1. Can you tell us about your cause and why you chose African Impact?
I am fundraising for the volunteer organization African Impact. African Impact works in conjunction with The Happy Africa Foundation to build sustainable projects in some of the most impoverished areas of Africa. I’ll be working closely with the local community and children to help teach children and their grandmothers to read. I will also work on building sustainable farms and help to monitor the endangered Big 5 African animals who co-habitate within the community. I always knew I’d make it to South Africa one day. Volunteering there has been a dream of mine for a very long time. After reading up on responsible organizations, I discovered African Impact and really liked the idea of working on a variety of projects in a highly impacted rural area. Traveling to rural South Africa and experiencing vastly different conditions than I’m used to is what appealed most to me.
2. How did you let your friends and family members know about your fundraising campaign?
Lori: I started by creating my fundraising page on Volunteer Forever. For the first 2 weeks of my campaign I only had a picture of the African Impact logo as my profile image. Then I spent a weekend creating a fundraising video and I immediately saw a big increase in profile views and donations. I began sending emails, posting my goal and updates on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter and pretty soon people began flooding my page with their support.
3. How often do you share your fundraising campaign on Facebook?
Lori: At first I would only post every couple of days on social media. Since most of my contacts use FB pretty regularly, this has been the focus of my campaign. I worked to share my personal story as often as I could so that it was clear that the campaign isn’t so much about raising money as it is about giving back and allowing me to do the work.
Once I was at the half-way mark I really wanted to vamp things up and also figure out a way that I could use my talents to make a difference. I decided to create a hand-painted tote filled with motivational and African themed goodies to encourage my friends and family to donate. This turned out to be a huge success as I received over 20 donations during that time.
4. What resources on Volunteer Forever did you utilize while running your campaign?
Lori: I’ve worked to take advantage of all the features on Volunteer Forever. I posted a profile picture, uploaded a video, created a blog and posted monthly updates. I also took screen shots and posted them on FB to show my supporters how much money had been raised and how many days were left to donate.
5. How helpful was the fundraising video for the campaign?
Lori: The fundraising video was extremely helpful, not only as a way of getting my mission across but it also served as a great vision and motivation to ME! When I would find myself in a bit of a slump, watching the video motivated me to keep going.
6. Are there any specific donors that you would like to thank?
Lori: There is no one donor I would like to thank because I am so thankful to EVERYONE who has donated. Seeing the generosity and kindness of others, especially many people who I’ve never even met has been incredibly powerful for me. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to share this journey with all of my donors. In a sense, they will be standing right by my side as I participate in this work. They are an integral part of my journey and although I might be the person going, we are definitely making this impact together.
7. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?
Lori: The most important tip I would share is to do your research. Start by making sure you identify a reputable NGO or charity to work with. Speak to someone on the phone before booking. Then, follow the advice of VF. Look at other successful fundraisers and do what they do! Most importantly, be transparent with your supporters and share your story. The more you can share why the work means so much to you, the more your work will mean to others.
8. What was the most important thing you did that contributed to your fundraising success?
Lori: The best advice I have is Don’t Give Up! At one point I was worried about reaching my goal and was afraid of posting too much or coming on too strong. I worried that maybe people thought I was just asking for money. Luckily, someone close to me reminded me to shift my thinking. Although it may feel uncomfortable to ask, fundraising really isn’t about the money, it’s about providing everyone the opportunity to help!