How to Raise Money for a Volunteer Trip Overseas

You dream of assisting people in a developing country, but the costs may be more of a nightmare. Between travel accommodations and the cost of training, nonprofit expert Jayne Cravens says you may run into thousands of dollars of expenses. Fortunately, there are many ways to raise funds online and off.

West African Nurse Washing Hands
Concrete goals, such as increasing crops, can encourage donations.
credit: BethanyFank/iStock/Getty Images

Get Social Online

Create a website or blog about your quest to volunteer abroad. To help entice people to give, write about the work you will be doing, how it will help others and how you'll put to use in the future what you'll learn volunteering. Statistics relating to your cause, such as housing problems or agricultural conditions, can help bolster your personal experiences. Update your site regularly with news of the results of your fundraising efforts, adding new stories, pictures and videos frequently. Promise those visiting you'll provide thoughts, photos and video during and after your trip to help them share your experience. Your goal is to make people feel part of something bigger than themselves.

Put Crowdfunding to Work

Crowdfunding means raising money, typically in small amounts using online tools, from a large number of people through sites that enable you to set up a Web page specifically to pledge your cause and collect donations. Many sites also allow you to offer incentives, such as a book related to the country you'll visit, for anyone donating $25 or more. Use your Facebook page, Twitter stream and email to keep people apprised of your trip and fundraising. Twitter, for example, enables a person you don't know personally to learn of your trip and donate a small amount of cash because it's not a huge investment. Ask your friends, relatives and associates to promote your cause on their Twitter account and Facebook pages, too.

Talk and Talk

Contact local groups, such as your church, and ask if you can provide a presentation on your trip and request donations. Create a presentation blending messages from your website or blog, photos, videos and statistics on the area you'll volunteer in. If your city has a population of immigrants from the area you hope to travel to, ask their social groups or business associations if you can make your presentation. Also contact your local newspaper for a possible interview about your trip, and include information about your fundraising.

Have a Fun Time

Hold a special event fundraiser. Unleash your imagination here. You could hold a craft sale with items made in or representative of the country you'll be volunteering in, such as baskets or beaded jewelry. You could also host a dinner party at your house with food representative of the country you'll be going to as its theme. Let friends know beforehand that it's a fundraiser, and charge an entry fee.

Put Yourself to Work

Show potential supporters you're serious about fundraising by getting a part-time job to help fund your trip. A particularly useful part-time job might be working with home construction crews if you're going to help build homes, or tutoring children in English if you'll be teaching English overseas.