How to Fundraise for Your Volunteer Abroad Program

The Power of Fundraising For Your Volunteering Adventure

Looking to volunteer abroad but worried about the costs? You’re not alone. The right skill-based volunteering project is an incredible opportunity to make a real difference whilst building experience in your field. But there are costs involved.

This article will break down fundraising for international volunteering. So you can better understand what’s involved and how to put a plan into action.

Let’s tackle the money issue head-on and get you ready for a life-changing volunteer project that you’ll be proud to share with everyone.

Understanding the Costs of Volunteering Abroad

Volunteering is already an amazing way of giving your time and skills to support developing communities. But why does it come with a price tag? It’s not about just covering your food and accommodation. When you sign up with Vocational Impact a big part of your fee supports the very projects you’ll be working on. From building schools to funding community development in places like Ghana, India and South Africa. Your contribution is a direct investment in creating long-term, sustainable projects that make a real difference to the people they serve.

We started in 2015 as the volunteering branch of Arms Around The Child (AATC). The charity focuses on supporting children who are born with HIV and AIDS and their families. We’re so proud of our connection to this internationally recognised and UK-registered charity.

As an NGO with years of experience in international development, we have a unique approach to sustainable community empowerment. All our projects are run by local humanitarians and professionals, we work hand-in-hand with grassroots organisations, listening and responding to our partner’s needs and development goals. As a volunteer with Vocational Impact, you’ll be joining the projects we’ve supported for years and become a part of our mission.

We’ve even been recognised as an ‘Ethical Travel Partner’ by many UK universities because of our unique model.

Your volunteering fee will include everything you need for a safe and successful international volunteering experience such as planning and guidance before you go, 24/7 support, food, and transport in-country from dedicated volunteer coordinators and comprehensive after-care to make sure you get the most from your time. The few things that are not included are outside our control such as flights, insurance and visas but we’ll work with you every step of the way to make sure that you’re fully supported.

If you want to see a full breakdown of our fees you can check it out here. You can use this information to build a detailed fundraising plan and set a target amount that will take into account all the extras you may need.

But don’t worry if this seems daunting alone. The best way to get an exact figure that’s tailored to your project and needs is to get in touch with our volunteer coordinators. We’ve successfully sent hundreds of volunteers to international projects over the years and can help you make a plan that’s unique to your position.

Click here to get started and discuss your needs with us.

First Steps To Fundraising

You’re excited and can’t wait to get started. But how can you set yourself up for success before you start fundraising?

Setting up an online donation page through a donation platform is a great way to have a single location to send people to. You can use our Arms Around the Child fundraising platform on Enthuse (no fees). These platforms can display your targets and where you’re up to but also help you keep your sponsors up to date with your progress. Be aware that some of these platforms do charge fees. Before setting up a donation page there is some important groundwork you should get in place.

The first step we recommend everyone do is to create your story. This will help you clarify your reasons for going and help you better communicate to potential sponsors what your mission is (and why they should support you).

Have a read through some of our volunteer stories for inspiration. These are volunteers who’ve been out and had amazing experiences, they’ll remind you not only of the adventure that awaits you but also of the vital work you’ll be doing in the field.

When you’re crafting your story take some time to think about who you’ll be helping, how you’ll be able to do that and why you want to help. Bringing these elements together will show potential donors that you’re serious about the project and they’ll be able to connect with your story and better support you.

Another tip when asking for support with funds to volunteer abroad is to be specific. This means being specific about your timelines, how much money you need, how people should donate and how they should share it with their networks.

Think about the difference between: “Can you donate money to my trip’ and ‘I’m joining a charity project that supports orphans in India. I’ll be helping them with skills I learned in my psychology degree. It’s 2 months away and I’m trying to raise £2000 to help cover the costs of transport as well as supporting the project I’ll be working on. I’d be so grateful if you could donate £5 and if you’re able to share it with people in your workplace that would go such a long way to supporting the orphanage where I’ll be placed.”

The last thing to consider is how your community is updated. One way that takes a lot of pressure off what to say, is thinking about ‘sharing your process’. As you learn new things about the project, the people you’ll work with, and even the food you’re excited to try, tell people! It could be several short social media posts, a blog or regular emails but sharing what you’re excited, interested and even a little nervous about can win people to your cause.

Lastly, think about any local press, groups or even ‘influencers’ who could help you share your message. If you’ve got a clear mission in place it can be a great way to extend your reach and kick off your campaign.

Fundraising Ideas and Events

Okay so we’ve done the research, we’ve built our mission, and now it’s time to get out there and get started fundraising for your volunteer adventure. Let’s break down some simple and actionable ideas for fundraising. Don’t forget that the money you raise will directly support communities abroad in need, so think about how you can engage your local community and connect the two.

Sponsored Sports or Challenges

This is a classic and one that lots of our volunteers use when raising funds. Choose something that suits your interests and abilities it could be a run, bike, swim, or even a dance marathon.

Setting a clear and achievable goal can help motivate you and your sponsors to dig deep and support you. Once you have this in place you can reach out and ask for donations for completing it or a donation based on distance or time. For example £2 a mile or £5 per hour of dancing.

Bag Packing and Other Services

Reaching out to people in your area and seeing if you can help them with mowing their lawn, cleaning out a garage or packing bags in the local supermarket can be a great way to ‘earn’ donations.

Even better you can make it a social activity. Get some friends together and work together to help more people and raise more money. This is where having your mission and the reason why you’re going volunteering helps.

Having a secure donation box and perhaps even t-shirts or badges can help people understand and trust your work. Give them a way to stay in touch too. This can help people feel a part of your mission.

Supper Club

This is another great way to bring people together to support your cause. A supper club is simply selling tickets to a food event. It can be small, just hosted in your home or a big event in a local community centre. Just make sure that your ticket price will cover your costs with enough of a donation to make an impact.

The supper club also give you a chance to connect your community to the destination you’ve chosen. Create a menu around the traditional foods of the region and prepare music that will make people feel part of your journey.

During the event also be ready to talk about your mission, destination and what exactly you’ll be doing while on the volunteer project.

Local Businesses, Religious Institutions and Community Groups

This one can be a bit intimidating for new volunteers but can be an amazing way to secure high-value donations. Many businesses and groups like the Rotary or Lions Club will have funds set aside for worthy causes.

Connecting with these donors can be as simple as doing some online searches or asking community leaders for their advice. Make sure to connect your mission to their own goals to show that what you’re raising funds for is not just a holiday but a way to make a real difference.

When you’re presenting your case you may be asked to give a presentation. This is a great time to share your mission and the story you’ve created. Offering to speak helps people understand what you hope to achieve and demonstrates the impact their contribution can make. Also, following up after your trip can be a great way to stay in touch.

Organise A Sale

Bake sales, garage sales and even charity auctions are fantastic ways of creating an event that can get money for a great cause. Getting people together to clear out their closets, bake goodies to sell or donate valuables for a charity auction gives the perfect excuse to share your story and get people to support you.

Planning the event and advertising in your uni, college or workplace will attract buyers and clearly stating the proceeds will go to charity means people will happily dig deep. It can also be a good way of collecting contacts so you can update them on how your fundraising is going and get you over the line with more support as the deadline gets closer.

Grants, Funds and Bursaries

With some research, you might find that there are funds available to support your volunteering. This could require a detailed proposal or application process, so lean on your story and mission to help you be efficient when applying to multiple different funding sources.

Make sure to personalise each application so it fits the goals of the institution. This could be a government scheme or even something set up by your university. If they need proof your volunteer coordinator will happily supply you with a letter explaining the charity’s goals and credentials to increase your chance of success.

Other Ways of Fundraising

Ultimately, your success when fundraising will count on you to use all available channels and think outside the box. Perhaps you’ve got a birthday or some other event coming up you could ask for support for your volunteering.

There are also non-financial ways of supporting your work. Many volunteers take supplies along to the project they’ll be working on. Discussing with your volunteer coordinator will be the best way to find out what is needed. This could be anything from art supplies and stationery or sports equipment. Some organisations would prefer this kind of support to a monetary donation so it’s always worth asking.

Following Up and Sharing Your Success

The most successful fundraising campaigns don’t stop as soon as someone’s donated. They connect your local community to the people you’ve supported during your trip. Every volunteer who returns is encouraged to write up their experience. 

This helps you demonstrate what you’ve learnt and achieved while abroad. Useful for future employers to understand the value of what you’ve done and also such a great feeling for your supporters. 

We’ve even had volunteers use this as a chance to ask for even more support for the projects they’ve worked with. You’ll be an expert on exactly what happens on the ground and how the charity’s process makes a long-lasting change to the communities we work with. 

Your pride, enthusiasm and changed perspective after completing a volunteer project is what drives us as a charity to keep pushing and growing what we can do to support people in need.

What’s holding you back?

Hopefully, you’ve got some clarity on why fundraising is such a vital part of your overall volunteer abroad experience. It’s about more than just covering your costs, it’s a way of bringing your community together to support a worthy cause. 

You are the glue that brings it all together. You’ll be physically going out there and getting hands-on helping people who need it the most. This makes a big difference to people who want to give but are unsure what difference it’ll make. 

Let’s work together to make it happen

Don’t feel like you’ll have to do this all alone. Our volunteer coordinators and alumni networks are here to support you every step of the way. Whether it’s helping you to craft your story, giving ideas and tips for your events or even just verifying your plans, we’ve got years of experience of successful volunteering. 

If you’re ready to take the next step start your volunteer adventure the process is simple. Fill in the form below and go through the application process. You’ll work directly with your volunteer coordinator who’ll help you reach your personal goals whilst having a life-changing adventure that will make a real impact.

Start Your Volunteer Abroad Adventure Today

Planning your international volunteering placement can seem daunting but we’ll be with you every step of the way.

We’re a small charity that picks its partner projects carefully. This means we can tailor our programmes to fit your skills and goals.

The best way to get started is to fill out our enquiry form. We’ll send you all the information you need to plan your very own volunteer placement.

Start Your Volunteer Journey