Volunteer USA

At a glance
Project Construction
Cost 595+ or 839+
Eligibility Aged 18 - 50
Duration 12 days or, 8 - 12 weeks

Fundraising Tips

Many participants fundraise as a means to off-set their programme registration, visa and travel expenses. We have compiled the following tips to help you plan your campaign.

Online fundraising

The most effective way to start your fundraising is through an online campaign website. It provides a quick, efficient way to reach out to all your friends and family.

Creating an online campaign page is a simple and effective way to start fundraising for your trip and is more enjoyable for both the fundraisers and the donors and volunteer organisations.  

Gaining publicity

Approach local newspapers or radio stations (find their contact details on the internet, via the town hall, at your local library or in a media directory).

A journalist may be willing to write up a short piece about you, or you could write your own article and address it to the News Desk. Whatever you decide to do you need to think of an angle that will be of interest to the readers. Think of the most common questions people are asking you about the trip and try to answer them.

Make yourself available in case they want to interview you. It may help to offer a follow up story on completion of your placement or issue regular email updates while you are away.

Finding donors and sponsors

Donors

  • Consider anyone and everyone; if you have a fundraising page you can email it to everyone you know.
  • Friends, relatives and work colleagues may also be able to offer support and good ideas for fundraising events.
  • If they can’t sponsor your trip perhaps they could provide you with something to give your volunteer project, such as pens, paper, text books or toys.
  • Put a collecting tin in your local pub, or hairdressers; you won’t need a permit for collecting in this way as long as you have permission from the proprietor.

Sponsors

You may approach local companies for sponsorship, in which case remember that this is very competitive. Consider the following tips:

  • Letters should be well presented, personal and well-written
  • Address a specific person if possible, generic letters are not as successful
  • They will want to know what your project involves and why you are doing it
  • Keep it concise, ideally one page
  • Outline the benefit to the sponsor – for example promotion of their company at your fundraising events
  • As an alternative to a cash donation ask for something that you could raffle.

Trust Funds

Trust funds and grant making bodies are funds set up for good causes and can be a useful resource for raising funds.

Search the internet for list of trusts and grants, additionally, the ‘Directory of Grant Making Trusts’ (from your local library) is a useful resource.

Trust funds usually have very specific funding criteria so make sure you address all the relevant points. Try to give a specific breakdown of the costs and provide information about what you are doing on your project.

Fundraising events

Common methods of fundraising include:

More common methods of fundraising include:

  • Car boot sales
  • Sponsored events: either externally arranged such as Fun Runs or independently arranged such as a personal challenge
  • Quiz nights
  • Hold a party during which you invite people to donate gifts or money; include a raffle of donated prizes
  • The Every Day Hero website includes a list of current events around the country.

A few reminders…

  • Organise your donations through a fundraising website
  • Keep a note of who has given you a contribution, and don’t forget about them as soon as you have enough money
  • Offer to give presentations to trusts and companies that have supported you
  • Follow ups to newspapers and local radio stations by email or on your return
  • Photos of you working hard will reassure donors that their investment was worthwhile
  • Extend a big thank you to everyone who contributes
  • Last of all, be realistic and don’t expect to cover all of your costs.

Useful websites

Larger UK charities offer useful advice on fundraising – visit their websites for new ideas.

Important information

Fundraising is suggested as an option, you are under no obligation to pursue it. The information provided here is offered as a guide only, and we encourage you to investigate alternative options independently. When collecting money, please always check that you are not in breach of any local laws or regulations. Certain events may require a license or permit (entertainment or alcohol licenses for example) and you should check that any venue you use to host an event has appropriate insurance and health & safety certificates. Collection boxes will require the permission of the property owner.

Fundraising for an overseas volunteer community

On occasion volunteers are asked for, or offer money to the community. Whilst it's great to see such enthusiasm we do not feel that offering cash directly to the community is the best way to help; it can lead to issues of dependency, as well as a lack of accountability for the money raised. When we send volunteers overseas it is with the understanding that it is their time that is of value not their money. As an alternative we would suggest that you consider helping a project find local sponsorship or help to provide them with tangible items (for example school books). If wish to make a financial contribution you should do so via a registered charity.

If you have any questions about how you can further help the community that you’ve volunteered in please don’t hesitate to contact the volunteer team at BUNAC.

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