Tour planning

Why should you fundraise?

I firmly believe that if you are going to offer kids the world, you have to help them get there. Before I booked my first EF tour, I felt strongly, some would even say vehemently, that it was also my duty to make the trip affordable to EVERY kid who wanted to go.

I work in a very affluent district. Most families can afford to pay for trips in one payment—but that doesn’t mean every family can. I never want money to be a reason a kid doesn’t travel. I would even argue that kids who don’t have the money are exactly the kids who need to travel. When else will they have the opportunity to hike Machu Picchu? Or walk on the Great Wall of China?

Just so you understand my mindset . . . I feel it is my duty to fundraise. And (in my opinion) so should you.

Don’t get me wrong, EF makes financing a trip very manageable. Monthly payments, early enrollment incentives, donation pages—they do their part to make travel accessible. But there are some families who still are not in the position to see the possibilities. That’s where fundraising and a little perseverance comes in.

Here’s a few vital fundraising tips to consider before you begin to develop your own fundraising program:

  1. Find a supportive administrator. You need a partner in crime, so to speak. Someone willing to say yes to any and all ideas you might try.
  2. Be willing to try anything. At least once. Some ideas will be fantastic, and kids will make money. Some . . . well, see #3!
  3. Be prepared to fail. Some of my fundraising ideas have raised $5. Total. That cannot discourage you! Just move on to another idea.
  4. Don’t be afraid to hear “no.” When fundraising, you can’t take a “no” personally. Looking for a donation? Ask. Have a new idea you want to get approval on? Ask.
  5. Remember your #1 goal. Getting kids out of their comfort zone and out into the world. When I get frustrated with a failure or feel I am spending more time on a project than I want to, I remember the look on a kid’s face when they discover something about the world they never knew. That alone makes it all worth the effort.

My tenacity has paid off in big ways. So will yours. Be patient, and know that it is a slow process to build a fundraising program that is long-term and sustainable.

Although not all of my travelers participate in fundraising, those who do usually go big. Students who participate are able to pay half (if not more) of their tour cost through fundraising and have been able to travel to Peru, Nicaragua, China, Europe, and Tanzania. These fundraising efforts have helped me establish a scholarship fund, which allows me to provide even more money to students in need.

You may be asking yourself as you prepare for your next trip, ‘Why should I fundraise?’ But you should really be asking yourself, ‘Why wouldn’t I?’ 

Looking for some ideas to get you started? Check out all of our fundraising tips here.

Topics: Fundraising

Shannon May

Shannon is an 8th grade science teacher in New Albany, Ohio. She enjoys traveling and sharing these experiences with her students. In June 2019, she will travel to her fifth continent (Africa!) with middle school students.

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