Over the past year I’ve been through the joyful, rewarding and exciting process of fundraising that was equally stressful, time consuming and nerve-racking. There was a great sigh of relief when I realised I had raised all of the money that I needed for my year abroad.
Fundraising is Achieveable
I had numerous events of the course of the year, but my biggest contributor was the donations I kindly received from charitable trusts. I want you to know that if you are planning on doing something similar, whether it is ICS, VSO, World Challenge or another charitable organisation you can fundraise the amount needed. It is a challenge and at times I thought, “I can’t do this” and “I’m never going to fundraise the full amount needed so I won’t be able to go” and at times I wanted to give up. However, once you get going you meet new people who can be extremely generous or they give you fundraising ideas which you can use in the future.
The Best Ways to Fundraise
- Grab yourself a pen and piece of paper and gadget that can connect to the internet. There are loads of fundraising ideas on the internet which can be used to help you achieve your goal. Make a list of the ones you would be interested in doing and then schedule when they would be most appropriate to host. For example, a Christmas walk should be held around Christmas not in the middle of May.
- Write to charitable trusts. If you are lucky you can receive anything from £50 – £1,000+. Just under half of my fundraising goal was achieved through the use of charitable trusts. I will warn you that 60-90% of responses you get will either be no response or a rejection which is extremely annoying after all the effort you went through to search for the trust and write the individual letter to them, but when you get one response that offers you some money it’s a great achivement and you know the effort was worth it.
- Have a Facebook page and create events through it. Your Facebook page can be used to advertise future events, show your fundraising progress and explain to people what you’re doing. Your page can be used to give people updates and ask them to donate to your cause. If you want to see the type of stuff you should include on your Facebook page you can have a look at mine: izzysyearinsouthafrica
- Create your own leaflet. Your leaflet can be used to send to the charitable trusts you have applied for and they can be used in events so that people can read them. I have done a blog post earlier about my leaflet which can be found by clicking here.
- Set up an online donation website. I used Virgin Money Giving but there are other options which you can use. Online websites are useful because people donate more money to your cause which means you can hit your goal quicker!
My fundraising events (to give you some ideas)
I’ll link all of the events to their post if you want to see pictures or find out more information.
- Coffee morning raised £232 (Dec 2015) – This is a great opening event as it tells your friends and family what you are doing and why so that they can attend future events.
- Historic walk raised £155 (Dec 2015).
- Game night raised £95 (Jan 2016) – This isn’t a big fundraiser but it was certainly a lot of fun.
- Ceilidh raised £750 (Feb 2016)
- Spa Day raised £80 (April 2016) – Again not a big fundraiser but every small event you do adds up!
- Curry Night raised £600 (April 2016)
- Cycling Treasure Hunt raised £180 (beginning of May 2016)
- Sponsored Cycle of the C2C raised £570 (end of June 2016)
- Botanic Garden Tour raised £200 (July 2016) – My parents luckily knew the head gardener at our local botanic gardens so we persuaded him to give a tour of his garden to 20 people whilst I made strawberries and cream to serve to the hungry attendees.
As you can see I tried to do an event every month but where I did miss a month it was planned due to other commitments. For example, at the beginning of June I had my A Level exams (which I’m over-the-moon about my results (have a look at my exam guidance page: here)) and in March I had interviews for my university course (university advice is here) so I scheduled a break from fundraising.
I hope that this post has made you realise that with a bit of hard work and organisation it is possible to fundraise the money you need for your amazing trip. Also, if you were struggling for ideas I hope this has given you some ideas of events you could do yourself.
The next time I update this blog may be when I am in South Africa so look forward to my next post!