Finances and Fundraising
Many people are surprised to find that it costs money to volunteer overseas. The reason for organisations charging a placement fee is that it takes resources to set up and maintain effective volunteer programs.
A good way to assess the financial value of a program is to look at exactly what you get for your placement fee.
Consider how your placement fee will be spent. What is the cost of the project? What exactly does your money pay for? What proportion of the cost is attributed to admin and marketing?
Things that could be included are:
- International transportation – e.g. flights
- In country transportation e.g. bus to your project each day
- Insurance – baggage insurance and health
- Emergency support and cover
- Stipend for living expenses
- Language tuition
- Technical training
- TEFL training
- Help with Passport and visa application and payment of fees
- Pre departure training, information, welcome pack and support
- Airport pick up
- In country orientation
- Staff support in country
- Equipment for work at the project e.g. tools, nursing supplies
- Equipment to support the volunteer e.g. access to the internet, mobile phones, books
Many international volunteer organisations have useful fundraising sections on their websites.
There should be transparency in fundraising to volunteer overseas. For example if you are wanting to fundraise to cover your costs for the trip, you need make it clear to potential donors that their money may pay for the individual rather than go to the actual charity e.g. flights and expenses rather than direct to a community or an orphanage for example.
Think about who your donors are.
For example Shell or Nestle have sponsored ‘development’ projects in the past. What do you have to do in return? E.g. do you have to publicise an unethical or culturally sensitive issue or product with no background information or experience e.g. sexual health campaigns in African countries.
Fundraise as an individual – yes the good old sponsorship forms! Be as inventive as possible and consider everything from sky diving, running a marathon to having a party/cheese and wine evening/murder mystery/treasure hunt/comedy night/hire a venue with a DJ etc and selling tickets. Also fundraising is often more successful if you link it in with what you are doing overseas.
Try and think of a specific connection if you are approaching larger companies or businesses.
Approach organisations you have connections with– your employer, former school, university, church group, youth club, local Rotary, friends and families’ contacts.
- Rotary International offers a variety of scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students. More information about their programs can be found on their website.
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Awards (various fellowships and grants)
IDRC funds and administers a number of award programs in the field of international development.
Platform2 is DfID’s global volunteering initiative. It is aimed at youth from the UK.
Remember to maintain a relationship and contact with your donors where appropriate. They may wish to be included on e-mailed updates of your work or receive a presentation or report after your trip. If you agree to this, do fulfil the promise as it will affect other people chances of successfully securing funding in the future.