AEI believes that participation in a life-changing AEI Experience should be possible for anyone who feels passionate about volunteering with animals. AEI works hard to ensure that the cost of our Experiences are kept as low as possible. AEI’s prices include your airport pick up, housing, food, training, in country support and a donation to the placement partner you will be volunteering with. Only a small percentage of the cost goes towards administrative fees.
AEI wants to make all volunteer travel accessible to anyone who wants to be involved.
In order to help our clients travel the world and live their dreams we have prepared some easy and effective fundraising ideas for them. We have also made it possible for you to use this page to collect your online donations safely, securely and efficiently. It has never been so easy to manage your fundraising activities! AEI posters and other fundraising materials are also available to you and can be downloaded free of charge once we have received your first trip instalment.
Before you start:
- Make your own fundraising site (using Volunteer Forever, Blog Spot, Word Press, etc) while increasing your social media presence. Make sure you get OUT THERE! People can't donate to you if they don't know you are fundraising!
- If you are planning an event make sure it doesn't cost you to run it- ask for donations of tables, food and equipment. The worst people can say is no, the best they can say is yes and here is a donation on top of that!
- Plan your event in advance and invite people WAY in advance. Make sure to invite them with lots of time to their schedule is clear- but don't forget to remind them closer to the date!
- Get a script together. People are going to ask you the same questions over and over. Make sure you are ready with answers to: Why are you going? What will you be doing? How will these funds help? Remember that we aren't charity but our Placement Partners are. Your volunteer fees go to offsetting the expense of training, feeding and accommodating you. For more information on where your fees go, please visit you Experience's specific page where there is a breakdown for you.
- Stakeholder/Backer Fundraising
Make everyone a stakeholder in your experience. Invent different incentive levels and reward your backers based on their financial commitment. Think of really great and creative rewards and people will sign up for higher and higher levels. For example for each incentive level your backers will:
$1-$5--> Get a high five
$6-$20--> Receive a post card sent from the country you are visiting
$21-$50--> Receive a post card sent from the country you are visiting and a small item from a local market
$51-$100--> Receive a post card sent from the country you are visiting, a small item from a local market and a picture of one of the animals you worked with on your project.
$101- $200--> Receive a post card sent from the country you are visiting, a small item from a local market and a framed picture of one of the animals you worked with on your project.
$201-$300-->Receive a post card send from the country you are visiting, a small item from a local market, a framed picture of one of the animals you worked with on your project and a t-shirt from the AEI online store.
A wonderful fundraising tool is GoGetFunding. GoGetFunding is a crowdfunding website that lets you raise money for anything that matters to you. From personal causes and events to projects and more. We've helped people from all over the world raise millions online.
Volunteer Forever also offers a crowdfunding platform where you can create a customized page highlighting your project and fundraising needs and receive online donations towards your trip.
- Potluck/Chili/Spaghetti/Tea Party for charity.
Make a giant pot of chili, or spaghetti or host a tea party/ pot luck. Invite people to your house for the party and ask people to contribute to your trip. Make sure to tell them before they arrive! This is a great way to tell people about the experience you will be participating in. You can raise funds and awareness! This makes friends into advocates!
- Take over coat check or host a theme night at a pub, cafe or coffee house.
Local establishments love it when you offer to host a theme night. Not only does it make it easy for them (they don’t have to plan anything) it also means more people will be visiting their establishment. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get the word out through Facebook, Twitter and good old fashion word of mouth!
- Corporate Sponsorship.
- Apply for a grant from a charity or a trust.
This could involve lots of hoops but they will be worth it! Look through the application requirements on the Rotary Club, Lions Club, YWCA/YMCA, The Royal Legion, your school's alumnus trust and anywhere else that is looking to give out funds. The volunteer work you will be doing will meet the requirements to many of these programs so take a look around and apply apply apply! The worst you can get is a no, the best you can get is a fully funded trip! If you need any assistance with the applications please contact us.
- Car wash. These are a cliche because they work.
Make sure you download posters from AEI and use bright and interesting pictures. People like to have their car washed but if you have a great cause behind it, you can collect even more in tips!
- Get excited and make things– then sell them!
Host a bake sale- link up with another event so you can use their advertising or marketing! Do you make one thing really well? Sell cupcakes to your friends, take orders for that caramel corn we have been hearing so much about or knit mittens for all your cold handed friends and friends of friends. We even had clients build Etsy and eBay stores and use all their profits to fund their trips. Use your hobbies and past times to help you travel the world!
- Sell trees!
We have partnered with The Carbon Farmer to make all our trips carbon balanced. There are fundraising opportunities that you can also take advantage of. We can give you trees and carbon credits for a discounted rate and then you can sell them to your friends, family, co-workers and fellow animal lovers!
- Traveling for school?
Talk to you student award/academic adviser/housing office. You will be surprised by the money available for bursaries and grants out there- you just need to ask. If you are going as part of a school placement or to get more professional experience, many schools have money just sitting there waiting for you.
- Educational speaking tours.
Libraries, schools, teachers and community centres are always looking for ways to interest their patrons and students. Offer to speak about your AEI Experience, or another topic that interests you, and ask for donations at the door. You could even hold two speaking events, one before you leave and one after you return. You can gear people up, make them agents for change (and advocates for your placement, you, global volunteering and AEI). When you come back they will be wanting to know how much you learned and what your Experience was like. By showing them pictures and teaching about your Experience you will get them even more interested in social change.
- Talk to the media! Get local tv, radio, newspapers and magazines on your side! The more people who know about you, the more people who can support you and the animals! Contact editors, travel writers and community writers to tell them about your amazing adventure. You may be lucky enough to be sponsored by the media. If you need any pictures, logos or videos please let us know. We are more than happy to share this with out clients for their fundraising endeavours. Remember, what you are doing is AWESOME! Tell lots of people about it and keep them updated. Keep people talking about your adventure so their friends can tell their friends and you can have even more supporters.
- Tell everyone at all times what you are doing. You never know who you may run into, who may be interested in knowing more or who may want to help funding your Experience. Remember that people give money to PEOPLE and STORIES not things. So tell people about you, your passions and the reasons you are going to volunteer.
- Break room bake sale. Bring cookies and sweets to work and leave them in your break room, make sure you also leave an AEI poster and a tin for loose change.
- Cut your hair or shave your beard. The more money people donate the shorter you will go!
- Keep quiet! Take a vow of silence for the animals who can’t speak for themselves. Ask for donations. The more donations, the longer you will keep quiet.
- Give up your favs. Fast from the things you love for donations. The more donations, the longer you will give up your favourite something. Examples: Chocolate, coffee, music, TV, Facebook, your car, your music, podcasts, your cellphone...
- In home auction. Invite your friends over and let them bid on the stuff you don’t need- or the stuff they love! Use your excess stuff to create excess funds for conservation.
- Do something totally weird. Pick something weird out of the air and tell people if you reach your goal you will do it! Shave your eyebrows, wash your friends’ feet, wear face paint to school, dye yourself blue, wear an elephant suit around downtown while you pass out fliers about the ivory trade.
- Guess the Number. Fill a jar with jelly beans and bring it to work. Get people over the week to guess the number of jelly beans in the jar- each guess is a $1. The winner gets all the jelly beans!
- Pennies for Charity! Canada is phasing out the Penny. Use this to your advantage and collect your friends and families loose change! No one wants to roll all their extra pennies so take the copper off their hands! Let your friends and family know you will gladly take on the responsibly of rolling all these coins if it can help you live your dreams.
- Trekking, Swimming, Biking and everything in between! A few years ago our volunteer coordinator swam across Algonquin Park to raise money for a wildlife hospital. In 2013, two of our clients trekked to Everest Base Camp to raise money for their trip. Every year people bike across America- or around their neighbourhood to raise funds for various charities. We want you to get active! Think of something that will give people even MORE reason to talk about you and your amazingness. Swim, jump, bike, run, dance, hoop, ride and climb your way to your fundraising goal.
- Corporate Matching. Some employers and professional associations offer a matching programs to their employees and employee's families. Talk to your HR person, your professional association and your partner, parent or guardian. Work places have money, why not use them to travel the world, change your life and help animals?
AEI clients can download our fundraising products! AEI has posters (AEI informational posters or Experience specific), sign-up sheets (so you can remember who gave you a donation and for how much), thank you post cards and other great products. If you are interested in the fundraising kit, please let us know what specific products you are interested in! AEI is very happy to send you our logo and pictures so you may design your own posters.