Volunteering in Africa/Fundraising

Lately, I’ve had a real need to get out of this city, and just go somewhere for a month or so. Also, a lot of things are just weighing heavily on me, and I just need to do something fulfilling, you know? Well, now I might be able to do both.

A good friend of mine recently returned from Tanzania. She went through the group Global Service Corps, and had an amazing time.

So now, I’m seriously considering taking a semester off of school and going for a month. Now, my friend seemed to think this organization was fabulous and recommended it, but has anyone had any personal experiences with other groups?

Also, I’m going to need to raise some funds for this. My parents are quite excited that I’m doing this - actually, scratch that. My mother is thrilled, my father is worried that I’ll fall too far behind in school. Or get killed. Possibly in that order. But mummy dear did manage to convince him that this will be an amaxing experience for me, so they are very generously offering to pay the program fees. Which still leaves me with airfare from Vancouver to Tanzania to cover.

Are there any ways for a twenty-something girl to raise some money? All the things we did in school for fundraising - bottles drives, bake sales, etc. - need far more people and raise far less money than I need. I’ve got enough sexy friends who own bikinis to set up a bikini carwash, and I certainly plan on slipping this into every conversation I have with tables at work and hope for some extra tips, but I’m wondering what more I can do. Oh, and naked calendar has already been suggested and rejected. :stuck_out_tongue: Though if anyone wants to scrape together a couple thousand bucks for photographs of me in the alltogether, I’d be tempted. :wink:

Thanks dopers.

First of all, good for you for wanting to do this. I bet it will be a great experience, and even the terrible parts will be good for you.

As to fundraising, do you (or your parents) belong to any organizations that might have discretionary funds for things like this? Churches (even ones you don’t belong to) might be a good source of funding, too. Write a letter that includes information about the organization, then call a few days later to follow up. Offer to give a short slide show on your trip after you return, if they would like.

Do you live in a small town with a small town newspaper? They might run a story on you as a human interest thing, and you could ask for funds in the story. heck, you could even offer to send them letters to print–sort of an “our local girl in Africa series.”

Or maybe see if you can put cans in local businesses. People would probably just dump small change, but it adds up and is low cost/low effort. Sort of genteel begging.

Good luck with this. If you email me, I will send you something. It won’t be much, but it will be a start. :slight_smile:

Well, if you’re an undergrad, you could maybe appease dad by trying instead The School for Field Studies in Kenya. That’s a semester long program, 18 credits. This is where I went when feeling the need for an experience, and it was the most amazing thing for me.

To raise the money I needed, I did everything. I worked two part-time jobs. I hit up friends, co-workers, family and random people for donations for a rummage sale. I was at the financial aid office all the time, looking for grants, loans and scholarships. I took out a loan through SFS (no interest!). I once deposited two cents I found on my dash. I told everyone about this. People knew of sources of money. When I found out my vaccinations were going to cost $800 (turned out to be $1000), and my insurance wouldn’t cover it, I ranted to my co-workers. I was told about a slush fund the president of my college had for dispensing funds basically at will to deserving students. I sent him a letter. I got my $800.

The point is to talk it up. Always. And to save like you’ve never saved before. I had to get ~$20,000 to do this (including fun money for being there). I did it by never letting up. I woke up breathing money and went to sleep thinking about new ways to earn it.

A car wash is a great idea. A rummage sale. Do you have artistic talents? Sell something like that. Look for grants, look for loans, look for scholarships. Maybe a bake sale. Seriously, no idea is too silly, because it may lead you to great ideas.

Good luck!

OK, the following joke is rather tired. But with the changes the SDMB is constantly going through, it is nice to be able to latch onto a bit of consistency. Therefore, I feel that I am doing a service to my fellow Dopers by busting out this old chestnut.




Re: danger to your person. Tanzania is relatively calm. You will also be very close to some of the best wildlife viewing on the planet. Do NOT leave without seeing NgoroNgoro Crater, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti.

Thanks for the suggestions so far! BlueKangaroo, I’ve already started a second part time job and I’ve got an interview for another one tomorrow.

One of the problems I’m running into is that when people offer to donate, I don’t have anywhere to put the money. For example, a couple of guys from my dad’s firm have offered to help out quite nicely - we’re talking $100 a person, which will get me started on my goal. But what do I say? Just cut me a cheque for $100 to my personal account? These are people who know my family and know I’m not just going to run off with the money, but what do I do for strangers? I know some local businesses that might help out, but I just want to make sure they know it’s all valid.

Also, online fundraising. There seems to be several American and English sites where you can set up a page and have people donate right into the account. However, I’m not finding any Canadian sites, save one which required me to be a charity. Hmmm…

Talk to your local Rotary club. Rotary International offers scholarships for study abroad, and I know that several of our local Rotary clubs made donations when the college I work at has done service trips in foreign countries. It also couldn’t hurt to get in touch with the Kiwanis, Elks, etc.