19 of the best ways to fundraise for your volunteering abroad trip

Volunteering abroad is an amazing, life-changing experience and on the wish list of many travellers. It can also be expensive- plane tickets, travel insurance, and volunteer program fees mean the financial costs of volunteering abroad can make it all seem quite daunting.

Don’t let it put you off though!  There hundreds of different ways to fundraise for your volunteering trip of a lifetime. We’ve put together a guide to some of the best ways to fundraise for your volunteer trip abroad, including traditional scholarships and grants, corporate sponsorship, crowdfunding and good old fashioned quiz nights and bake sales. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to fundraise for your dream trip! Raising the funds needed for your dream volunteering trip can be hard work and requires commitment, but the effort will be 100% worth it.

  1. Scholarships and grants

Applying for scholarships are a must for fundraising for your volunteering abroad. There are thousands and thousands of scholarships and grants available for volunteering abroad and they range from small to large in size of financial award. There are many places where you can seek out scholarships to apply for.

Where to find scholarships and grants

Places to find scholarships for volunteering abroad include:

  • Your university or college scholarships
  • Faith based scholarships
  • Community scholarships
  • National awards for your country
  • Royal Geographic Society
  • Lions Club, Rotary or Round Table

Volunteer  Forever and The Princes Trust have put together some sources of scholarships for funding a volunteering abroad trip. If you’re in the UK, the Directory of Grant Making Trusts is a great start.

When searching for scholarships to volunteer abroad, it’s a great idea to start in your own community. Many businesses and local organisations are happy to help a local person, especially a young person, invest in themselves and volunteering.

How to apply for scholarships

When applying for scholarships, clarity and passion of communication is essential. It’s also vital to make sure you’re applying for the right sort of scholarship or grant for your chosen programme. Take care to write the best application you possibly can do, making your case for the scholarship as strong and effective as possible. Take a look at this fundraising application guide to give you some advice on getting started.

2.Everyone loves a bake sale

Get making, baking and creating! Using your creative skills and hobbies to make money to fund your volunteering abroad trip is a great way to add some cash to your total. It’s low cost and people are always willing to support this type of fundraising. If you’re a great baker, then dig out your favourite recipes and organise a bake sale. If crafts are your thing, then find local craft fairs to sell your products to make a profit. Or maybe you love to garden? Then get growing some plants, herbs or flowers to sell. Your fundraising pot will begin to grow too!

3.Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has been successful for many businesses, and it’s also a fantastic way to fundraise for a specific volunteering abroad placement. Through crowdfunding websites, you can create a campaign page specifically for your volunteering abroad trip that conveys your story with passion and engagement, so you can promote your volunteering fundraising goal to your extended network throughout the world.  A crowdfunding campaign means you can share videos, updates and information with donors, while also allowing you to engage with a higher number of potential donors and supporters than traditional methods.

Volunteer Forever , Fundly and GoFundMe are all crowdfunding platforms that have seen real success with helping individuals to crowdfund their volunteering abroad placement.

4. Get active! Run, walk or dance for sponsorship

Sponsored charity runs and walks are one of the classic, best ways to fundraise. Get active and promote your cause by signing up to local runs, colour runs and walks, even marathons if you’re feeling brave! There are always runs and walks available to sign up to. Ask people to sponsor you for each mile you complete. The funds you raise for your trip will help keep you motivated!

If running isn’t your thing, then how about organising a sponsored dance, exercise class or football match? These events can be hard work to organise, but they really pay off.

5. Hold a charity auction

Hold a charity auction through a site like BidPal. A charity auction is a fantastic, easy to use fundraising tool as it allows you to connect and interact with your potential donors, while they also get the chance to win awesome items or experiences.

6. Get your community involved

Getting your local community involved in your fundraising is a fun way to add to your fundraising total. By organising local community events, you can generate funds and spread the word about your volunteering abroad fundraising goals to a wider pool of potential donors. Have a think about what fun events you could arrange in your community, for example:

  • a treasure hunt based on your chosen volunteering trip
  • a sponsored community car wash
  • a pub quiz or local quiz night
  • an Easter egg hunt
  • a karaoke night

Make it fun for the whole community and they will be happy to donate to your cause.

7. Fundraise in your office

Your office or place of work is often a fantastic place to fundraise. Organise a dress down day, an office-wide sweepstake or a lucky squares competition. ‘Office eco fines’ are also a fun option, you could introduce a fine for people for leaving their computer or office lights on overnight. You could also install a penny jar to collect your colleagues’ loose change- every little helps!

8. Peer-to-Peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising through platforms such as Salsa and Qgiv allows your supporters to fundraise on your behalf by asking their personal networks to contribute. Your individual fundraising page gets shared across your peer network, who then ask their personal connections to donate to you . It’s a great way to maximise your personal connections and reaching other potential donors.

Even better, peer-to-peer campaigns can have a competitive aspect which can provide extra motivation!

9. Host a social event for your friends and family

Hosting a one off social event for your friends and family is one of the best ways to fundraise for a charity, and also one of the most fun!  Asking people for donations to your event is a great way to fundraise for your volunteering abroad trip. You could host a dinner party at your house specialising in the cuisine of your destination, a tea party at a local community centre or an evening wine tasting.

10. Weird and wonderful

Good old-fashioned methods of fundraising still work. Grab peoples’ attention by organising some fundraising activities to make people notice you and your cause- a sponsored haircut or diet, a sponsored silence or being sponsored to sit in a bathful of baked beans will all be able to add vital funds to your fundraising goal. They may be weird, but they will add wonderful funds to your fundraising pot.

11. Corporate sponsorship

Businesses are keen to be responsible and be seen to have a positive social attitude. Although it may be trickier to get large corporate organisations to sponsor an individual trip, smaller, local businesses are often more open to the idea. Try contacting local businesses with a strong, personalised letter. Include a link to your volunteer programme of choice. For example, a local building company may donate to your fundraising if you’re volunteering on a rebuilding programme, or an educational supplies company may be willing to donate to your educational volunteering trip.

12. Sell your stuff

Selling anything and everything you can think of to get rid of is definitely worth a try. Ebay, local selling sites, garage sales and car boot sales are all great ways to get rid of any unwanted clutter while adding to your fundraising total. Even better, see if any friends and family have any unwanted goods they’re willing to donate to your cause too.

13. Create an engaging blog

Creating an engaging blog and online presence is a great way to spread the word about your fundraising goals and your volunteering abroad trip. People love to read interesting blogs and if you create blog posts that inspire, tell your story and entertain readers, they will connect with you and your story.  Your blog can share the full story of you volunteering trip plans, including being able to educate and motivate potential donors to support your trip. Through your blog you can share your crowdfunding page, sponsorship plans and news of your fundraising events, reaching a much wider audience.

14. Keep sharing everything with everyone

Sharing your fundraising campaign is absolutely essential. Social media is vital to spreading the word and continuing to generate donations to your volunteering abroad fundraising. Use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social media to share our crowdfunding page, fundraising events and sponsorship opportunities. It’s often more successful to ask for specific amounts, so try sharing your page with the message ‘Please donate just £10 today’, rather than a general ‘please donate’.

But don’t just limit yourself to social media. Share your fundraising efforts with everyone and anyone you meet. You never know who you’ll be able to connect with who will want to donate to your fundraising cause.

15. Good old fashioned saving. Don’t underestimate

Don’t underestimate the power of good old fashioned saving. Cutting out those weekly coffees, impulse buys, magazines or take-outs can soon add up over the course of a year, contributing a nice sum to your fundraising total for hardly any effort.

16. Download online shopping Apps

Ask anyone and everyone you know to download a shopping app which will donate funds to your cause every time they shop online. This is a really easy way to generate ongoing funds for your fundraising total with totally minimal effort (freeing you up to train for those sponsored runs!). It’s a really great way to get others involved too as they don’t have to donate anything extra themselves, just carry on shopping online. Check out sites such as Easy Fundraising for how to get started.

17. Contact your local media

Local media loves to have interesting, engaging stories from people in their community, and so do their readers! Contact your local newspaper or media organisations to let them know your fundraising goals. Send them a short press release to your local media about your fundraising goals and the importance of your volunteering trip. Make sure to include your campaign page link in the press release so people can donate easily. They are likely to be interested in your volunteering intentions while also potentially promoting your cause to thousands of potential donors in your community.

18. Use your birthday

Ask for donations to your volunteering abroad trip for any and every gift buying opportunity. No matter what time of the year you’re fundraising for your volunteering trip abroad, there’s usually some kind of special event you can match to your campaign. Make donations to your campaign the first thing you ask for.

19. Matching Gifts

If your donors work for companies that match their gifts, their donations to your fundraising could be worth double! It’s easy for your donors, they just submit a matching gift request to their employer if they take part. So check with any potential donors if their employers donation match- it’s an easy way to up your total!

Get started!

We hope that we’ve inspired you to get fundraising while also showing you it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  So get started- make a plan, be passionate, set goals and commit to fundraising for your dream trip. Don’t forget to thank and update all of your donors along the way!

Volunteering Journeys create amazing volunteer abroad trips across the globe. Visit us to plan your next volunteering abroad experience.