How to Creatively Fundraise to Volunteer Abroad

By Danielle Sapah-Gulian

Let me tell you how I used creative fundraising strategies to fundraise my whole trip to volunteer abroad with GIVE Volunteers.

 

It all began in 2016, I attended a GIVE Volunteers info session at my university. I went into that info session unsure of what I would learn. The minute I sat down, I knew my life would change forever. Seeing the impact GIVE left on not only the world but on the past volunteers, I walked away undeniably inspired. I left the info session absolutely beaming with excitement and enthusiasm.

But, when I saw the cost of the trip, I felt a little discouraged. I was a sophomore in college, I didn’t have a job, and my parents surely wouldn’t fund my trip. Initially, I thought there was no way to I could make this happen, but I knew I had to. I decided to take matters into my own hands and started researching ways to fundraise.

Fundraising ideas typically include bake sales, gofundme pages, and writing letters to friends and family. All these ways to fundraise are great, but I was looking for creative fundraising ideas that I could have fun with. So, I got to work and made something to sell that I knew people would get use out of.

I came across the idea to make Himalayan Salt Scrubs. With the holidays coming up, people needed gifts for their friends and family! So I bought some bulk mason jars, got a big mixing bowl, dumped a bag of Himalayan salt into the bowl, poured in some coconut oil, and added a few drops of essential oils. Next, I placed the mixture into the jars and went straight to marketing on social media. I took marketing photos of my salt scrubs and made a fundraising post. In my post, I explained what I was fundraising for, how important this journey was to me, and how much I would be selling the salt scrubs for. I sold each salt scrub for $5. Starting off, sales were slow. A few family members here and there bought some, but I wasn’t selling enough.

I knew I had to do more to get my product out there in order to raise money for my trip. Next, I found selling group pages on Facebook that had people who lived in my community as members in the group. Additionally, I did presentations in the chapters of Greek organizations on campus. And of course, asked all of my friends and family to share my posts about my mission and salt scrubs online.

After months of promotions, adding new scents, sharing on social media, and constantly posting, I ended up selling enough salt scrubs to not only pay for my trip in Nicaragua, but to pay for my flight, and spending money! This fundraising experience reminded me that if you want something badly enough, you can work to make it happen. My passion to volunteer abroad drove me to make all the effort needed to make it a reality.

Now I am using my fundraising strategies to travel again with GIVE! Currently, Nepal is in my sights for summer. My new fundraising initiative is making Gem Soaps to fund my trip! Check out my instagram story here! To best appeal to all target consumers, I’m making my soaps Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free, and Palm Oil Free. And also adding a customizable option by allowing people to pick whatever colors they would like. With shipping soaps all over the US, I already sold enough soaps to pay for my flight to Nepal!

When it comes down to it, anything is possible. And yes, that price for a GIVE trip can be intimidating, but paying for it by fundraising is very realistic. GIVE offers so many helpful tools and suggestions to fundraise for your trip. Another great way to fundraise is getting involved with or create a student group on campus. The student group I am a part of spends most of our time helping future GIVErs raise funds to go on this journey of a lifetime. If there is one thing you take away from this, let it be that you can do this. If you work hard and get started early, you can make your passion to volunteer abroad a reality. Anyone can successfully fundraise for their international trip, so head over to Pinterest to get some creative ideas and go for it!