our 5 proven fundraising ideas

Volunteering abroad, and international travel in general, is expensive. There’s no way around it. Vaccinations, insurance, volunteer program fees, airfare, visas, spending money… it all adds up!

In fact, many of our volunteers fund raise for some or all of these expenses when planning their volunteer trip to Uganda. Here we share a few ideas that have worked for them.

Feel free to try a few and let us know the results!

The Real Uganda offers 2 – 12 week locally-led communty-based volunteer programs.

Okay, enough said. Here are our 5 proven fundraising ideas for volunteer abroad trips!

1. crowdfund

There are a tonne of great crowdfunding platforms out there these days. The Real Uganda partners with FundMyTravel. They have a secure platform that connects your volunteer trip fundraiser directly with our programs.

It takes 60 seconds to set up a profile. Donations are automatically forwarded to you as they come in. It’s easy and fun to share on social media as well.

Tips: Take your time explaining the purpose of your trip to your followers. Keep people involved every step of the way with stories and photos of your preparations. Have a clear budget set out at the beginning, and inform everyone when you receive a contribution. And get started early!

We love that this platform is dedicated to funding travel. They make it easy to budget your trip, incentivize donors to contribute, and even request offline support. They believe in the power of travel and want to make it possible for anyone to take the trip of their dreams!

2. host a dinner party

Have your family and friends over and cook a huge meal inspired by your destination country. Pinterest is a gold-mine for international meal ideas. Make it BYOB to cut your costs.

Have everyone throw $10 or $15 on the table to cover food expenses. Explain how the funds left over will help fund your volunteer trip.

This is a great way to initially get people involved in your trip. You can clearly explain your goals to the group in person.

While you’ve got everyone together, why not hold a small auction? People can bid on a gift basket or a cake. How about offering your own yard work, car wash, or cleaning services?

After a couple drinks, this gets fun!

Promise them a post-trip slide show or a handmade souvenir from your travels as a thank-you.

And don’t forget to plug your crowdfunding page.

3. sell t-shirts

There are a number of t-shirt companies helping individuals and groups to raise funds. My favourite is Bonfire. You design a t-shirt (or use one of ours!) and they take care of everything else, like inventory, packing, and shipping – with no risk to you.

I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love a rad t-shirt. Don’t forget to buy one for yourself to wear while you’re volunteering abroad.

4. hold a yard sale or Book sale

Canvass for used household items, clothing, and books. People love donating their old stuff when they think it’s going to Africa. The popularity of e-readers has people getting rid of their print books anyway.

Gently tell your donors you’re not actually carrying their (heavy) items around the world. Rather, the funds raised from their sale at home will be used to benefit your destination country’s people and support its economy.

I bet folks will appreciate your understanding of economic development and sustainability, and will start looking for even more items to donate to your sale!

This is a great way to get your cash poor friends involved in fundraising for your mission trip.

The Real Uganda is signatory to the 13 Future of Tourism Guiding Principles

future of tourism logo

5. get a local restaurant or cafe involved

If you or someone you know works in food service, ask management to set aside a day or evening when a percentage of the meals or drinks sold can go toward your cause.

Offer to do the promotion and bring in new customers during non-peak hours. That way you bring value to that business beyond the humanitarian aspect.

If it works, there may be opportunities to reprise the event!

There you go – 5 great fundraising ideas straight from our former volunteers. Good luck with your efforts and don’t forget to let us know how it goes.

Got any more great ideas to get people involved in your volunteer abroad trip? Contact us!

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