• Rebekah Gamble

How To Quickly Fundraise $500 For a Volunteer Trip

Do you want to study abroad or travel to assist other people who may be in need? Together we can eliminate the stress and anxiety over paying for the trip. With a few simple changes and an openness to making money you can begin to save like an expert. This post will tell you a few simple, effective ways to reach your financial goals.

Before the coronavirus uprooted our lives, I was going to Puerto Rico during spring break. My university offers a program where you are able to fundraise, receive scholarships, and prepare as a group, to spend between 7-14 days assisting people in other states, countries, and territories.

While it's been over 2 years since the hurricane that wrecked the island struck, it often seems like yesterday for the people who reside there. They are still in need of electricity, functioning houses, schools and amongst many other things, roads. 

The due dates for the trip money were steadily approaching and I felt instant stress kicking in. But with the help of a trip mentor and a hint of creativity I was able to save $500 in just a few short weeks. Keep reading to find a few simple tips I learned along the way.

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Establish a goal amount

If you are part of a program, they will tell you how much you need and by what date. But if this trip, charity donation, or event is something you are organizing from start to finish, then you will need to add up your expenses.

Are you factoring in travel cost, food, dorming, etc.?

Keep in mind if you are raising money for a flight the prices may fluctuate. Round up the number you anticipate to spend and keep in mind add ons such as flight insurance. This comes in handy if you need to cancel the flight or reschedule due to any unforeseen circumstances.

Determine who you can ask for money

Now you want to sit down and figure out who you can ask for money. This can stem from immediate family (mom, dad, siblings, grandma), close friends, and all the way over to strangers. The outline below list a ton of different categories that you can consider. Coworkers, family, teachers, and college professors, are just a few to consider.

Once you have your list you'll know who you can ask.

Determine how you will ask them

Once you narrow it down you'll want to determine what's the best way to ask them. Being upfront tends to work best.

While there are cases where you may want to butter someone up and then ask for money, you don't want to ruin future partnerships that you are developing. The goal is not to make someone feel like you are taking advantage of them. Learn your audience before you approach them.

"Make social media post, write an email, talk to people" diagram
Examples of ways to spread awareness

Personalize your money request

A mass email may work for old teachers or organizations you may be apart of but you still want to add a personal touch. An email that begins with "Hi Professor -" will surely be read once opened vs something that could be for anyone. Remember you are persuading these individuals to give you their hard earned money.

Now let's discuss what habits you can take on in order to save money quick and easy.

Tip #1 - Make a flyer

Use a poster to bring awareness. It also helps to have one when you’re rejected because you can simply ask the person to share your poster via social media platforms.

Boom, you’ve avoided any awkwardness.

There are plenty of free apps such as CANVA that you can use to create beautiful, original printable or digital posters for free.

TIP #2 - Forget that you are asking people for money

Pride can be a huge inhibitor when it comes to reaching any goal, especially ones that involve money. Not everyone you ask will say yes, but it’s essential to remember that there are many people who will.

I asked each and every friend I had for their support. It was fascinating and touching to see how fast everything was adding up. Whether it was $10 or $50 it all made a difference.

Remind them if needed

If presented with “I’ll help out when income tax hits” or if they tell you to wait until they get paid, make sure you follow up. These are common excuses but it can help you to learn who is honest and reliable and who you should never invite to the next cookout. 

Tip #3 - Know how to present the idea

You have to stay upbeat, energetic, and disconnected from the idea you’re raising money for. You don't want to look frustrated and disappointed because someone is exercising their right to say no. Even though this cause may be important to you, respecting another persons boundaries is something that can not be forgotten.

Check out a message I sent to one of my family members for inspiration.

The phrasing allowed room for rejection while still being empathetic of any circumstances they may be going through.

Tip#4- Save your own money for the trip

Even with everyones generosity I realized I was short of my financial goal. As some someone who their days working and going to school I did not have adequate time to campaign for funds on campus or go to the different departments outside of my immediate work space.

I started thinking of how else I could save money. This was also before I had begun budgeting seriously and even though I had an emergency fund I did not want to use it. This leads me to my first way of saving money and official introduction to tracking my money.

Pack lunch

I'll let you in on a secret, I despised packing lunch at one point and every day I bought food.

Make carrying lunch easier - use a lunch bag

I carried 3 classes worth of books and a days worth of supplies, my bag did not want to carry food.

The solution came in the form of a Staples lunch bag (it was on sale for $9.74) that not only expanded to fit my coffee mug, sandwich, juice, and snack, but could be easily folded when I was finished eating as well. 

Keep track of what you are saving

When I started bringing each meal with me outside, by the end of each week I saved at least $50 dollars.

My guilty pleasure was treating myself to a bigger meal when it was pay week. My pancakes would be accompanied by eggs, bacon and an unplanned juice if I felt spontaneous.

Use one of the budget templates found inside of the Excel app to get a nice simple set up that automatically adds up your lunch data. 

I brought lunch for 3 weeks and saved a total of $165.

Tip #5-Save money with at home services

Any services that you are doing at home could jump start a new hobby or second source of income if you develop the habit enough.

You can read more about how to invest in yourself and save money while doing your hair, nails, wax, and gym services at home here!

Some people spend over $100 doing their nails. For others a full body wax, a monthly massage or even a day out with friends could be something to cut back on.

Tip #6 - Consider a side hustle

Not everyone has the time and energy to take on a part-time job. But if you are open to taking on a side gig that actually works, you can consider a few of the options that are listed below.

  • Babysitting

  • Tutoring

  • Selling items on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, etc.

  • Start a digital Etsy Shop

I'll be launching an Etsy Shop with self care work books, grocery/meal prep templates and other productivity items, before November is over! Follow me on IG for updates

Tip #7- Promote on social media

Make a flyer, and circulate it on social media.

You can post a picture of yourself holding the flyer and in the caption introduce the idea.

Take it one step further by sending your post to individuals and following up with "Hey! Did you see my recent post? I'm raising money for -"

Tips #8 - Don't give up

It's immensely motivating to see the money accumulate. A lot of the times our goal saving amount is bigger than what we can imagine. But instead of hoping that the money becomes yours, actively work on making it a reality.

Bringing lunch was a lifestyle change that was supposed to be temporary but with time it stuck. It became an easy way to save money when there wasn't much to start with. Who knows which of your new habits will become long lasting as well!

Related post: 11 Simple and Easy Tips for Starting a Successful Christmas fund

By the end of my journey I reached my goal and it was because of generous friends, family, and my ability to stop buying outside food. I wish you luck on whichever activity you are preparing for!

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