Once you have clarified your need and identified potential resources, you must get to the business of developing a strategy for effectively raising the necessary funds. The first step in this process is determining how you will frame your request for financial support to your different audiences (your different potential donors). This step can be immensely fun and rewarding and offers the opportunity for important self-reflection, creativity, and empowerment.
It is likely that you will have a unique narrative for each potential donor. All narratives will be true, but each will emphasize different messages. To be an effective fundraiser, it is critical that you communicate the following general messages to your donors:
- Your passion for The Youth Assembly and the Sustainable Development Goals
Consider your personal history and direction and try to answer the following questions. Why are you passionate about The Youth Assembly? What key milestones, people, or places in your life are most responsible for making an opportunity like The Youth Assembly so exciting to you? Why are you invested in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? Do you feel like you have a ‘calling’ and if so, what is it? What have been the obstacles to fulfilling this ‘calling’? What are your goals for helping the success of the SDGs?
- The relevance that YA and the SDGs has to your potential donor
This is your opportunity to connect your passion to your potential donor’s passion. To do this, explain all of the ways in which YA and the Sustainable Development Goals speak to their interests. What are the person’s interests? A business owner will likely be interested in economic development. A teacher is invested in improving access to education. A mother might prioritize improving women’s rights for her daughters. Make sure that your proposition makes clear the reasons your potential donor is invested in seeing the achievement of the SDGs too!
- The Impact of Experience at The Youth Assembly On Your Communities
How will you use The Youth Assembly to give back to your community, specifically to your donor? This is perhaps the most important part of your narrative. You have explained why you are passionate about YA and the SDGs, you have explained their relevance to your potential donor, and now, you must describe the concrete ways in which experiences / networks / skills that you gain at The Youth Assembly will positively impact your shared community or cause. You must communicate that by helping you attend The Youth Assembly, they are helping themselves. When framing your proposition, remember that it is your responsibility to explain the benefits of this exchange (support for service) that your donor will enjoy. You should enter your conversation with a number of specific ideas and ask your donor for input and feedback.
Often people/organizations are reluctant to donate to projects they perceive to be benefiting one only person. This includes personal trips. This makes it all the more important for you to emphasize how your attendance at The Youth Assembly will have benefits back home. Here are some ideas on how you can use The Youth Assembly to give back to your community:
- Offer a community presentation on the Sustainable Development Goals and ways people can help advance them.
- Schedule a Skype date with/write letters to school children while you are at The Youth Assembly to talk to them about your experience and what you’re learning.
- Use the relationships you develop at The Youth Assembly to connect your community to others around the world.
- Update your social media profiles to raise awareness and asks for input and ideas for advancing the SDGs.
Think about these four elements of your narrative and list some responses to the different questions posed. Then, if possible, practice it with a friend and ask for feedback.
Family and friends are always a great place to begin. But there are likely many other potential sources of funding within your community as well:
Many student groups (Student Activities Boards, Student Government Associations), alumni, and parents’ organizations have funds available for students to use. You can also check with university departments and university administrators (the President, the Dean, etc.) to see if there is money available to donate. School-affiliated organizations often need receipts, so sometimes it’s helpful to ask for money for a specific thing (e.g. airfare).
This includes retail stores, restaurants, newspapers, etc. Many local businesses love to support causes led by young people. Be sure to emphasize the relevance of the Sustainable Development Goals to your local business community.
They also often jump at the opportunity to help out for good causes. Religious institutions tend to be good places to host fundraising events, since they often offer space for free and are well-networked in their communities.
Local civic organizations:
Contact multicultural organizations in your area or with which you have a previous relationship. Sister Cities International and the United Nations Association are two good examples of such groups. They will also likely be able to connect you to other individuals and organizations interested in supporting your effort to attend The Youth Assembly too.
Online Fundraising Communities:
Establish a fundraising campaign online using community and neighborhood-based fundraising websites. An online fundraising account can be conveniently used to seek funding from extended families and friends from far away. It is also a great idea to utilize your social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, to provide updates about your fundraising progress to those who are interested in helping.