Seven Ways to Make Volunteering Abroad Financially Affordable and Ethically Responsible

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No matter your background, age, or experience, when you volunteer with FIMRC you can be sure your time spent on site will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the community you serve. Our unique model for building sustainable, ethical programs through volunteerism means that almost all the revenue we generate from volunteer travel goes directly back to our sites. When you travel with FIMRC, your impact goes beyond the time you spend on-site because it helps keep our clinics running and our pharmacies stocked, and ensures our services are available to our communities year-round. 

As part of our commitment to ethical volunteerism, we want to make sure that everyone who wants to volunteer with FIMRC can find a way to join us. We’ve put together a list of fantastic tips and resources to help make an impactful volunteer trip possible for all!

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1. Create a FIMRC Fundraising Page: Once you are ready to take the next step and sign up for a volunteer trip, we can enroll you with your own volunteer profile and personalized fundraising page. Through that page, family and friends can easily donate toward your trip cost. Get creative! Share your page on Facebook or send emails to your family and friends with a thoughtful note about why you are serving abroad. People will be more encouraged to donate if they know why you are passionate about helping others! Include in the note that any donation, big or small is incredibly helpful. People will be more apt to donate if they know that you are happy to receive anything.

 *Don’t forget to thank your donors! On your fundraising page, you can see the names of those who have donated; so reach out to them and send them a handwritten thank you card! They might be encouraged to tell others to donate as well!

2. FIMRC Volunteer Travel Scholarships: Yes, we do provide scholarships for our volunteers! We provide up to three scholarships of $500 to volunteers four cycles a year; one for Winter Travel, Spring Travel, Summer Travel, and Fall travel! Check out how to apply for those scholarships here. Get started early! The deadline for applications for Winter Travel are due October 19th, 2019.

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3. Scholarships from your university/college: Many of our volunteers traveled with us through scholarships and funding provided by their schools. We have worked with many wonderful volunteers who have received funding from Howard University, University of Notre Dame Kellog Scholars, and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Morehead Cain Scholars, most of whom would not have been able to travel if it were not for that funding. Reach out to your university and see if they have any funding opportunities. Reaching out to your specific school, research programs, or study abroad office will help you gather more options!

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4. Birthday/Christmas Gifts: You can sign up for a volunteer trip well in advance, in order to give yourself more time to fundraise. If you are signed up for a trip, ask for donations for Christmas or your birthday instead of gifts! 

5. Employee Gift Matching Programs: Many organizations, such as Microsoft, have gift matching programs for their employees where an employer will match a donation made by an employee up to a certain amount. Ask your family and friends if they have a gift matching program through their employer. For example, a $500 donation from them to FIMRC can double to $1,000 contributed towards your trip cost! Email missions@fimrc.org if you would like us to walk you through that process!


6. Company Sponsorship: Sharing more about FIMRC’s mission and why you are passionate about contributing can also inspire companies to sponsor you. A high school volunteer and her friend recently requested that her father’s employer, a tech company, sponsor their trip to India. They were asked to give a presentation on why they should sponsor them, and after giving a wonderfully informative presentation on FIMRC’s mission and how they would contribute, the company sponsored both of their trips in full! 

7. Join or Start a Chapter at your School: If your school already has a FIMRC chapter, join and embark on a chapter trip with other members! Chapters often fundraise for their trip throughout the year and the more fundraising events you participate in, the more money you will get for your trip! Fundraising events are often fun social events, so you can also make friends with other chapter members along the way! Not sure if your school has a chapter, or interested in starting a chapter? Email us at chaptership@fimrc.org or fill out an interest form here!

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We hope these ideas can help you with your fundraising! Email missions@fimrc.org to get started with planning a trip!