Keep It Personal

May 8, 2019

While online fundraising platforms such as GoFundMe and DonorsChoose have gained steam in the past few years as popular ways for students to garner funds for their travels, there’s an increasing call from potential benefactors to keep it personal when asking for donations.

Why is that?

More people feel inclined to donate to a cause or fundraiser when they feel a personal connection to it or can easily see their funds at work. Keeping it personal also takes more work—which isn’t always necessarily a bad thing.

Forming a relationship matters! Encourage students to set up meetings, over the phone or in person, with relatives, family friends, and even neighbors to ask for a donation.

Students should do their research before meeting or having the conversation; that way, when the time comes, they’ll be able to articulate the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and—most important—WHY behind their trip. Encourage them to write a list of reasons going on the class trip would be beneficial to them and their education. Afterward, have the students practice reciting the list out loud, so they can convey their points with clarity and confidence.

Even if certain family members or family friends are already game to donate to the campaign, the student should still give their presentation! It’s good practice for the future and shows the donor the student is appreciative and doesn’t assume they’ll just be handed anything.

Does the potential donor still have questions? Have students invite them to a trip-planning meeting at the school or hold a Fundraiser Open House. The more the process and trip are explained to those not closely involved, the more likely it is they’ll see value in it.

Keeping it personal increases the likelihood of gaining a donation and allows students to make their case for what a donation would mean to them. They’ll also develop some pretty awesome speaking skills along the way.

Take It One Step Further.
Ask your students to take it one step further by creating personalized, handwritten thank-you cards for their trip fund donors. Depending on how far out the trip is from when the donation was made, have them include a photo from their unforgettable experience as well. This serves as a way for the students to show they’re thankful, lets the benefactor know how much fun the student had, and increases the chance they would want to donate again in the future.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Teach & Travel.

This article originally appeared in Teach & Travel.