Adventures in fundraising (Part 2)

And now for the much anticipated conclusion of my adventures in fundraising.

Just a week after my letters went out, I got three checks in the mail for $10, $25, and $50. At that point, I was just relieved to have received a response. And not just one response; three! Over the next several days, more letters arrived and each one contained a check and a quick note of encouragement from the donor. Within two weeks, I had received over 30 responses and almost $2,000 to put toward my trip. Anxiously opening letters to add up donations quickly became a daily ritual. I was overwhelmed with gratitude toward my friends and family.

The day that I booked my flight, it was suddenly real. I was going to Tanzania!

When all was said and done, I got over 90 responses from my letter-writing campaign totaling close to $6,500. This covered my four-week CCS program in Tanzania, airfare, and visas.

To this day, I can’t figure out a proper way to thank each one of my sponsors enough. My time volunteering in Tanzania helped me to grow into the person I am today. It has led me to my dream job and helped me discover a passion and a zest for life that I never knew I had. To all of you amazing people in my life, here is another great big asante sana for sponsoring my volunteer experience in Tanzania!

So what did I learn from the experience, and what do I hope you’ve learned from reading my story?

  • Fundraising your way to your volunteer adventure is so empowering! Take the first step by making the deposit; you and I both know that you won't let that $275 go to waste—do you know how much ramen that can buy? Then, give yourself a deadline and make it happen.

  • People can, and will, surprise you. It may feel strange to ask people for donations, but your network is there to support you and help you reach your personal goals. Plus, you don’t know until you ask.

  • Print your letters on colored paper. We all saw Legally Blonde; Elle Woods got that high profile case because her resume was pink. It is an attention grabber! And bills come on white paper. Do yourself a favor and be more exciting than the cable company.

  • Be passionate about something. Whether it's a trip to Tanzania, getting a master’s degree, or winning a watermelon seed spitting contest, your life has more meaning when you are working toward a goal. Pick something that suits you and go for it!

  • Write thank-you notes. Stop rolling your eyes. Write them.

For more information on how to save and fundraise your way toward your goal, check out these other blog posts and our fundraising tips.

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