area of the volunteer work you would like to participate in. Let them know the cost and see if they are able to help you out in any way.
3. Contact local churches. Although IICD is not directly affiliated with any particular religious organization, your church may be willing to help because most churches support works of compassion around the world.
4. Contact your Local Township or government. They may be able to put you in contact with scholarship or grant programs.
5. If you are in college or graduate school, contact Alumni and inform them about the program and see if they can help you out or know others who might help you.
6. Teachers are always willing to help. Whether or not they supply money, they will be able to spread the word about your actions and can possibly help you meet the right people.
7. Apply for a grant with the government or a corporation. Consult the Foundation Directory in order to apply to companies that specifically lend money for your particular program.
8. Local businesses are far more likely than large corporations to make a contribution to your cause. The key is to make a link between the owner and you or someone close to you. You may want to approach the business with a letter first, enclosing all relevant materials and a pledge form, and then follow up with a phone call. We know of one volunteer whose program was funded through a grocery store. In turn, the store was pleased to have the publicity.
9. Service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and Optimists, fraternal organizations such as Elk and Moose clubs are excellent sources for fundraising. The best call-to-action is to make an appointment with as many clubs or organizations as possible and agree to present a 10-15 minute project about IICD and Humana People to People. Contact as many clubs as possible in your area. Many clubs have breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings where you can ask to make a presentation. This is your chance to tell and remember you are not asking for money for a vacation. You are asking for a donation to do volunteer work overseas and to make a difference in the world. Also let them know you are willing to come back and show them a Power Point when you return.
After the meeting, write a follow/up letter thanking them for letting you speak and get back to your request for money. Be specific about how much money you are requesting and how it will be used. A total of $200- $400 is probably reasonable.
10. One of the traditional ways to raise money is through bake sales, arts and crafts sales, candy sales, garage sales, etc. Do you know someone who is a great baker, an artist, or a published writer? Ask them if they might donate their creations to you so that you may put their proceeds of the sale towards your program.
11. Raffles are great for groups raising funds, as opposed to individuals. Often groups can get items donated to them from local stores, companies, and restaurants, which they can raffle off, usually at a larger event such as a dance. Use the "Who Do You Know" principle. If there are no large items to raffle off, sometimes groups auction off each other for a days work.
12. Sell your services! Go door to door and see if they need help for an afternoon and agree to work for a predetermined sum of money.
13. Organize and implement a partnership with a volunteer organization or hospital. Set up a booth or table with information about your program and agree to volunteer in exchange for donations.
14. Many students not only contact local organizations, universities, and alumni for funding but also put on presentations for the boards of those organizations. Putting a personal face on your work is often the key to success.
Important: As you receive donations keep a written log of who sent them and how much they were worth. It will be useful to have a spreadsheet as a way of tracking your fundraising goals.
Fundraising places you in a position to stand up for the good of humanity, in opposition to those who find development work useless. In addition, you are providing an opportunity for those who do care; who do wish to contribute to your endeavor. You are providing an outlet for people who may not know where to start looking for causes to donate to. Fundraising should be viewed as an educational tool for you and your community and treated as such.
So let's make it happen.