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Raise Money to Volunteer Overseas, Fundraising for Volunteering Overseas
By: Natalie Andrews (justin) 2012.04.01

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Working with a variety of organizations in 7 countries, BaseCamp offers tailored volunteer training and mutually benefiting placements. Volunteers work in schools, social and healthcare programs, building projects, as well as conservation work with wildlife. Travel with a purpose. See website.


Lend a Hand in a Foreign Land

Paying for Your Trip: How to Raise Money to Volunteer

This summer, I witnessed unspeakable poverty, extraordinary acts of generosity, and a foreign culture became treasured and loved. Recife, Brazil, where I taught English for three weeks as a volunteer with i-to-i (, was the site of many life-changing moments.

This was not a vacation, and it was not a cheap trip taken on a whim. Like most travelers, I was definitely on a budget - a college student's budget - and I never really thought going abroad was possible. Until I learned about fundraising. It wasn't easy, but I raised a little over $1,000 for my trip. Here's how I did it:

ONE: Go local. One of my biggest donors was a business that had donated to my high school while I was a student body officer. They remembered me, and even did the dirty work of calling their corporate offices to get a donation. Staying local also helps because smaller, private businesses don't usually have to cut through so much bureaucratic red tape.

TWO: Be creative. I prepared a folder of information about Brazil, the community center, i-to-i, and myself. Anyone reading the packet would get to know me personally and feel connected (through strategically written cover letters) to the project.

THREE: Get organized. I kept a spreadsheet of contact information and interactions with the businesses I approached. When things seemed like a mess (and they will when you get a lot of requests out!), I could open the spreadsheet and know at a glance what was going on.

FOUR: Know the program. I called i-to-i frequently, asking for information and pictures that would help me become an expert in all aspects of the project. I researched Brazil and Recife individually - the culture, customs, and industries - so I knew exactly how my work there would benefit the community.

FIVE: Don't give up. Odds are, you'll face more rejection than success. Only twice did checks arrive in the mail without a second phone call. The rest came after careful reminding and persistence - one of the managers had me call him ten minutes before his corporate meeting so he wouldn't forget to ask on my behalf.

SIX: Talk to everyone. I asked my orthodontist and the place where I got my oil changed. Make a list of potential donors - and then double it. If you ask enough people, you can afford a lot of rejection and still meet your goal. One of my biggest donors - and my biggest surprise - was the dealership where I'd bought my car. It's encouraging and surprising how many people want to help you help someone else.

For more info on volunteering, visit our volunteer abroad page

Photo by i-to-i

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Student Travel Europe, Global Travel, Paid Internships, Volunteer Overseas, Youth Hostel