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Funding Your Dream Voluntary Trip

Posted: 18th May 2017 08:51

Having the opportunity to volunteer aboard can be one of the most exciting and thrilling adventures you will undertake.  But, before you start mapping out your travels or packing your suitcase, you need to consider the financial costs of your dream trip.  If you are travelling with a volunteer organisation, inventively raising funds will generally be a requirement, and if you are getting it alone, you will still need to find the cash.  Initially, the idea of fund raising can present itself as an unattractive speed bump in an otherwise exciting plan. 

But, funding doesn’t simply have to involve working late nights at the local pub or wiping tables at first light in Starbucks; funding a trip can also be fun!  If you stick to the mantra, ‘every little helps’, you will soon build your funds.  The key to successful fundraising is consistent smaller events, rather than blowing all your resources on one huge event; it will be a total waste of time if it is unsuccessful.  Additionally, if you have ambitions to enter the charity and volunteer sector, this experience will be invaluable on your applications.  Thinking of original ideas can be a hurdle, so we have done some of the work for you... 

Rock Out!

One of the best ways of raising money is through utilising the creative resources around you.  If you’re a student, head to the music department and gather eager musicians to put on a stage at a local venue; if you’re lucky, you may only need to persuade your friends.  Ideally, target your local pubs, café’s, cultural spaces, student union venues and bars.  Plug the event on social media and via printed material, and on the night charge a small entrance fee.  You can maximise your funds inside, when the drinks are flowing, by including raffles, auctions and asking your friends to wander around with donation buckets. 

Spring Clean

Everyone has stuff they don’t need or no longer use so turn these into money. Rummage through your house and gather any unwanted items and sell them online on sites like Ebay or Music Magpie (some will take a cut of your sales and others won’t).  Old clothes, game consoles, bikes and gadgets go down well.  Ask your family and friends to have a quick look as well to increase your stock.  They may not bring big buck, but they will certainly bring your total up and free up some space. 

A Helping Hand

There’s no hiding it, some people are just lazy!  Therefore, why not take this opportunity to boost your funds.  Set up a Facebook page and offer your services to fellow students to do their chores for them; clean their dishes, tidy their rooms, wash their cars, even grab their shopping.  Trade this for small amounts of cash and pop it in a savings jar.  You’ll soon have the whole campus asking for favours.  Even if you have a part-time job, you won’t make excess of £10,000 in a year, so don’t panic about taxation. 

Family Fun Day

Some of the best fundraising events are those that excite and engage the public.  A ‘Family Fun Day’ is a great way of injecting some fun and games into your fundraising tactics.  Choose a suitable outdoor location (always ask permission) and host sports activities, food stalls, arts and craft stalls and miniature markets; utilise the skills of those around you to make it varied.  Sell tickets in advance for a discount and promote the event on social media and stick posters around town to guarantee a great turn out.  Always check with the local authorities what legalistic requirements you may need to meet. 

Get Your Sweat On

Get your blood pumping and use sponsored sports as an exciting way to raise money for your trip.  Set up a social media campaign on Facebook or Twitter and get people to sponsor you for running, walking, swimming, cycling a certain distance; the further the better!  A half-marathon, a swim-athon, a 24-hour hike or a 10 mile rowing challenge are both a personal challenge and a great creative fundraiser.  The further you go and the harder you push, the higher the sponsor. 

Pub Quiz

Why not fund your trip in the comfort of your local pub or student union bar.  Most people love a pub quiz, especially after a few drinks, so take advantage.  Charge a couple of pounds per person and publicise the event on and offline to attract teams.  For prizes, approach local business, especially independents or the venue you have selected, for great donations or raid your closet.  Award these prizes for the most inventive team name and for the winners; these could include shopping vouchers, bar tabs, a bottle of wine or a meal for two.  Max your funds by sending around donation buckets.

Blind Date

Nothing beats innocent and hapless attempts at a romantic evening.  Organising a blind date event is a great way for people to meet one another, have a laugh and for you, raise some cash.  Charge a pound or two to enter and give each participant a personality form to fill out.  The more self-deprecating and funny the responses to questions such as, ‘what is your best dance move’, are to be encouraged; this blind date should not be taken too seriously.  Gather all the forms and pair people up, meet in the student bar to introduce everyone and then send them on their way!

Save, Save and Save

Ever imagined how much money you could save in a month if you avoided Costa for your morning caffeine fix, dodged the pub on week days or cycled instead of using public transport?  By keeping track of your weekly spending habits and purchases, you may be able to find some areas to cut back on.  Gathering up your spare change rather than spending it on sweets, magazines and the occasional cheeky drink can also put a little dent into your funds target.  Why not ask your family and friends to save their one and two pennies for you as well. 

And If All Else Fails…

If none of the previous fundraising tips are proving successful, then a part-time job might be the answer.  You may have to adjust to early mornings and late nights, as well as balancing a degree, but it won’t last forever.  Even if you can only manage one shift a week in a coffee shop or a local restaurant, overtime your funds will increase; don’t forget the tips as well.