Why should I fundraise?
For many students, fundraising can be an important part of preparing to become an AFSer. We encourage all students to take part in some sort of fundraising campaign. Beyond simply covering the cost of the program, it can help foster invaluable skills and a sense of self-sufficiency that will benefit you on your AFS program and beyond.
Through the experience of creating and executing your fundraising strategy, you can learn how to be more resourceful, take greater initiative, and master effective networking and communication skills - all things that are crucial to success in the 21st century, whether you're abroad or here at home.
Where do I start?
The first thing you should do is read the AFS Fundraising Guide. This is a great place to get started, even if you aren't a first-time fundraiser. It walks you through each stage of running a successful fundraiser, such as setting a budget, brainstorming ideas, and maximizing your fundraising potential. You'll likely find that the idea of fundraising is less overwhelming than you may have thought!
We know it may seem a little daunting at first, but plenty of AFSers have raised thousands of dollars with the help of their family and friends. Not to mention, we're here to help you along the way! Please let us know if you have questions or concerns, or just need help getting the ball rolling.
Remember, fundraising is more than just asking people for money. If you plan your fundraisers right, people will feel invested in your goal, and will be happy with what they get out of participating. Check out our Top Fundraising Ideas for real-life examples of successful AFSers.
Can I use an online crowd-sourcing tool to fundraise for my AFS program?
Yes! Did you know that AFS has its own crowd-sourced fundraising tool called Sponsor an AFSer? It's free to use and 100% of every contribution you receive goes directly toward your program fee.
In order to sign up, create a blog and then add a personalized widget to your blog that allows people to contribute directly to your program. We'll help you along the way by making sure all the contributions you receive get applied to your account and notifying you each time someone contributes! All you have to do is spread the word.
For more details, read the Sponsor an AFSer FAQs.
Of course, there are many other crowd-sourcing tools available to you; GoFundMe and Indiegogo are popular sites for online fundraising. You absolutely can use any of these online tools to reach your study abroad goals, though keep in mind that they may take a cut of your earnings. Either way, just be sure to do your research.
My family doesn’t have many connections to people who could contribute to my program fee. Are there any other ways I can raise money to study abroad?
Absolutely! You don’t have to know a lot of people in order to be successful. The students who raise the most are those who are creative and can communicate well about why they want to go abroad. We hear from AFS Returnees all the time about their fundraising successes, and want to share these tips to help you get started:
- Think outside the box. Even if you have never fundraised or don't know a lot of people in your community, you have lots of options available to you. To get started, read the AFS Fundraising Guide. Think about what you're good at (or what your family and friends say you're good at!), and start brainstorming ideas. Take a look at the 40+ fundraising ideas that past AFSers have done successfullly.
- Ask for help. There might be AFS volunteers that live in your town (or close by). Reach out to your local AFS team and get connected! AFS volunteers are passionate about helping students study abroad. If you don’t know how to contact with your local chapter, give us a call (800-AFS-INFO, option 1) or email us (email@example.com) and we'll help you out.
- Put your strategy in motion. Plan a combination of low-intensity fundraisers (like setting out a donation jar at a local coffee shop) and high-intensity fundraisers (like planning a 5k race) to increase your earning potential and efficiency. There are many more suggestions and ideas in the AFS Fundraising Guide. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?!