In the project

Online seminar for volunteering at Europe's (external) borders


7. Fundraising Tips

Most projects supporting people on the move are reliant on private donations. In this unit, we will give you some insights into private fundraising. Since you may not have had any experience with fundraising so far, we present some ideas and suggestions on how you can start a small fundraiser in order to support your project with donations before, during or after your stay. .

Fundraising & Volunteering

Why is fundraising important in context of volunteering?

  • Supporting people on the move with necessities, medical support and/or legal advice, education and leisure activities always requires money. There is not only the running costs of the project, but also costs in the administrative work of the organisations or simply the travel and supply costs that you yourself have.
  • Of course, such necessary care should not actually be covered by private donations. But unfortunately, the reality at the moment is that there is little or not at all enough public money available to come close to covering the needs.
  • As the running costs in supporting people on the move should not all be covered by few (and always the same) private persons, it is usually a good idea to try and get donations for yourself or for the organisation you are working with.
  • Fundraising is of course optional, and we understand if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. But if you are open to the idea, there are many relatively simple ways and resources to raise funds and share your support with others, as donating is one of the easiest and quickest way to show support.
  • If you are considering collecting donations in kind, be sure to check with your organisation first to see what exactly (and which amount) is needed.

What do I have to pay particular attention to?

  • Basically, there are no limits to your creativity in fundraising, but from our experience, personal conversations are always best in collecting donations.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for a donation to support your volunteer stay. Even if asking for money is always a bit uncomfortable, it is not really necessary here. The necessity of such donations result from a number of structural inconsistencies and inequalities that have nothing to do with you. Trying to combat injustice through various ways is important, and trying to get people involved, who might have more financial resources than you might - also. The worst-case scenario is to be turned down and that's fine too.
  • Pay attention to the DOs and DON'Ts of public relationsin your fundraising campaigns.

Fundraising Options

What are the different options for fundraising?

You can raise funds in many different ways - get creative or think about what might inspire you to support other people and projects with a donation! We have collected a few suggestions for you on how you can collect donations for the project or your personal stay among your friends and acquaintances, but also in public.
Fundraising among friends and an extended circle of acquaintances

  • One way to raise funds within your circle of friends and acquaintances is to talk to people in your immediate environment. These conversations have the advantage that you can report in detail about your concern and that a very personal connection is established, which increases the chances of success of your fundraiser. In addition, you can give the person immediate answers to possible follow-up questions.
  • In times of the Covid-19 pandemic, you will certainly not be able to meet your friends, family and acquaintances in person, so it might be best to pick up the phone and call them. You will see that a phone call can be much more promising than a post, a message or an email.
  • Sending a newsletter with an informative text about your project, a presentation of the project as well as a concrete appeal for donations, in which you declare your willingness to be available for further questions, can have a huge effect, especially if you want to reach many of your friends at the same time and if you can't call them all.
  • At birthday parties, other events or locations where you spend a lot of time (such as school or university), it can be a good idea (even over a longer period of time) to set up a donation box with a short explanatory text. In addition, it is useful to draw attention to the fundraising campaign in a short speech and to stay on site for possible questions.
  • If you have the time and space available, it can be quite useful to organise a small cultural information event, where you give a short talk and/or possibly show a video on the topic and then ask for donations. Other suggestions might be taking part in or organising a flea market, a bake sale or a fundraising marathon where the purpose of your earnings is clarified.
  • You can also report about your project in your club or association, be it sports club, music school or any other free time activities and ask for a donation of money and/or material donations here.
  • As a way of saying thank you, you can suggest to all your donors, for example, that they subscribe to an email newsletter or blog, where you inform them about the project and how their money is being put to use.
Fundraising in public

  • If you want to reach people beyond your personal circle of acquaintances with your call for donations, you can possibly ask local newspapers or radio stationsto spread your fundraising appeal.
  • The most important option for public fundraising is to use the internet.
    Various social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, can be used to create a fundraising campaign, which you can publish and then distribute. For a bigger success, ask your friends to spread the fundraiser on their own channels. There are also various fundraising platforms, such as GoFundMe or Betterplace. Inform yourself about the terms of use in advance, as fees may apply.

  • With all these options for public fundraising in mind, it is especially important that you put a lot of preliminary work into your information text, and provide all relevant information in a clear and concise manner. Follow-up questions are usually difficult to answer during public fundraising campaigns and you should avoid possible mistrust or insecurities of the recipients.

    Since the personal touch is lacking in this version of fundraising, you could think of an appealing and informative headline.

    For this type of fundraising, it is helpful to set a precise target amount with a specific purpose in advance, which you then communicate in detail.

Picking the convenient time for your fundraiser

Why is the timing of your fundraiser relevant?

The timing of your fundraiser comes with different advantages and disadvantages that you should consider. We have listed here the different options for fundraising before, during, or after your volunteer placement for your guidance.
Fundraising before your stay

  • If you want to raise funds for the organisation you will be working with, it is important that you find out about thecurrent needs and expenses of the project before your stay. Contact the project management and ask them for information about the projects for which financial support is currently needed. Often, donations in kind are needed, which you can arrange in advance in your hometown and then bring along on your journey.
  • Since you cannot report from experience yet, it is useful to put together a short information text describing the project and its goals in detail and explaining for which purpose money is currently needed. If you want, also describe your personal plans and why you chose this project to address people personally.
  • There is also the easier option of asking friends, family and acquaintances to help you finance your own expenses, for example, if this enables you to stay longer und support the project more sustainable. This kind of fundraising works according to the idea: "I invest my resources and time for a project that is important to me and it would be great to be supported". Most likely, such approaches encourage people to donate who tend to shy away from official donation accounts.

Fundraising during your stay

  • This option usually proves to be as easiest, as its most authentic, even though you are probably limited to online options. Since you are currently involved in the project, you can tell others directly about your personal impressions and thus motivate them to support you and the project.
  • If you launch an appeal for funds during your stay in the project, it is usually very valuable to give personal insights into your daily work and an assessment of the situation that will help to clarify the urgency of your appeal. Be mindful of the guidelines of solidary public outreach.
  • If you want to use pictures, always check with the project management and respect personal and data protection rights. Regarding this, consult our unit on Public Outreach again.
Fundraising after your stay

  • This option can be a way for you to continue supporting your project after your stay is over, to provide informed public outreach and keep on raising awareness sustainably.
  • The advantage of fundraising after your stay is that you now have a good overview of the situation, that you can pass on information and report about personal impressions and experiences, while all the types of fundraising are at your disposal again - not only online.
  • The personal experiencein the project after your return is usually valuable for fundraising and people trusting you in regards to donating their money. If you decide to set up a donation box at an event, it might be useful to give a short talk about your experiences and to be prepared to answer follow-up questions.
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