Sam’s Fundraising Success Story

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Volunteer Forever fundraiser, Sam, has raised nearly $4,000 for his volunteer trip to South Africa! Sam will volunteer with the organization, International Student Volunteers, to support conservation efforts at the Masebe Nature Reserve.

We’re super excited to share Sam’s fundraising secrets with you!

1. Can you tell us about your cause? What organization are you fundraising for?

Sam: The trip I’m fundraising for is with ISV (International Student Volunteers), and it’s a four week trip over in Masebe Nature Reserve, South Africa. The trip is majority conservation-based but it also involves heading into schools in the local community too!

I chose this organization because a rep for the company came into one of my uni lectures and gave a brief talk about the trip, which really sparked my interest as I’ve always wanted to do some form of volunteering. I’d never looked into it too deeply, but decided that I would after being told about the trip!

2. How did you let your friends and family members know about your fundraising campaign?

Sam: I told people about my campaign in a variety of different ways; including posters in my house for any visitors, word of mouth to many people I spoke to and emails to family members and old teachers. But the main method of spreading the word, and the one that’s really done an enormous amount for the campaign is a Facebook page I made when I first started. I did a tonne of work spreading the word and keeping people informed on the page, including a load of different fundraising ideas I was working on, and it’s still going, 235 likes strong!

Also, I’ve been using blogging a fair bit, and the ability to link a video is also really handy for sparking people’s interest! Furthermore, I’ve been using the ‘Top Active Fundraisers’ section of the website. I used this as a sort of leaderboard, finding where I was and seeing how many people were above/below me, etc. When I tell people that I’m no.1 in Australia, or in the top 50 in the world then it really makes people want to get involved with my fundraising journey! It’s also great to see what progress you as an individual are making, and it acts as some great personal motivation!

3. How did you follow up with potential donors who were initially unresponsive?

Sam: Initially, I messaged many of my close friends on Facebook and many people said that they would be interested in helping me out. There were some that helped instantly, and that was really great! Others promised donations at a later date, and that’s fine too, because at the end of the day it isn’t important to have every cent raised in the first week of fundraising, but more important that you have the whole amount raised by the final date needed. Patience is key, and rather than repeatedly ask people when they’re going to donate, just trust that they will, or even do what I do and give a friendly reminder after a month or two, as people just often forget and are still more than happy to help out! (Plus, writing a list of people that sound interested is a good idea too, just so you don’t end up forgetting!)

4. How did you let your friends and family members know about your fundraising campaign?

Sam: I told people about my campaign in a variety of different ways; including posters in my house for any visitors, word of mouth to many people I spoke to and emails to family members and old teachers. But the main method of spreading the word, and the one that’s really done an enormous amount for the campaign is a Facebook page I made when I first started. I did a tonne of work spreading the word and keeping people informed on the page, including a load of different fundraising ideas I was working on, and it’s still going, 235 likes strong!

Also, I’ve been using blogging a fair bit, and the ability to link a video is also really handy for sparking people’s interest! Furthermore, I’ve been using the ‘Top Active Fundraisers’ section of the website. I used this as a sort of leaderboard, finding where I was and seeing how many people were above/below me, etc. When I tell people that I’m no.1 in Australia, or in the top 50 in the world then it really makes people want to get involved with my fundraising journey! It’s also great to see what progress you as an individual are making, and it acts as some great personal motivation!

5. How often do you share your fundraising campaign on Facebook?

Sam: On my personal Facebook profile, over 3 months I’ve probably shared my campaign less than five times. This is because I’ve made my own Facebook page that’s got all of the info and updates on it. That way, people who are interested in the cause can like that, and those that don’t want to see it don’t have to. Spam free for all of my Facebook friends! On my fundraising Facebook page I link to my VolunteerForever page probably 3 or 4 times a week, but that’s me tacking it on the end of various posts I make, rather than just a constant stream of ‘Go to my page, go to my page, go to my page’ because that won’t encourage anyone, but probably deter people instead. Not good!

6. How helpful was the fundraising video for the campaign?

Sam: The video aspect really makes the page a lot more personal, as well as interesting. Having that makes your profile that little bit more unique, and gives potential donors a real insight into what your trip is about.

7. Are there any specific donors that you would like to thank?

Sam: Honestly, I’d love to thank absolutely everyone who’s helped me on my way. From the large to the small donations, each and every one of them has taken me one step closer to getting on that plane. The amazing response I received was just totally unexpected, and to have so many different people wanting to help out means so much. So I guess this is a massive shout out to every single person, friend, family, or even total stranger who’s been so kind as to lend their support! Thank you all!!!

8. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?

Sam: Work hard. It’s not easy to fundraise, and it’s pretty much a full-time job so you have to be totally committed to it, and expect a lot of no’s, that’s perfectly normal. Just don’t get beaten down by them and instead keep trying! If you really put the time in and do as much as possible then you’re bound to catch a break! A simple piece of advice would be to do at least one thing every single day towards your fundraising. Don’t go for a long period of time without doing anything, because people may lose interest and it could be difficult to start back up again. And if you’re stuck for ideas, there’s always a tonne of other people in your situation that will have had a load of ideas that you’re more than entitled to use! If you need some ideas then by all means head over to the Facebook page I’ve got going, it’s really seemed to be running well and there’s plenty on there for people looking for inspiration!

9. What was the most important thing you did that contributed to your fundraising success (or anything else that you want to add)?

Sam: The most important thing that contributed to my success (as you can probably guess!) is the Facebook page I’ve made and worked so hard on. It’s easy for people to stay up to date, it’s easy to let people know your progress, and it’s easy to link people straight to your VolunteerForever page! By all means, go check it out at https://www.facebook.com/SamHobbsISV, or just search “Volunteering in South Africa – Fundraiser” and have a look at everything going on over there! There’s even a video of me eating super hot chilies for a $100 donation! Don’t be hesitant to message me and ask about fundraising ideas either, I’m more than happy to try and help out anyone that’s got the motivation to do well!

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