One of the first questions I am always asked is, "Do I have to raise money to work with IDEAS overseas?" And I reply, "Yes, but it's not nearly as scary as you might think!"
At IDEAS, most of our short- and long-term positions require personal funding (don't worry, we have fundraising coaches ready to help you!). And while raising funds may not sound very glamorous, it is crucial in helping you build your own support system while alleviating any costs for your project and host community. And most importantly, it allows others to be involved in what God is already doing.
So, how do you tackle it? It takes planning and perseverance but you'll be amazed at the results! Here are six tips for funding your trip with IDEAS:
- Organize your list of contacts. Your second cousin? Write him down. Your previous boss with whom you left on good terms? Put her on the list. Think of everyone you know and include them. This will help with sending letters, postcards, emails, or invitations to fundraising events.
- Be clear in your communication. Know about the project you are joining, the host community, the impact you hope to have, and your specific financial needs.
- Take advantage of technology! Use social media, start your own blog or website, or create your own YouTube channel that talks about your project overseas.
- Host an event, hold a garage sale, or whip up a bake sale. Or find other ways to turn an activity or gathering into a fundraising event. Ask a friend or two to help you spread the word!
- Ask your church or community group to consider giving towards your trip. This usually requires an interview or presentation and can be extremely rewarding, both financially and in building up your support system during your trip.
- Don't be afraid to ask people to give! Most people do not give towards charitable causes because they are never asked directly. That’s right - they want to be asked! You will find that the majority of your friends, family, and colleagues want to be included in what you are doing, but first you must invite them to join you!
Have you ever raised funds? What are some tips that have worked for you?
About the Author: Sarah is the IDEAS Director of Communications and Recruiting and has worked at IDEAS for 10 years and traveled to 38 countries. Enjoy other blog posts by Sarah, such as Why Should I Join IDEAS? Here's Why!