Many students don’t think of fundraising as a possible way of funding their overseas study experience, but there are lots of examples we’ve seen of how this can really work!
In the end, you don’t need many donations of, say, $500 (or even 10 donations of $50) in order to make a huge difference to your budget!
In the sections below you’ll find a few tips of places to go to try to raise some funds.
The keys? Plan ahead, think win-win, and follow up.
- Have a target for how much you want to raise
- Do your research for relevant organisations before getting started
- Write a plan and stick to it – you’ll need to work out what you’re offering organisations in exchange for their support before you approach them
Be realistic in what you’re asking for
- Asking for $5000 is usually not going to get you anywhere. But asking for $300-500 is possible – lots of businesses (big and small) can find this in their budgets if you can promise them something for their money!
- It’s not all about cash – think about getting ‘in-kind’ support. This is things like gear (bags, adaptors, camera equipment etc) or other support (a place to stay for free during part of your trip, transport to the airport, contacts in organisations that might provide scholarships etc)
Fundraising is not about you – it’s obvious what you’re after!
No, fundraising is about the organisation you are approaching – you need to persuade them why they should be supporting you instead of putting their money or energy into other things.
Thinking win-win is probably the most important part of fundraising. Put yourself in the shoes of the organisation you are approaching – what would be great for them? Is it a photo of their logo in front of the Eiffel Tower? Is it an article you’ve written for the local paper (that mentions them as a sponsor) or the blog article you’ve posted? Is it the fact that you’ll be at their own fundraising sausage sizzle every weekend for two months after you get back? Is it helping them out to build their Facebook Page because they don’t understand social media and can’t do it themselves?
Every organisation can use more publicity or support in some way – your goal is to work out what it is they need most and what they are prepared to give in return.
Don’t crap on!
Whether you’re approaching an organisation cold or through someone you know, keep it short in the first instance. Call by phone; ask to see a manager and have a quick chat; or put together a punchy 1-page proposal (lots of dot points, focusing on what’s in it for them).
Be succinct, respect the time of the people you are approaching and you’ll have a better chance of at least catching their attention.
If you get serious about fundraising, you’ll probably send a lot of proposals and get a lot of silence. That’s normal – people are busy and you’re approaching them on something that is not their core business (i.e. giving you money!)
Don’t be discouraged!
90% of fundraising is about following up – calling the organisation you’ve written to, dropping in to see the manager…whatever it may be. They say that persistence will be rewarded, and this is definitely true with fundraising!
Try approaching organisations of varying sizes with a range of interests – often it won’t be the obvious ones that will have a bit of spare money to send your way.
- Bendigo Bank (or your local bank branch) – if you’ve been a customer for many years, maybe it’s time they supported you back?
- Local Rotary or Lions Clubs – these organisations frequently give grants for overseas experiences
- Student Union
- Local travel agent
- Local supermarket – surprisingly, we’ve heard several stories about the local IGA funding scholarships for students to go overseas
- Local newspaper – why not offer to write some articles and send back some photos. Local papers are often looking for interesting stories outside of their regular ‘cat stuck in a tree’ offering
Individuals are also great potential supporters. Think about prominent people within your community – local politicians and business owners, or people you’ve seen in the paper.
An individual might be willing to give you a lesser amount (say $50-100) in exchange for something small – like a postcard from the USA thanking them personally that can be hung in their office, or a box of fabulous European chocolates that they haven’t had since they were 20! As for businesses, think win-win.
Finally, don’t forget family. Parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties….forget about your birthday present this year and Christmas next year, what would help more is $100 towards the cost of your flights.
Think carefully about who to ask, then go for it!