Having a sponsor to help finance your Work the World trip can relieve a lot of pressure.
Sponsorships are when a business or group donate money to a cause in exchange for promotion, or as a goodwill gesture.
Types of sponsor
There are a few different ways to find a sponsor, and we’ve covered the most common ones below.
Businesses in your community, like local law firms or realtors, may have an allocation of funds for philanthropy and goodwill. National companies with branches in your town are also likely to be allocated funds as part of their community projects.
By approaching them with a reasonable request for sponsorship and using your current networks wisely, you might be able to convince them to part with some cash towards your overseas placement. Below, we’ll explain the best way to go about doing this.
LOCAL GROUPS AND ORGANISATIONS
As with local businesses, local groups, like interest or social groups, may also donate towards your cause or organise some fundraising alongside yours. Remember that every little helps, no matter how big or small the amount is.
With corporate sponsorship, it’s often about who you know! Call in some favours with contacts at national or even international companies and see if they’re interested in sponsoring your trip as a company.
At Work the World, we’ve seen many students successfully raise funds this way, with sponsorships of money (or kind) from some big retailers. Below, we’ve detailed other things you can ask for instead of financial contributions, too.
HOW TO APPROACH A SPONSOR
Here are some top tips to give you the best chance to secure funds. We’ve even provided an example email templates for you to get started.
- Remember that whilst your learning goals, objectives and dream to travel are important to you, that might not be enough reason for someone else to part with their cash to help you out
- Detail all the other reasons that your trip is a good idea, such as cultural exchange, experiencing a low resource setting and being able to educate your peers on your return
- Try to personalize each letter or email to each company you’re approaching, and include details about why you like their work, any experiences you’ve had there or why you’ve chosen them to approach
- If you can find out the particular person within the company you’d like to write to, it’s much more effective than “Dear Sir/Ma'am”: a little research goes a long way
- Thoroughly proofread, or have someone else proofread your letter — spelling and grammar mistakes won’t leave a good impression
- What are they getting in return? Try and think of some incentives for your sponsor before you write to them
- Could you write an article for their company newsletter, or come in and give a talk about your experiences? Maybe you could thank them on your blog, or write a case study for your university and mention your generous sponsors
Dear Ms. Smith,
My name is [X] and I am a student at [X] University, studying [X]. I’m in my second year of study and hope to become a qualified [X] in the next two years. I am writing to you regarding my upcoming trip to Ghana, where I will be practising [X] in a low-resource hospital, to see if you may be able to provide sponsorship for this very important experience.
Mention the business or person…
I am a regular customer of your camping store, Smith’s Outdoor Supplies, and plan to take my recently purchased backpack with me to Ghana!
Why are you taking this trip?
My trip to Ghana will mean I get to experience practising [X] in a developing country and get first-hand experience of a very different clinical setting to that at home. I will be there for [X] weeks and keeping a diary of my experiences, as well as publishing a research article and giving a presentation upon my return. The hospital I will be visiting in Ghana is one of the busiest in the country and provides care to many of Ghana’s poor. I am taking my trip with Work the World, a reputable company who have been conducting healthcare trips to developing countries for over a decade.
How much money do you need?
I need to raise $900 to cover the remainder of my trip; the other funds have been gained through my fundraising efforts: cake sales, a sponsored skydive and a silent auction. I hoped that you may be able to provide me with a donation towards the final goal of my trip. I have been generously given donations from $50 to $500 to go towards this life-changing trip, and would gratefully receive anything you are able to donate.
What do they get in return?
I would be delighted to share my experience with your staff on my return, by giving a presentation about the differences in care in Ghana, as well as thank you in my article that is due to be published on the University medical blog. I would be happy to share some of my photographs from my trip, if you would like to include them in your in-store newsletter.
AND IF THEY SAY NO?
Realistically, you’ll have to make a few attempts before you find a suitable sponsor — it’s likely that the people you reach out to get requests like this frequently.
They may even say no, but don’t take it personally. There could be a number of reasons they aren’t able to financially support you. However, all is not lost, as there could be another way to make the most of this new connection.
For example, you could ask if you could swing by their office with some cakes and do a collection, or invite staff to a quiz you’ve organised. There are plenty of ways to get people involved in the cause.
Cash isn’t always king
If you’ve budgeted for your trip properly, you’ll know fairly accurately how much money you’ll need for the essentials, such as flights and insurance.
Often, sponsors will want to know exactly where their money is being used, and so why not cut out the middleman and ask directly for some of the things you need? If you’re approaching a local travel agent for sponsorship, you could ask them to organize your flights for you with a discount. A local luggage store might be able to donate you a suitcase to take on your travels, or a mall sports retailer might offer you some gear, such as walking boots or waterproofs!
If you’re planning on donating supplies to the hospital you’re going to work in, we strongly advise waiting until you’re actually in-country so you can assess the hospital’s needs better.