Some delegates will pay their costs out-of-pocket; others may need assistance. GCJ will provide materials and support to help delegates with fundraising. We are a 501(c)(3) organization, so donations by individuals, businesses or other groups to cover program costs are tax-deductible. In addition, delegates may be eligible for a matching program through their employers.
Some ideas to get you started.
We believe that cost does not need to be a barrier for anyone to participate in Global Citizen Journey. While fundraising is a challenging project, we believe it can be FUN-raising and also further our mission.
Remember that you will be traveling as a citizen diplomat, doing important work on behalf of those who cannot go themselves. By offering others a chance to support you, in a way that is personally meaningful to them, you give them the opportunity to feel the satisfaction of making a difference in the world. Once you show them the passion you feel for being a delegate, and the results our journey can accomplish, they will be inspired to be a part of the experience.
The key to success is a combination of hard work, careful planning, persistence and inspiration. The process can be interesting and enjoyable, and you will be surprised at the warmth with which people often respond to your requests. Just keep your mind set on your goals, believe that you need and deserve the money, and don’t be embarrassed to ask for money â€“ we realize that most of us are. The most important thing is to try!
Here are some ideas that have worked for others. Be sure to also check out our comprehensive fundraising packet, which includes sample letters and donation forms.
Write a letter asking for sponsorship. Send it to your friends, family, co-workers, professors, doctor, etc. Ask for $5-$100 or whatever you think people can afford. Our Executive Director, Susan Partnow, funded her first citizen diplomacy experience to the Middle East with the request, “I am seeking 100 sponsors at $35 each and a pledge to send them a newsletter and report back with photos.” You might write different letters for different recipients, and offer something in return. Photographs, a report back, a small craft or simply a postcard are all appreciated. One traveler sent out only 15 letters and raised $300, mostly from people who didn’t have much money. Make your letter personal, inspiring and heartfelt.
Get organizational sponsors. Local social change organizations, as well as civic, academic and religious groups are likely to offer their support, especially in exchange for a presentation or article upon your return. Your city’s Chamber of Commerce should have a list of local civic groups. Approach organizations with a specific interest in the area you are to visit. For example:
- If you’re a student, approach the African or International Studies, Public Administration, Political Science or other related department of your school, or student groups that are interested in that part of the world. Ask them to sponsor you for $25-$100 in return for a report from your trip to a class or a meeting. Your university may have funds available for students or alumni.
- Approach research groups interested in issues you’ll be learning about. Your local chapter of an environmental or political group may sponsor you if you agree to help with an event or a mailing upon your return. They may also be interested in a report-back for their newsletter or photographs from the trip.
- If you are active in a religious group, find out if part of a collection could go to sponsor your trip.
- Contact cultural centers, cafes, bookstores and community centers that host presentations. Set up a report-back in return for support.
- Local media may also be interested in your trip. Contact newspapers, television and radio stations and offer to write an article or send a letter.
Organize a fundraising event. You can do this yourself or with friends. Hold a party, a pot-luck, a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon and ask friends for donations and pledges. Try to think of what resources you and your friends have and put them to use. Do you have friends in a band who would hold a concert and split the profits? Would your friends chip in a few extra dollars for a barbeque? Two travelers raised over $1,000 through a pot-luck dinner, charging a $5-$10 donation for friends. One friend cooked, others played music and another auctioned off old political posters. People tend to spend a little extra knowing their money is going to a good cause.
In all cases, personal contact and accountability are key to the success of your fundraising efforts. And keep in mind: each endeavor is a significant opportunity to further the educational and bridge-building mission of Global Citizen Journey. So be sure to have brochures and literature about the project on hand. Recruit friends to help brainstorm and try ideas. Your enthusiasm and motivation will motivate others to help you. So keep a positive attitude and keep trying. Get creative, and let us know what works for you so that we can continue to expand our suggestion list. GOOD LUCK!
Check out our comprehensive fundraising packet for India