The world is full of places to explore—and generous people willing to donate resources to enable student travelers. Whether you raised funds with your students as a group or individually, don’t assume your donors know you appreciate their contribution. Take the time to acknowledge their generosity.
While it may not be the most creative idea, never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. If an individual or business supported your entire group, send an official letter of gratitude—but encourage students to write personalized thank-you notes, too.
Additionally, any students who received individual donations from friends, family members or local businesses should write their own letters.
You should send thank-you notes immediately after a donation is made, but sending additional notes after the trip is equally important. Sharing a bit about the trip experience—favorite parts, learning moments and more—is a great way to inform contributors how their donation helped shaped the trip experience.
On the flip side, consider sending postcards to your donors while you’re traveling.
Postcards are easy to find. You might even be able to pick some up at a rest stop. Have students take a few minutes and write personalized thank-you notes. They might even be able to do it while you’re en route to another location or attraction.
Make a video.
Everything is going digital these days. You and your students can, too.
Take photos and video footage during your trip, and use it to create special thank-you videos for your sponsors. You could create a photo slideshow, or string together a series of clips from your trip experience.
You could also film students after the trip as they explain their favorite moments or takeaways.
Give a gift.
Consider picking up small tokens of appreciation during your travels—especially if you traveled overseas. Souvenirs don’t have to be anything costly or expensive. Just a cool relic that shows your donors you’re thankful for their generosity.
Host a party.
Your donors enabled you and your students to explore your destination, so try to bring the destination to them.
A party doesn’t have to be fancy. It could be in your school gymnasium or a local park.
If your students performed on the trip, recreate the performance for your donors—or at least have them perform a number from their repertoire. If your trip wasn’t performance-oriented, consider having students share stories from the experience.
Make sure your guests don’t go hungry. Have students prepare local dishes from their destination—it could be a potluck resulting in a three-course meal, or even just appetizers or desserts.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Teach & Travel.