Volunteering as you travel is a wonderful way to see the world, learn more about different cultures and ways of life, and really make a difference to the lives of individuals in the countries that you visit. Volunteering abroad is an incredibly worthwhile thing to do, both in terms of the help and support you can provide to communities in need, and your own enrichment and development. However people are often surprised by just how costly choosing to volunteer abroad can be: volunteers are generally responsible for funding their airfare, their accommodation costs, and any other living expenses once they arrive. In fact, organizing a volunteer travel experience can often be just as expensive as organizing a leisure vacation abroad. If you are keen to volunteer abroad, but aren’t sure how you will pay for it, here are a few tips on how to fundraise for your volunteer travel experience:
Set Up a Website
Peer fundraising websites have exploded in the past couple of years, with many wannabe volunteers finding huge fundraising success by detailing the reasons that they are fundraising and their volunteer aims in order to reach a wide range of potential donors. Sites such as GoFundMe are amongst the most popular, and also allow you to interact with your donors, as well as offering social media integration for easy sharing: Your fundraising efforts may even go viral and you could find that you have the money you need to take your trip much sooner than you think.
Have a Garage Sale
From the most modern form of fundraising to one of the most traditional, but hosting a garage sale is still a wonderful way to raise funds for your trip. As well as selling your own unwanted or unneeded possessions, you could also ask friends, family, and supportive neighbours to donate other items for your sale in order to maximise the amount of money you can raise. Post large signs advertising your sale around the neighbourhood, and make it clear that you are raising money for a volunteer-abroad experience: this may well encourage more well meaning local residents and neighbors to attend your sale in order to support you and your fund raising efforts. If you prefer virtual fund raising then selling the items you acquire on eBay will have the same effect.
Speak to your Church
If you are a person of faith then why not arrange to make a presentation at your local church, temple, or mosque outlining your plans to volunteer abroad and what you hope to achieve. Set up a website on which you can share photos of your trip and updates about your experience so that your church can follow your journey with you. At the end of your presentation, most communities of faith will allow you to ‘pass a hat’ or ask for donations to help you to fund your trip in other formats: if you are a regular church attendee then it is likely that your community will want to help and support you.
Get a Job
One of the most regular and reliable ways to ensure a regular income is to find a temporary full time or part time job: this will enable you to save a set amount towards your volunteering experiencing each month, and it will also show to those groups that you are asking for donations from that you are also working proactively to raise the funds you need of your volition.
Make Savings Where You Can
It seems obvious, but it’s important to be as organised as you can in order to ensure that you spend what funds you do have for your travels as frugally as you can. After all, it would be a shame to invest so much time in raising the funds you need only to spend them wastefully. One of the biggest saving tips is to plan your trip well in advance and book your airline tickets as soon as possible: air fares are generally cheapest as soon as they are released, and as tickets are sold and the plane fills the price will increase. The earlier you can purchase your ticket, then, you cheaper it will be: important when this is likely to be the single most costly aspect of your trip. There are other travel essentials that you will need you can also use to make savings; It is essential to have a good level of travel insurance coverage whenever you travel abroad, for example, but by shopping around and finding the most affordable providers, you will be able to save money on these other expenses too.
No matter how you intend to raise the money you need for your trip, or spend it, planning ahead is key for organising your fundraising efforts and ensuring that they are a success, and for ensuring that you can take the volunteering trip that you have been planning as soon as possible.
“5 surprising benefits of volunteering”, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/03/19/5-surprising-benefits-of-volunteering/
“Top ten tips to fundraise your volunteer travels”, Go Overseas, http://www.gooverseas.com/blog/top-10-tips-fundraise-your-volunteer-travels
“Protect Your Health”, Q, http://www.quotezone.co.uk/health-insurance.htm
“Why do people volunteer- our top twenty reasons”, i-to-I, http://www.i-to-i.com/why-do-people-volunteer.html
The benefits of volunteering”, The Idealist, http://www.idealist.org/info/Volunteer/Benefits
“Funding your volunteer abroad trip”, Coyote Communications, http://www.coyotecommunications.com/stuff/fundingabroad.html
“Volunteer and service: volunteer abroad for free”, GoFundMe, https://www.gofundme.com/Volunteer-Service/