Fundraising - Part 1

As a former teacher (who expended a lot of fundraising efforts with my classes) I often find myself discussing fundraising. And, lately, I have been reflecting on it a lot.

Of course fundraising has the goal of raising funds—it’s built into the name. But it also raises awareness in the community about the long-term educational value of the travel program in question. If done right, it does another important thing: it raises the maturity level, the entrepreneurial skill, and the self-respect of the student doing the fundraising.

And hey, don’t forget the word “fun” is hidden in there as well!

I do think teachers and students need to make fundraising as powerful as they can, and with as little time consumed as makes sense (I am biased, but especially for teachers—I had to learn to deputize parents to help their kids do the fundraising activity. That way it was more do-able!)

So here are a few thoughts from a Tour Consultant for WorldStrides International Discovery: Use the good stuff that we provide access to!

We are, so far as I can determine, the only international education program that has financial aid. Our FLAG Foundation provides $100-$600 scholarships for those families who meet the earning criteria–under $85,000 AGI. Can I say wow! Yes, I can! Ten students getting even the medium numbers is a lot of work.

We also post the template for a letter, Facebook sharing, or e-cards that students can personalize, something we call the “Gift of Education.”

Ask for nothing, get nothing! Get nowhere!

But learning to ask, clearly and maturely, is a good life skill for a student to have. …They’ll be asking to get into a good college program via an essay. They’ll be writing a cover letter applying for a job.

The idea here is to take our framework and ask family, friends, and others near and far for meaningful support. A child of a friend of mine argued it would fail, but his first emails yielded $150 in five minutes! And many have found themselves with well over $1000 in support from asking properly. He was touched, he was moved, and he felt cared for at a new level. Plus I have to say that, on a per student basis, this approach is by far the most effective in every corner of the USA.

And yes, different fundraisers work better in some locations than others. Some schools already have filled the quota of car washes and donkey basketball events. I worked in a rural public school with easy access to wonderful picturesque back roads. My students and I put on a running race most suburban or urban schools would have to rent police help to enable. But we were able to post for free in running calendars. …Get articles for free in our local paper and be on that calendar as well. …Leave applications in running and other shops near and far (Vermont visitor center even). And my students designated and printed up, with some help, a race day t-shirt that was really ingenious—I have a collection still! Our trip was “worn” all over the county, and in nearby states.

I hope you’ll send me your working ideas to share in this blog over time. Before I end this installment, though, check out even more fundraising ideas sent to us by our traveling teachers!