Fundraising For Your Philanthropic Adventures

Fundraising is scary and nine times out of ten, it is hard work. Making yourself vulnerable enough to ask people for money is even harder. Once you are able to let go of the uncertainty of how others will respond, and put together a fundraising strategy, you may surprise yourself.

I have an undeniable love for travel, adventure, and philanthropy. It’s like the perfect storm. And I know I’m not alone.

There are endless organizations out there created to get your hands dirty. Those organizations are designed to coordinate the logistics of your trip and connect you with direct service opportunities to really make the greatest impact.

The hard part is that they all come with a price tag (sometimes a hefty one) and that alone can be intimidating. We’re talking, standing naked in front of a crowded room, kind of fear.

Don’t turn and run yet though.

People are often searching for a way to support one another and give back. Your volunteer efforts could be exactly what they are looking for.

At least once a year, my husband and I are asking friends, family, and even strangers for money to support a cause. At this point, they expect it and some have even worked us in to their annual budget. If you are dreaming of a little adventure volunteerism, but have no idea how to raise the support you need to make it happen, this is for you.

Ideas that might just work…

Before you even get started, ask the organization that you are traveling or volunteering with if they have a tax exempt ID. You are more likely to gain financial support if your donors can write off their contribution on their taxes.

Solicitation Letters

This is (and may always be) my most recommended form of fundraising. When I say send a letter to every human you can think of, I mean send a letter to every human you can think of- doctors, teachers, family, friends, bosses, co-workers, you name it.

You truly never know who will donate and how much they are willing to give, so the more letters you send, the better.

  • If you send to any businesses, be sure to have a specific person in mind that the letter gets addressed to. Otherwise, those tend to get pushed aside.
  • Include what you will be doing, WHY (so important) you are doing it, and how much you need to raise.
  • Include how people can pay- cash, check (made out to whom), Venmo, PayPal, fundraising website, etc.
  • I like to throw in a photo or additional info that pertains to the work I’ll be doing as well as an addressed return envelope to make the mailing process a step easier.
Donated Sky Miles

Depending on where you are traveling to, you will more than likely be flying. Some organizations will include your flight cost in with your overall fees, but many leave it up to the volunteer. Asking for donated sky miles can help offset some of that extra cost and still allow people to contribute to your efforts. High five to that.

Sky Miles fundraising
Flying for free to Peru thanks to donated miles!
Get Face-to-Face

There’s nothing better than a good conversation. Being face-to-face with someone allows you to be more transparent with your actions and can help alleviate any questions or concerns the donor may have. I’m a personal fan of coffee and philanthropy talks.

Online Platforms

If you have a good social media presence, it never hurts to create a free online fundraising campaign. Keep in mind that some platforms will include a small fee that gets taken out of your donation amount (ex: if someone donates $20, you may only receive $19.30 of it).

  • Include photos and/or a video of who you will be working with, what you will be doing, etc.
  • Provide a detailed description of your efforts (similar to the solicitation letter) as well as updates throughout your fundraising
  • Share the link to your fundraising page on any and all social media accounts- multiple times! Ask your friends to share too.
  • Platforms that work: Razoo, GoFundMe, Fundly, Crowdrise
GoFundMe fundraising
GoFundMe Campaign Example
Get Creative

Use your talents and skills! Lead a donation-based hike, host a bake sale, walk dogs, or design and sell t-shirts. The fundraising world is your oyster. If you feel stuck at any point, this list can help spark new ideas.

Pancake fundraising
Pancake fundraiser & good friends willing to help

When you have returned from your adventure, don’t forget to thank those that made it happen.

Send postcards with photos from your trip. Draft a newsletter detailing your experience. And reassure them that through their contribution to your efforts, they left their mark on the world too. You will want them around for your next philanthropic adventure.

Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.
-Hank Rosso

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Bethany Green
Bethany Green

Writer & Youth Programs Manager

Co-founder of High Tide Adventure, a nonprofit crafting unique opportunities for today’s youth to develop leadership and social skills through adventure and service experiences.

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