Trying to figure out how to fundraise for your ME to WE Trip? We’ve got the tips you need to turn your dreams into a plane ticket.
By Amy Van Es
Listen, we get it. You want to pack your bags and head out on a life-changing adventure, but you need to fundraise to afford going global. Without doubt, fundraising can feel like a big task. Put aside your worries; we got you.
True, it takes planning, creativity and putting yourself out there to earn donations for any cause—don’t let this intimidate you. In the end, all your hard work will translate into you sitting on a plane, travelling overseas. And, think of this: aside from the big impact you’re sure to make once on the ground, you’ll have filled up your bag of tricks with more than a couple handy new skills after organizing a successful fundraiser.
We’re here to help. Like everything you do with WE, there is a whole community—stacked with resources—eager to support your efforts. Did you know about 40 per cent of volunteers who sign up to join a trip fundraise to get there? You’re not alone.
Just ask the Trips team. Never has there been a group more excited to do their job than this team; and, lucky you, their job is about how to get you travelling. After pouring over all the logistics, this clever bunch have come up with a program chockful of easy-to-access, incredible resources to ensure that 1. you get to your destination and 2. by the time you’ve boarded the plane, you’re strapped in, stress-free and excited for your journey ahead!
It’s as simple as registering for our fundraising program. From here, your inbox will become a constant source of information and inspiration. You’ll get sent workbooks to help you stay on track, webinars, exciting updates about the amazing journey you’re about to embark upon, and—of course—cheers of encouragement!
After that, follow these five steps to fundraising success, topped up with a couple insider tips from our favourite fundraising guru at WE, Amanda Zamperin.
A little bit about our expert. Amanda became passionate about the power of trips and fundraising after raising money for her own trip as a teenager. She believes people from any walk of life should be able to volunteer overseas and have the life-changing experiences travel offers. That’s what makes the program she’s developed so wonderful, it truly proves where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Now, onto the starter steps!
This step is about tackling that feeling we all know too well; how overwhelmed you feel right before you’re about to do something huge. This is the point where you stop staring at the cost of the trip on a piece of paper and begin to see it as the end goal of a manageable plan you can see through.
First, let’s take the cost of your trip and break it down to figure out exactly how much you’ll need to fundraise. Consider things like if your parents are going to contribute any funds, how much you have in your savings, or if you have a steady job that will continue to feed the pot.
It’s not all about crunching the numbers, though, this is also the stage you’ll want to get to know your trip inside and out. The reason? A confident sell. You want to be comfortable speaking to potential donors about your trip and—most importantly—why you want to go. Focus on your purpose; thoroughly understanding your “why” will excite and inspire others to help you.
Amanda’s insider tip: the sky’s the limit.
“I’m teaching [participants] how to diversify their fundraising portfolio – how to have your hand in all the different fundraising buckets at the same time. [Example:] set up an online fundraising page right away. It’s a super simple step”
Time to roll up your sleeves and get creative! Begin this step by coming up with ideas that will help you reach your fundraising goal.
Think about your greatest strengths as resources to get the job done. Are you passionate about arts and crafts? Maybe you want to make a product and sell it to contribute to your bottom line. Or, if you prefer to spend time in the kitchen, a bake sale could be the thing for you.
You likely have lots of ideas, so narrow down which fundraisers make the most sense for you and get the biggest bang for your buck doing things you enjoy! Check out the chart above to see how your individual fundraising efforts weigh against their gains… meaning funds earned!
Amanda’s insider tip: know your value.
“Both parents and the kids often don’t want to go around knocking on doors asking for money. But I think offering value in exchange for a donation really brings in all the different dimensions of fundraising. It really is social entrepreneurialism rather than asking for money, you know?”
Fundraising doesn’t happen overnight, so you’re going to need a plan. This will serve as a blueprint detailing the steps you should take and how much time you’ll need to execute each task. It’ll take work, but having a clear plan will provide a lot of comfort when every stage of your fundraiser is laid out before you.
Grab a white board (or a big sheet of paper) because it’s time to map it all out on a calendar! Check in with the people who can help you—parents, friends, teachers—and start penciling in key dates and deadlines.
Amanda’s insider tip: the many faces of fundraising.
“A lot of people think of events first when they think of fundraising. This is your coffee houses, trivia nights, battle of the bands, or dodgeball tournaments. These are really great, but I always caution kids to not overreach. Events have a lot of moving parts, but [on the other hand] you can really pull in a good chunk of money on them. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. One of the misconceptions people have is that they think fundraising is like putting their hand out and asking for money. They don’t initially realize the creativity is all part of the fun! It captures everything from having coin wars or a jelly bean count at school, to cleaning out someone’s garage or babysitting. Things you can do yourself to raise a couple of extra bucks!”
Time to bring your fundraising plan to life! You know your why, and you mapped out the what, when and where for your top fundraising ideas, the next step is tackling the how.
This stage of the game is all about perfecting your pitch and zoning in on the individuals you need to make things happen. Need a friend to volunteer their time? A library to donate a meeting space? A local restaurant to contribute gift certificates? It’s all possible if you can get them pumped up about your fundraiser.
And remember, during this phase, the schedules of others may affect your own (the big plan mentioned above); don’t worry, tweak as needed—this is a group effort! That’s why you wrote it all out, so it would be easier to navigate necessary shifts.
Nervous to get out there? Don’t worry, most people get a bit skittish at the idea of asking someone for fundraising help. Practice what you’re going to say in the mirror or with a loved one before hitting the pavement! It’ll boost your confidence. Above all remember, you’re inviting someone to be part of something amazing—something that’s important to you. People get that. And, should you get a “no” here and there, forget about it. You have the Trips team to help you conquer challenges. Keep your eyes on the goal and stay motivated!
Amanda’s insider tip: be an entrepreneur.
“You can also sell a product to make a profit—this is for those with an entrepreneurial spirit! We’ve had kids do so many really exciting and creative things. Knitting, making ornaments or bath bombs, handmade soaps and candles! All kinds of really fun stuff. I mean, literally anything under the sun [can become a great product]. Rafikis are another [opportunity]. We have Trips Fundraising Rafikis you can buy for 50 per cent off. That’s another really great way to make a profit.”
The power of personal connections should never be underestimated!
The people who donate to your fundraiser are an active part of the movement you’re contributing to through your volunteer trip—the movement to help better the world. Keeping them updated on how you’re doing with your fundraising goal and sharing when you’ve achieve it is really important. Write thank you notes, make in-person visits, or set up a blog to keep donors updated before, during and after your travels.
After that, all that’s left to do is pack your bags. Be excited, adventure awaits!
Amanda’s insider tip: make the most of partners and sponsorship.
“Fundraising isn’t one-dimensional. There are so many ways where you’ll actually be offering value in exchange for a donation. With sponsors, you could put their logo on a t-shirt during one of your events, or take photos [for social media] and give them some advertising. As part of the program, we have customized reference letters signed by Marc and Craig that you can use for potential businesses or donors that you’re engaging to support your trip.”