As with all new things, making a start is always the hardest part, but remember…
- The sooner you get started the sooner you will reach your fundraising target.
- The more ground work and planning you do the more success you will have.
The best place to begin is to simply start talking… You should talk to all your friends, every member of your family (immediate and extended) and all your work colleagues (past and present); in other words, talk to everybody you know.
It’s a good idea to be careful not to bore them with your charitable exploits too early on but let them know what you’re volunteering to do, how long you’re going overseas for, when you’ll be going, where you’ll be going and what you hope to achieve.
Fundraising is all about selling yourself and the thing you’re doing so don’t be afraid to highlight the challenges you anticipate and the worthwhile nature of your project. It’s also important to remember to emphasise that you’re volunteering for a charity, that VESL is a not-for-profit organisation and that this isn’t a holiday but a project that you will have to work hard in.
Hopefully by talking to everyone you know you’ll start to get a feel for how to ‘sell’ the project or how to interest someone in your cause. However, that isn’t the only thing you’re looking to gain. You will be amazed how many ideas your contacts will come up with and how many of them you can rope into helping you organise or run events. You also want to ask each of them if they know anyone that you might be able to speak to for further ideas or help… making use of your friends will significantly boost your own contacts list!
Before you start calling the names in your address book it’s a good idea to run through your contacts list to identify what everyone does / is good at / has access to etc. etc. You can then try to think of a way that you might be able to incorporate them, their produce or their skills into a fundraising activity or event. It could be anything from something that someone came make to someone having access to a venue to run an event. You might find a quiz master in there or someone who’s always wanted to organise a ‘grown-ups sports day’ or a barn dance… or you might find an opportunity to put your Gran’s knitting skills or your Mother’s best Flap-jack recipe to good use.
Another useful thing is to look through your calendar to identify any up-coming dates that might lend themselves to potential fundraising events (check out our blog). Note down anything from Burn’s nights to birthdays and see what opportunities present themselves. If you’re coming up to a birthday yourself then you may have hit fundraising gold-dust – ask for donations rather than gifts or arrange a themed birthday party or dinner (murder mystery is always a great one!). You could negotiate a deal with a local B.Y.O.B. restaurant (preferably from the country you’re going to) and pre-pay a low price on a fixed menu so that you can charge more per head in addition to running raffles or prize draws etc. etc… the opportunities are pretty much endless.
So that’s a great list of things to get you well on the way to starting that fundraising!!