Tips on Fundraising for Volunteer Trekkers

Raising Money For Your Volunteer Trek to Nepal

So you need to raise $1800, plus airfare of, say $1500, for a total of $3300? And you need some help?  Fortunately there are probably a thousand ways to raise those thousands of dollars, but some work better than others. You could pick 330 people who are your ‘friends’ on the Facebook and pester them relentlessly until they each give you $10, you could sell your blood, or you could do something a bit more fun. Here’s some help taking the pain and tedium out of fundraising.

The Charity-HDF

People will want to know why they should sponsor you, so you’ll need to tell them what you are doing, why you are doing it, who HDF is, how it will spend the money and who will benefit. The more you know about the awesome cause you are supporting, the more convincing you will be to potential donors. Remember to keep HDF informed of your efforts and ask them for any help you need. HDF will provide you with flyers explaining what it does and how your sponsorship will be used.

Networking

Start by making a comprehensive list of potential sponsors and supporters. Include relatives, friends, neighbors, sports & social club contacts, school/college friends, colleagues, business contacts, bank manager, Christmas card list, etc.

Play the Numbers Game

Ask as many people as possible because it is often the people who you least expect to support you who will surprise you with a whopping check. Plan a target group – think of everyone you know, friends, family, work colleagues, and make a list. Put your request for sponsorship in writing, and always personalize it if you know the person well enough – never use Dear Sir/Madam. Let them know exactly why they should support you. Explain who are you going to be helping and why.

If you have a personal link to HDF or Karma, give some details. Include some information to show how the money that HDF has received in the past has helped specific cases. Make sure you include details of your fundraising profile you hand out.

The fewer the obstacles in their way, the more likely you are to receive a positive response. Where possible, offer something in return.

Be Innovative

Don’t randomly send letters asking for money, you’ll rarely get a response, let alone any money. Instead of asking someone outright to put their hands in their pockets and give you cash, why not give them something back in return?

Here are a couple examples:

  1. Host a potluck at your house, with each person bringing a dish to pass. You provide the space, place settings, barbeque grill, ice, etc. Make it BYO on drinks to save on your outlay. Whether you make a dish to pass is up to you. Invite as many people as you have room for and tell them beforehand it is your intent to raise $_________dollars at the potluck, divide that number by the number of guests and let them know each person’s sponsorship part is $_______ of the total. If necessary, repeat again with a different group.
  1. Invite friends and family to your birthday party (celebrate early or late, in case your birthday doesn’t fall within the time you have) and ask them not to bring a present but to sponsor you instead. Make it light snacks and birthday cake. In addition, charge an admission fee of, say $10 to cover your costs. Find a local musician who will donate services. With good support, you might be surprised how much you can raise in this one-off event.

Every dollar counts. Here are a few ideas on how to make that little extra at either or both of these events:

  • Collect loose change in buckets
  • Get guests to empty their pockets as they leave your event
  • Fine people for not participating or donating enough
  • Pass around a glass jar to be filled with One Dollar bills

At Work

This is always a great place to get the sponsorship requests circulated, or perhaps a mass e-mail sent out explaining what you are doing. Give people as much information as possible. Many people will admire what you are doing and will be willing to support you financially as they know that they would never do it themselves. Put some information on notice boards or in your company newsletter about what you are planning to do, how much you need to raise, and where the money is going. Ask customers and suppliers (if appropriate to do so), and stand by busy areas (the canteen or gym at lunch time) with a collecting tin.

If you work for a large corporation, they may have sponsorship or specific departments to deal with charitable donations. Find out who to contact and arrange a meeting. Their advice will be valuable whether sponsorship is given or not. Many companies now work on a match-giving scheme whereby the company matches any money raised by you. Smaller companies are also great targets as opposed to large corporations where no personal contact is available. Try asking family and friends for any contacts they may have.

At Home

Anyone who comes to mind, don’t be afraid to approach them to explain what you are doing and to ask them. It is always advisable to start the conversation with “Don’t feel obliged BUT”. Ask friends, relatives, people at your local pub, coffee shop, sports club, and local businesses – they are all potential sponsors. Keep reminding yourself that every penny counts! Never leave home without details of how they can donate.

Tried and True— A Challenge For Your Cause

Challenges, such as walking, hiking, running so many miles and asking for sponsors have been around a long time, and for good reason. They work! Remember the ice bucket challenge? Those that work better than others and will set you apart from your competition (and there’s plenty), be as creative and whacky as your imagination will take you. People will respect and are more likely to make a contribution if they see you’ve thought out of the box.

Final Thoughts

If you want to achieve your fundraising goal you’ve got to be innovative and passionate about your cause, coupled with an unerringly determination. Don’t be deterred. If you go about it the right way and give yourself enough time, fundraising can be incredibly rewarding.

The main thing to remember is that when it comes to fundraising there are no rules. The more you can innovate and the more determined you are the more successful you will be. Make sure as many people as possible get to hear of what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to employ your right brain, wildly imaginative, divergent thinking and try things that haven’t been done before.

With that in mind:

  • Be bold. Don’t be afraid to stand out and make a fool of yourself! Make people laugh – humor is key in getting people to support you.
  • If you write a letter of solicitation, write a really good, punchy missive describing what you are raising money for and why. Then send it to as many people as you can think of. Family, friends, local businesses, and always, always, follow it up with a call or visit. Consider the letter as a part of a challenge, or other events you will be hosting as part of your overall campaign strategy.
  • Be creative in your approach to fundraising; think of ways to make people part with their money and get something out of it at the same time.