We won’t sugarcoat it: volunteering abroad costs money. Between flights and program fees, this trip requires serious saving and budgeting. Yet you see people setting forth to do volunteer abroad projects all the time––even twenty-somethings who haven’t worked long enough to build their savings accounts. So, how do they do it?

Believe it or not, there are many ways to raise the funds for your trip without breaking the bank or funneling all of your savings into your adventure. With a little creativity, drive, and good old-fashioned hard work, you can raise enough money to send you on your merry way. A little money shouldn’t stand between you and your goals, so we’ve researched and identified 5 ways for you to raise at least $700 this month for your volunteer abroad trip, most of which you can start doing today.

1. Me, Myself, & I

Challenge yourself to a weekly self-contribution for just one month. The first week, you can contribute $10, the second week, contribute $20, the third week, $30, and so on. At the end of the month, you’ll have $100 stashed away. But don’t stop there! Try giving up a few “splurges” to contribute to your fundraising. When you’re tempted to buy food instead of making it yourself, save the money and opt for a homemade version. Give up just one $10 lunch, one $20 dinner, or skip the Starbucks line once this month. In addition, channel your inner extreme couponer to try and shed some money off your next grocery receipt with deals you normally wouldn’t take advantage of. By the end of the month, you’ll have saved $55 with these little actions! If you’re an hourly employee, see if you can pick up an extra shift during a busy day this month. You may lose a little free time one day or night, but you’re simply investing in your future trip. Weekly contribution challenge: 10+20+30+40 = $100 Dining out savings: Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Morning coffee: $5 Saved grocery money: $20 Extra shift: $45+ Total personal contribution this month: $200

2. Ask your family and friends

Don’t be afraid to consult your friends and family for help when this experience means so much to you. They’re your strongest support system, and they’ll probably be happy to help you help others on your volunteer abroad trip. We’ve broken it down below to show you how small family and friend donations can help you fundraise in big ways. Ask two close family members (parents, grandparents, guardians) for a $50 donation: $100 Ask five other family members (aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings) for a $20 donation: $100 Ask five friends for $10: $50 Offer your supporters homemade cookies or treats with a handwritten note as a thank you! Total family contribution this month: $250

3. Optimize your GoFundMe page

GoFundMe is a popular and effective way to gather donations for your trip. Your page can be customized for however much you want your goal to be, as well as how you want your page to look and sound. We think an achievable, modest goal amount is $200. Here are some tips for you to make it the best it can be when you launch your GoFundMe campaign to help you reach that goal amount.
  1. Make a video. No need to get fancy––use your smartphone and a computer to make a simple explanation video for why this cause is important to you.
  2. Create a great story about how the impact of your trip will affect yourself and others. Use this in your video and posts to your page to encourage people to donate.
  3. Make social media your best friend. Don’t just share your page on your Facebook wall. Individually message and tag people to make them immediately aware of your page and feel a personal excitement for your cause. This is your simplest solution to reaching many people at once with your message.
  4. Treat your donors like they’re your family. Keep them in the loop about your progress, and remember to share your stories with them, during and after. Don’t let them feel like they donated and never found out how the journey continued.
  5. Extend a BIG thank you! Thank each and every individual who contributes to your cause on a personal level. Send a thank you note, a message, or give a warm thank you when you see them in person. It’ll make them feel that much more excited for you when they feel like they personally helped you achieve your goal.
Total GoFundMe contribution: $200+

4. Reach out to local businesses in your hometown

Businesses will often make tax-deductible donations because it helps them stay connected with neighbors and people in the community. Big corporations might not be your greatest priority because you need to jump through more hoops to get your small request approved. Instead, head to that coffee shop you always frequent on Sundays, or that tiny restaurant where the manager knows your name and order. Ask four local businesses for $25 each: $100 Or, ask a local restaurant to donate a certain percentage of a day’s profits to your cause. Total local business contribution: $100+

5. If you attend a place of worship or belong to a community club, ask about fundraising opportunities

Your place of worship or community club is likely very involved with charitable causes in your area. Reach out and ask if there is an annual spaghetti dinner or monthly meeting. Ask to speak to the attendees about your mission and accept donations or names of donors so you can update them when you travel. You can also ask to hold a special mention at meetings or services in your honor. Don’t be afraid to ask–the worst they’ll say is no. Total contribution: $100


There are endless fundraising ideas out there on the internet. But did you notice how each of our fundraising ideas here are very flexible? We want you to decide the fundraising methods that work best for your schedule and timeline. If engaging social circles is your forte, don’t just raise $200 on your GoFundMe page––raise $600! If you love your job, pick up three extra shifts at work instead of one. Whatever it is you want to do, get creative and get inspired. But no matter what, the most important thing is to not give up. Fundraising may not be the easiest thing to do, but dedicate some extra time and a lot of extra effort, and you’ll see your hard work pay off as your plane takes off for your volunteer abroad trip.

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