Know your facts
It is essential that you are well versed in everything about your project, destination and Projects Abroad. Sponsors will ask what you are doing, your reason for taking part in the programme and specifics about the organisation you’re travelling with.
The Fact File below provides you with all the information you need to know about Projects Abroad as an organisation.
- Projects Abroad was founded in 1992.
- Dr Peter Slowe is the founder and Director of Projects Abroad.
- We currently operate in 29 countries worldwide.
- We send around 10,000 volunteers overseas annually.
- We employ over 600 staff worldwide.
- Projects Abroad is a UK company based in West Sussex.
- We recruit volunteers from all over the world including Europe, the USA, Australia and Japan.
- We are a founding member of the Year Out Group.
- We believe in creating and working with sustainable projects that foster development in local communities abroad
Aims and objectives
To make your fundraising as successful as possible, you need to establish a set of aims and objectives. This will help you plan events and achieve your goals before beginning your travels.
The best place to start is your invoice. Work out exactly how much you owe and when it needs to be paid by. The final balance for your project is due 3 months before departure or upon acceptance if you apply with less than three months to go.
You should also work out what other expenses need to be covered. For example, if you plan on travelling or doing activities at weekends, then you should budget more than if you were only going out once or twice a week. Medical expenses such as vaccinations and travel-related fees for things such as visas should also be taken into account.
All volunteers are set up with their own personal MyProjectsAbroad webpage which provides plenty of information regarding living and travelling costs in your host destination and is a useful starting point for budgeting.
You can also use this webpage to set up your own fundraising page, for more information go to Building your Projects Abroad fundraising page.
You will also find a suggested kit list on your webpage. You may already have many of these items at home, but may need to buy other necessities such as mosquito nets. Look around for what you need - often these items can be found cheaply online as opposed to in-store.
You could ask to borrow some items from friends or even ask for some things as birthday or Christmas gifts – don’t let the chance to save money pass you by!
Also be sure to account for the cost of the fundraising events themselves.
Once you calculate the amount of money you need to fundraise and create a feasible schedule to achieve your goals, draw up a table and set realistic monthly targets. Take into account whether you are likely to raise more money in one month than another. In December, for example, you may raise more than in January, as there are extra opportunities to hold events such as holiday parties or ask for gift donations. If you do miss your target one month, don’t panic! Work out how much extra you need to fundraise the following months and add this in the final column of your table.
An example table for a six-month period is shown below. Keep this table in a visible place, such as on your fridge or at the front of your fundraising folder, to constantly remind you of your remaining work.
Working part-time or allocating wages from your current job if you’re employed will really help contribute to your project expenses. If you do not have a job, then look around for opportunities in your community: babysitting, car washing and dog walking are brilliant ways to earn a bit of extra money.
Be sure to fill your table in each month so that you can keep track of how much you have raised and the amount you still need. Organisation is key to successful fundraising!
Planning your events
Once you have outlined your fundraising goals and established monthly targets, it’s time to begin planning events! Deciding what to do is the first step in event planning.
There is no limit to the amount of fundraising you can do and how it will help you reach your financial targets. Whether you are a talented musician, love to bake or have an appetite for adventure, there are loads of events you can hold to finance your project.
Check out the Case Studies section of fundraising to get some brilliant, tried and tested fundraising ideas which have proved successful for previous volunteers. For more great ideas check out our Fundraising Idea Generator which will give you an array of intriguing new ideas to ponder upon every time you click!
After choosing what you’re going to do, draw up a list of everything you will need to organise. For instance if you’re putting on a fashion show, you may want to consider the following:
Once you have the list, work through the points. Always begin with the budget – devise how much you can afford to spend, what you will charge for tickets and your target profit. Make use of your social networks and connections. For example, if you are organising a fashion show and know someone who works at your local community centre, ask them for donations and help. They may be able to give you a reduced price on venue hire or put you in touch with someone who could provide clothing donations.
Make a table of all the expenses you anticipate (e.g. printing prices) and record the actual amount spent in the same table. When the event is completed, record how much you raised minus your personal expenditure. Add all these figures into a table, like the one below, where you can track your expenditure and profit.
Keep track of your enquiries and always be sure to thank those who respond to you. Make your aims and objectives clear while keeping your tone professional and approachable.
Record your enquiries in a table similar to that below. Keeping track of everything when you are writing a lot of letters helps you stay on top of your fundraising and prevents you from making mistakes. Being organised makes you appear professional and committed to your work.
A planned event will be far more successful than an event you have rushed. Keep note of everything, keep within your budget, but above all have lots of fun and get your friends and family involved!
Building your Projects Abroad fundraising page
When you sign up for a Projects Abroad trip, you will be given your very own MyProjectsAbroad webpage. This will hold an abundance of important and worthwhile information and resources, including creating your own Projects Abroad fundraising page.
Publicising your fundraising
As with any event, publicity is the key to great results. Whether you use leaflets and posters to put up around your school or utilise electronic formats such as e-mail and social media, you need to attract the attention of your reader in a way that is clear, eye- catching and informative. You can publicise your events and trip simultaneously as people are more likely to support you if they know what you are undertaking and why. Talks, leaflets and Q&A sessions are great ways to raise awareness of issues you are hoping to tackle on your placement and also get people interested in your cause. In this day and age, social media is a key place to attract people to an event or to ask for donations, creating a Facebook event, Facebook page and generally being active across social media to get friends, family and organisations involved in your fundraising. The more awareness you generate, the more likely people are to support you.
Convey your key messages and include at least one picture. You may also find it useful to put your contact details on this so that if people want to donate they know how to get hold of you. And don’t forget the time, date and place of your event!
Adverts in local magazines and papers about what you are doing can generate support and advertise events.
You can also make use of the Projects Abroad Facebook and Twitter pages. Join the Projects Abroad UK group and you are then free to advertise events or also success stories on this page. Similarly, if you follow us on our Twitter account at @Proj_Abroad_UK, then we can retweet any mentions you make of your fundraising and help raise awareness. The more you get your ideas out there, the more support and donations you are likely to receive!
Many companies are willing to consider sponsoring people if approached correctly. Bear in mind that sponsorship is generally done out of commercial interest rather than for purely donating to a worthy cause, so before approaching companies ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the company have a local interest in your community/school/ university?
- Do they have an interest in your project or destination?
- Can you offer them an opportunity for promotion via advertising for an event on radio/newspaper/poster?
When constructing a sponsorship letter make sure you cover the following points:
- Make your statement personal and address it to the correct person. Find this out by calling the company before posting your letter and asking whom to contact. ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ is likely to be pushed to the bottom of the pile.
- Give some concise background information outlining who you are, your project and what you hope to gain while spending time abroad. There is no need for pages and pages of description, as this will lose their interest. Remember, they may get hundreds of requests all the time.
- Point out the benefits of your time abroad.
- Make the sponsorship worthwhile by offering to advertise the company when possible.
- You may wish to follow up the letter with a telephone call a week later. Prepare a brief statement of what you want to say prior to calling so you feel confident – first impressions count!
Companies are not the only places you can obtain sponsorship. Local councils, religious centres, community groups, Lion Clubs and any youth or sports groups you belong to can also help. Check online for memorial trusts in your area as, while these will often not be widely publicised, they are often willing to consider requests.
If you do not receive an answer straight away, don’t give up! Every donation, no matter how small, counts!