Updated: Dec 3, 2022
Margot (not her real name) wanted to work internationally, she had the skills, organizations wanted her, so Margot needed to quickly learn how to raise money.
To make it complicated, Margot is living just outside of a religiously repressive, heavily guarded, deeply suspicious regime in Asia. War is common in the region and thousands of refugees are fleeing for their lives.
Margot works to support anyone in need. She steps in to help out a minority group who are attacked for their faith. She translates for people. She helps people understand government forms and how to raise money to emigrate. Many of the refugees were trying to get to Canada or the US and Margot helps with the process.
Not Bad for a Volunteer
What is doubly impressive about this story is that Margot is a volunteer. She has to fundraise to make it happen.
She does this work for free and actually pays her own way over. Margot is not a rich woman. Not as rich as you probably.
She is an immigrant. She had to scrimp and save for a year. A few friends helped with their donations.
Then the money ran out.
The work was important, she wanted to stay, but did not know how to make it happen.
Money was getting tight.
She asked for my advice on how to raise money so she could stay. What would you say to her? The people who stay have learned the secret, they know how to raise money so they can stay on-field.
A self-funded volunteer is something unique.
Plenty of people talk about helping out, doing a good deed, travelling. But volunteers who pay their own way are unique. They actually do what everyone else just talks about. They take off a semester, or they start their first day of retirement by travelling to Timbuktu.
That is unusual
Think about it for a moment. Why should they do this? They could stay home, but they don’t. They dream dreams – and instead of rationalizing them away, they make them happen!
Volunteers are the scapegoat for sustainability, and yet whole agencies could not survive without their naive, beautiful hearts.
Volunteers are the brave few that actually commit to the unknown road. They put dollars or pounds or pesos on the table to start a trip that they cannot know the end of. They enter full of hope and wonder, usually a bit naïve, but always inspiring. They learn as they go and they hope for the best.
They know they don’t have a lot, but they give it away.
It is not about the money
I travel around the world and when I talk to people from other countries they are tickled at the thought of a volunteer, they ask me in amazement, “They pay their own way! They fundraise their own flight?!” People love the strangeness of volunteers.
Friends and family wonder how to raise money. They are torn between the desire to support them or strangle them. It is tough to see a friend, mother, son, cousin or partner leave to go help out some strangers. They want them to give up on their dreams already and join the rest of us in reality.
Great volunteers know it is not about the money. It is about their passion to step out where others sit by. It is not about getting rich, it is about having enough money to find the ability to stay on-field longer and do more.
How to Raise Money
So how do they do it? If you are willing to go these are the 3 keys how to raise money. If you want to volunteer overseas, but you are not sure how to raise money, pay attention to this side-show and you might find yourself on a plane a LOT sooner than you think!
If money was no object, where would you go?
P.S. If you are wondering. Yes, Margot was able to figure out how to raise money, enough to stay. Another crazy happy volunteer :)