One of the most common barriers to student travel is the cost of a trip. And while there are a variety of steps you as an educator can take to try and help offset some of those fees (traveling in the off-season, choosing an under-the-radar destination, etc.), the financial burden will still undoubtedly exist for many students. It’s understandable then that fundraising is such a critical step in your student travel planning process.
Keep reading for some of the most popular fundraising tips and ideas, shared by our community of educators.
ENGAGE YOUR COMMUNITY
Being visible and present in your local community is a great way to spread awareness of your trip and get those in the community invested. The same can be said for potential corporate sponsors.
Use photos and testimonials from past trips to demonstrate the value of travel! This allows potential donors to see how their funds will be used and hear the benefits firsthand, in addition to you building rapport with local businesses who may become repeat sponsors.
GET THE GOODS
Selling tangible items is a classic, yet tried-and-true way to garner financial support for your trip. The trick is making sure you’re offering something that’s useful to a large variety of people; rarely do folks want a knickknack that doesn’t serve a purpose.
Common popular items include sweets like candy or chocolate, food items like pizza kits or popcorn, seasonal gifts like poinsettias or wreaths, home goods like candles, and even handmade crafts made by the students themselves.
EVENTS AND AUCTIONS
Fundraising events (car washes, restaurant nights, bake sales, raffles, etc.) are exciting and often successful ways to collect funds for your trip. Host a silent auction of donated goods from area businesses; organize a second-hand/vintage market where students and families can donate goods from their own homes for sale; or put on a talent show or trivia night and sell tickets.
Service opportunities are also a stellar way for students to lend a hand in the community in exchange for trip funds—think working a local fair, doing yardwork/shoveling snow, a nature cleanup, etc.
Note: Be sure to check in with your school district to ensure there aren’t certain restrictions on the ways in which you can fundraise.
Overall, planning early is paramount, especially when one of the main benefits is offering your students even more time to fundraise. You might even work out payment plans with families in order to make the trip a reality. Many schools work at least a year in advance, sometimes two. Map out what financial expectations there are and communicate any payment deadlines to parents and families as early as possible.
Scholarships specific to student travel, much like the ones made available by the SYTA Youth Foundation, are worth pursuing and help make travel possible for thousands of students.
SYTA Youth Foundation’s Fall ’22 Road Scholarship application window opens September 19 through November 11. To read scholarship criteria and to apply, visit sytayouthfoundation.org.
Article originally appeared in Teach & Travel’s September 2022 issue, written by Sarah Suydam.