I funded 97% of my trip with an email!
I had considered this trip for a while (you can ask Taylor). I knew I had the vacation time accrued, but the fundraising was the most daunting part for me.
I brought it up to my boss and she committed $300 there and then and blocked off the vacation time. With that catalyst and start in the fundraising, I felt encouraged and realized that it was doable so I emailed everyone I knew.
I sent an email (sample below) to my personal contacts, all blind copied (in chunks of 20 or so or by alphabetical letter so it wouldn't get caught in spam). There were 111 total recipients.
That one email started it all. My colleague was the first donor, and he shared it on his Facebook page and immediately after I got a donation from our mutual friend.
I believe it helped that I have donated to some of my friend’s causes in the past. I also think it helped to clearly explain what I wanted to do with the donation.
I know mine was an amazing response and not everyone can expect such a high percentage from that small list but I think it would be a great start for anyone. It is worth noting that I got donations from $20 to $500.
For those who donated, I sent them a personalized note of thanks via email and I intend to send them a postcard from Peru.
Hi friends & family,
While I love eating and drinking in fabulous world-class cosmopolitan cities for work and pleasure, I have been wanting a “different” vacation for some time: Different culture, different pace and to connect with folks in a different walk of life.
As most of you know, I was a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas in high school (admittedly a very long time ago) and LOVED my time in rural Mexico and the Dominican Republic. I looked for a program similar to Amigos; a program where (although I’m not a high school kid) I can volunteer for community service in another (Spanish-speaking) culture. I found Cross-Cultural Solutions.
Starting on March 21, I will spend 2 weeks in Lima, Peru. I will learn more about what I get to do specifically in the coming weeks, but have committed to give the gift of my time, energy, ideas, and moral and physical support to this community. I’ll be helping improve education for children with individualized classroom support and English language lessons. I will also spend time with elderly; home visits kind of like Meals on Wheels, it sounds like. I will get to work alongside Peruvian locals on these community development projects.
They say I’ll change the lives of others for the better. At the very least, I expect to get to live somewhat like a local, not a tourist, with full language and cultural immersion. Sounds cool? Good. If you think it really sounds cool, you may contribute to this cause!