This article taken from the Winter 2014 IVPA Newsletter.
IVPA Principle and Practice #5: Suggest means of fundraising to participants
To prospective volunteers who are just starting to think about volunteering abroad it may come as a surprise that most volunteer sending organizations charge a fee to participate in the program or project. Program fees allow for a volunteer sending organization to maintain a sustainable volunteer program in their partner communities and provide important support before, during and after a trip. At first glance, a program fee may seem prohibitive to many who want to volunteer but there are ways to make volunteering abroad more affordable.
Fundraising Opens the Door
For many, fundraising is a key that opens the door to volunteering abroad. Some volunteers even fundraise all of their travel and program costs. Asking friends, family, neighbors and local businesses to contribute to your volunteer trip involves a whole network of people with your experience and your cause. In many cases part of their contribution is also tax deductible*
IVPA member organizations adhere to Principle and Practice #5 by suggesting means of fundraising to participants. For many first time volunteers, fundraising for their trip is their first exposure to fundraising. IVPA members have years of experience coaching and provide the support volunteers who need it.
Some of the advice from IVPA Members includes:
- “Set concrete goals.” Global Citizens Network
- “Make it convenient for your sponsors to donate by telling them about the simple and secure online donation process.” Cross-Cultural Solutions
- Ask for a specific amount of money. Serivce For Peace
- Think of creative solutions like: ‘bid on a date’ evening, arts and craft sales, car washes, entering a ‘bike-a-thon’. Habitat for Humanity
- Approach your employer about a Contribution Match Program. Globe Aware
Fundraising is work but volunteer sending organization can provide the tools and knowledge needed to get the work done. And as Service For Peace return volunteer, Michael Bustamente, stated “Honestly, I can’t even recall what the exact cost of the project was. What I will never forget is the exposure the program gave me. You can’t really put a value on that.”
*Ask your volunteer sending organization or a tax professional if and how much a contribution is deductible.