When I got accepted as a volunteer with Youth Challenge International, I knew right away that money might be an issue. Along with finding a job and making a detailed financial plan, I knew that I would have to make fundraising a priority!
The very first thing I did was update my fundraising page. I included what we were going to do in Costa Rica and why I was going, just to let potential donors know what they were donating to. After I edited my page, I started to get the word out. Social media sites are extremely handy for this! I posted my link on Facebook about once a month and my family and friends often shared it to spread it out even further!
I began planning my first fundraiser right away, which I think is very important for each volunteer who will be relying on donations for their trip. My first fundraiser was a ‘Spud & Steak’ dinner at a local Canad Inns. In addition to the dinner, I included a rainbow auction and 50/50 as an additional way to raise money. The fundraiser went okay; however it could have went better. I made a few mistakes that I wish I could have thought of ahead of time, such as how much I was spending and the location (good advice for anyone planning a similar event!). After my first fundraiser, I waited a long time to have another one. Honestly, I was a little bit embarrassed about the turn out of my first fundraiser and I was also worried about having nobody show up to my next one! I have often wished I had gotten over my embarrassment and could go back and have a couple more fundraisers within those five months.
After those five months of no fundraising, I knew it was time to do another one. Like most people, I was a little bit lost and unsure about what exactly I should do. Then I got lucky, because another volunteer from my province joined the project. Together we did a bake sale, a yard sale (that went sour after the weather took a turn for the worst!), and an Applebee`s breakfast!
After eight months of some intense planning, lots of advertising and some great events I have complied a few tips that I think might help you with some future fundraisers to avoid some of my pitfalls:
- Don’t wait! Start right away!
- If possible, find another volunteer to fundraise with. Everyone has different, unique ideas and sharing them with another person can help inspire new ideas!
- Don`t be too shy to ask for donations!
- Plan, plan, plan! Even if you think you have it all planned out, let someone else give you their opinions.
- If you`re stuck on what type of event to have, Google it! There are so many creative ideas out there!
- ADVERTISE! Events are only successful if people show up!
- Make sure your event is convenient! Price, location, items for sale, etc. all need to be convenient for the public, not you!
-Devyn Ewanchuck, Youth Ambassador, Costa Rica 2012
Devyn has completed her fundraising and is now preparing to leave for Costa Rica later this month. For more on our upcoming Costa Rica programs, check out our Program Calendar.