If you want to take your elective overseas but don’t have access to the funds to make it happen, there’s good news.
We’ve been busy producing a series of guides on how to raise money to fund your placement. The first of which explores how to find money in the form of bursaries, grants and awards — you’ll find that guide here.
In this instalment — part II — we look at how you can tap into the awesome power of fundraising events.
But surely this won’t make much money?
If that’s what you think, think again.
You should neither doubt the power of fundraising nor your potential to become an excellent fundraiser. If you’ve got enough enthusiasm to sign yourself up for an overseas elective placement, you’re more than capable of throwing yourself into a fundraising campaign and making it a success.
As long as you come up with solid ideas and plan well, you’ll be surprised at how much you can raise.
Once you’ve chosen what you want to do to raise money, you’ll need to work out how to go about setting it up and executing the idea.
This is almost completely dependant on the type of event you’re holding, but there are some fundamentals you should keep in mind.
- Start Early — It can take quite a bit of time to get things in motion.
- Be open and truthful — People have the right to know exactly what you’re doing. Be clear and honest, and whatever you do don’t let people think the funds are going to charity.
- Time ‘the ask’ — It never hurts to ask people to donate after payday!
- Offer potential donors some perspective — Saying things like “Skip out on this week’s takeaway and instead donate £10 to…” can dramatically increase your donations.
- Set a clear target — Make sure both you and your sponsors know the number you’re trying to hit.
- Make it seem achievable — Set yourself small weekly targets. Sometimes aiming for the big number at the top can make it seem impossible.
- Believe in your cause and be proud to be fundraising — If you’re proud and passionate your message will carry great distances. Stick with it and you’ll get there!
Types of event
We’ve compiled a list below of some of the most effective ways to raise money. But there are an infinite number of ways you can tweak, adapt and reengineer the ideas below to suit your needs.
Make things, then sell them. Bake cakes, grow plants, customise clothes, make jewellery - anything!
Perhaps even host a bring and buy sale where participants donate goods to the sale and buy the things that other people brought with them. The profits go towards your cause.
There really is no limit to what you’re able to do, so get creative.
A raffle works by selling numbered tickets to people, obtaining and then labelling prizes with numbers that correspond to some of your sold ticket numbers, then holding a draw to see what people have won.
You can either ask people to donate prizes or buy them yourself. If you choose the latter, be careful not to spend too much money on the prizes unless you’re sure you’re going to make a profit on ticket sales!
There are thousands of options when it comes to competitions, so your best bet is to get online, search through ideas and pick ones you like the most. One of our particular favourites is ‘guess who the baby in the picture is.'
SURPRISE YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC BY DYING YOUR HAIR BRIGHT GREEN FOR A WEEK
Make sure you’ve got an attractive prize, charge a small fee for every competition entry, collect all the correct answers and draw a winner. Simple!
Give up something you love for as long as you feel like you can, and get people to sponsor you. If you succeed, collect the money and put it in your elective fund!
Another classic. Get people to sponsor you to do a run, walk, climb, swim, or whatever inspires you to get active.
Remember to make it challenging enough that it captures people’s interest.
Weird, wild and wonderful
Fundraising has a long history of people taking baked bean baths, waxing their legs and bungee jumping for a good cause.
You might decide to surprise your family, friends and members of the public by dying your hair bright green for a week, styling it into a mohawk or shaving it off altogether.
While it can be amusing to do things like this for fun, do remember to get people to hand over the sponsorship money…
Fundraising sites make this easier
Fundraising used to be walking around in the cold with a clipboard, but no longer. The internet now offers a number of sites that help you track, promote and collect the funding from your campaign.
Signing up for an account is free, but some sites take a percentage of your accrued total for using their service — something to keep in mind.
Here is an example:
When using these services PLEASE read each site’s terms and conditions thoroughly to make sure you’re not breaking any rules!
Setting up a fundraising event is one thing, but letting people know about it is something else entirely.
You’ve gone to all the hard work of planning this thing, so it’d be no good if no one showed up to take part or sponsor you.
Fortunately there are loads of effective ways to get your message out to the masses, most of which are free.
- Tell all your friends and family - Your first point of call is letting your friends and family know. Call your mum, text your friends, write a letter to aunt Maud. Do whatever you can to spread the word among people near and dear.
- Hand out flyers and put up posters - This tried and tested method really works. Put together a poster and a flyer, and spend a weekend in a populated area putting them up and handing them out. Make sure you've got all the relevant details on there such as what you’re doing and why, and the location of your event with a map. If you need to include contact details, use a throwaway email address that you can delete once your event is over.
- Get on social media - Social media is free and gives you access to billions of people’s attention. Start a Facebook page, get Twitter and Instagram accounts and start telling stories about your event. The key is to engage people as early on in the process as you can.
If you do get on social media, be sure to tweet @WorktheWorld and tag us on Facebook or Instagram in your promo and we’ll send it out to our followers.
Don’t forget to say thanks!
Something that a lot of people forget to do is to thank their donors. If someone gives you some money, make sure to say a big thank you. Do this publicly where possible.
When other people see your appreciation they’re more likely to help you out.
Student success examples
We’ve had many students successfully raise funds for their placement. Some of them have been kind enough to write about their experiences for you to read.
Next time we’ll be looking at how to get even more attention for your fundraising event by writing a press release. Don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as difficult or scary as it sounds.
If you’ve got any hints, tips, success stories, or anything at all to say about fundraising, let us know in the comments below.