Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fundraising Made It Happen!

When I first approached Dr. Camp and Michael Franklin about the idea of traveling to Honduras, I never imagined that dream would be a reality within the year. As a full-time student, I surrendered to the mentality that travel abroad would not be possible until I finished nursing school and had the money to pay for it. Dr. Camp added me to the Jungle Team e-mail list anyway, and next thing I knew, I was receiving constant reminders about the trip. With only 31 days to raise $900, going to Honduras did not seem to be to be feasible at this time. I continued to brush off the idea until one night, just for fun, I started browsing plane tickets on kayak.com. I was shocked at the low prices and on a whim decided to purchase one. Immediately, I started to panic! How would I ever raise the remaining money to go on this trip? After buying the ticket, I knew I had to act fast.

Operation: Get to Honduras-
1. Write a letter. Dr. Camp presented me with the idea of a letter writing campaign. He advised that I should mail or e-mail everyone I had ever come in to contact with a letter asking for a donation towards the trip. He presented me with a basic letter template that I could modify. I wrote family friends, co-workers, priests, college friends, professors, ex-boyfriends, neighbors, my friend's parents---pretty much anyone I had ever come into contact with.
2. Social Media. I created an event page for my trip and invited all of my friends to attend. I welcomed them to join my team and if they could not come on the trip with me, to please donate to the cause. I included a link to the AHMEN website so they could donate electronically via the convenience of Paypal. I updated the page daily with personalized shout outs to everyone that donated. I also updated with posts relevant to the trip and my fundraising effort. I emphasized that every donation (even $1) makes a difference!!! 

3. Sell a product. Since I love to bake, I decided to raise extra money through a bake sale! Family and friends stepped in and contributed extra homemade treats for me to sell as well. I hosted the sale over two weeks selling to co-workers, family members, students, and friends. I advertised the effort on Facebook, and before I knew it, people were requesting full batches! Prices ranged from $1.00 to $25.00 depending on the good. This option was definitely the most time consuming initiative, but in the end it was more than worth it. Make sure that people know that the money is going towards a good cause and they won't be able to turn down their favorite treat! 

The hardest part of fundraising for me was relinquishing control and not allowing myself to be scared or embarrassed to ask for help. I have always prided myself on doing things all by myself, so I definitely overcame some personal barriers in this process. Be sure to mention Honduras with a smile on your face to everyone you meet! Happiness is contagious and they will be excited to learn what great work you are doing! You'll be so surprised by the people that contribute. I even had a few strangers donate to AHMEN

I cannot emphasize the importance of THANK YOU in fundraising. It is critical to keep track of every single person that donates. These donors will become your support base for future outreach teams. Therefore, you must tell them Thank You! I made sure to send every single donor a personalized thank you on social media (if applicable) and with a handwritten card that included a trip memento. 

Other ideas for fundraising?  
A few ideas come to mind... car washes, pancake dinners, holiday gifts, donation jars at your favorite stores, handmade crafts, athletic game concessions, parties... Possibilities are countless! 

Be sure to think outside the box! Get creative! 

Contact Michael Franklin for more info

See you in Honduras!
(hint: Join me on the June "Rio" Team in 2014) 
Lane "Fundraisingmadeithappen" Turbeville

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