Paige F. is a 20-year-old sophomore at Appalachian State University. She participated in the Loop Abroad College Veterinary Service trip in 2014. She loves exotic animals and traveling and hopes to attend vet school at Louisiana State University. Her favorite part of the trip was the lantern ceremony on the last night in Chiang Mai because she felt it was a memorable way to end an unforgettable trip.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Henry David Thoreau
Fundraising was a key part of my trip. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to adventure to Thailand. In total, I raised about $1,500 toward my trip through a combination of writing fundraising letters, sharing an online fundraising page, and selling t-shirts.
The best way to start your fundraising journey is to figure out how much you need to raise. Never set your goal lower than you approximate; if anything, set it higher. This tactic shows people that your trip is expensive and they are more willing to give if they believe your goal cannot be reached without their help. It also makes sure you don’t end up short of funds.
Loop Abroad offers fundraising tips for you to use that help you brainstorm some possible ideas. The first and foremost important thing you should do is get the word out ASAP. The sooner you tell people about your trip, the more time you have to reach your goal.
Start with a letter. Write a letter describing your trip and a detailed explanation of what you will be doing during your time in Thailand. Explain to them that this trip is to benefit you in some way and explain to them how. For example, I plan on being a veterinarian; therefore, the trip I chose gave me the hands-on experience I need to increase my chance of getting accepted to vet school. Send this letter to anyone and everyone! I had people donate to me that I never would have guessed. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask; this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Advertise, advertise, and advertise some more! Create a Facebook page dedicated to your trip and invite friends to like the page. Keep them informed of your progress, fundraising events, etc. so that they feel included in your trip. Set up a GoFundMe account where people can donate online so it goes directly to your account. To those that do donate, send them Thank You letters so that they will be more willing to donate in the future.
One of the most helpful things in my fundraising was my sister selling T-shirts for my trip. She bought the T-shirts in bulk and we sold them to raise money for my trip. Let your mind be creative in ways to raise money. Some other ideas:
1) Throw a Birthday party/Themed party as a fundraiser.
2) Quit a dirty habit and have people sponsor you.
3) Ask for a company to match what you raise.
You might also host a fundraising event. Talk with your local restaurants about their “spirit nights” or fundraising events. Most restaurants give a percentage of their proceeds on these specific nights to the event that hosts them. Another idea is something as simple as a car wash: donate all of the proceeds to your trip. Set up a display (trifold, etc.) to show everyone what their money is going to at each of these events. Those that are informed will be more willing to give.
Last but not least, after your journey, inform those that sponsored you of your trip. Share with them that the donations they put forth made this trip possible. Include your favorite moment, a picture, etc. to give them a visual understanding of the success of your trip.