Wouldn’t it be great if you could really multiply the benefits of your volunteer work in Africa? If you could experience another culture, make a difference to the lives of others, and raise additional funding to help support the community once you’re gone, would that motivate you even more? A key part of any volunteer work in Africa that many people embrace is collecting donations before they take off for their project.
Over the years we have had people fundraising for us and being able to buy new hospital beds, furnish school classrooms, and buy kids school uniforms. One volunteer, David from Germany, has got a team together who have fundraised to have an entire water station built. This will bring clean and accessible water to not just a school but also a community. He starts his project in March 2018 with a group of his friends, and will document the whole experience.
Learning funding support skills is a great business advantage. If you own or plan to own your own business, want to work in not-for-profit fields or if you ever need to promote yourself to get into a course, win over a mentor or earn sponsorship, then raising money to travel as part of your African volunteer project gets you what you really need. Practice.
You can look for project donations within your existing networks of friends, family, teachers and work colleagues, you can also step just outside of your current network to your local community, or go global with online awareness campaigns through crowdfunding.
Anyone can create a video or blog to raise awareness for their cause and ask for input, here are some tips to help you get going.
Strategies to raise funds for volunteer work in Africa
It’s all about telling the right story; your story, and telling it truthfully. Start with the reason you want to be a change maker. This is the most important thing. Lots of people start a profile, About Page or letter of introduction all about their history, how they came to be here. When you are asking people to assist you, it’s not about where you have been, it’s about where you are going next. What you want to achieve and how you will achieve that is the highlight of your funding request. The future is the reason people are making a donation, they want to help you to accomplish your goal.
Be completely honest. When I say honest it’s not just about telling the truth, I mean open up, get emotion on a real-life level (not a soap opera) and show people who you actually are.
Keep it simple. People are low on time. State what you need and how it will help and when you need it by. If you do it with impact, a short message will cut through faster and stay in their mind.
Represent yourself accurately. Unfortunately, there are a lot of potential scammers out there, so you need to present yourself in a way that is completely genuine. In your personal profile include personal information so they can find you on social media platforms if necessary, like your age, the town you live and your name. If you are a student include your course and school.
If you are committed to going to volunteering in Africa (and you should be 100% committed if you are getting ready to raise money) you should include the name of the company you are going with, what projects you will be involved with, and provide a breakdown of your itinerary or link to a detailed itinerary of your trip.
Make mistakes. If you are presenting a video it’s okay to make mistakes. If you notice a cough or a stumbled word, keep going, it will give you practice going all the way through to the end. Stay in the zone and be nice to yourself. When you play it back it might not even be so bad. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be done. When it comes to a written request, keep it short, include photos and proofread!
Give something back if you can. Promise to share your journey via blogs, vlogs or a published online diary (and stick to your promise). It is impacting to say thank you to those who assisted you within those blogs to let them know they are acknowledged. Is there a place you can display logos of the companies, businesses or schools that have helped you? Maybe you can promise to take photos while you are there with something of theirs or offer to take something on their behalf, gifts to the village or the schools that will be given in their name and directly impact the community?
If appropriate you could volunteer to do a presentation when you get back to show people just how enriching and beneficial it was. If so, take photos and pick stories while you are there that will be especially impacting for this group (or groups). Get creative, you have so much you can give, it often helps people feel more comfortable about receiving as well.
Now is not the time to be shy. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable to share a need, just remember why you are doing this. Your goal will outweigh your fear. It’s so important that you give people the opportunity to help you. Don’t pick and choose from your list who you think will and will not be receptive, people will surprise you, so give them all a chance. If they are not able to help at this time, they might know someone who can. The further you reach the more chance you have of being successful, so put those feelings of uncertainty aside, it’s time to be bold. And remember, you are giving people a choice, you are allowing them to choose how they will spend their money, they are not obligated to so if they do not respond, don’t take it personally, honour their choice and keep going. You will need to be resilient and resourceful so keep this in mind and practice, practice, practice.
To help further your reach ask the people you send it to to also send it along to anyone they’d like. It will really help your cause to get your invitation out to as many people as possible so share and share and share as far as you can manage. If you already use different social media platforms make sure you share across all of them so that your photo on Instagram can lead back to your blog or crowdfunding page and vice versa. Think of it as building a beautiful spiders web, stretch to the furthest corners with intricate loops in-between.
Make good on your promises, do what you say you will. If you are blogging or videoing start before you get there. Include immunisation days, packing, anything that occurs in order to get you there is part of the process and will help get into good habits about posting frequently and get you some practice if you aren’t used to sharing your day with others via blogs and vlogs. Be flexible, there isn’t a right way or a wrong way to do this, figure out the style and structure that works for you and you can maintain with confidence and do that.
Along with your volunteer work in Africa, the money you raise will create more change than you could possibly imagine.