Returned Volunteer Ali Spray (Honduras, 2011/12) shares his experiences of completing his fundraising after coming on Selection in February:

Ali Spray in Honduras

Ali Spray in Honduras

I attended Selection on Coll on the very last course that was available for my year group. After being thrilled to be offered a place overseas I turned to my next challenge – fundraising.

I really enjoyed fundraising. The size of the task when you start can feel a bit much, but the feeling of pride at accomplishing it is so worth it…and of course you then get to volunteer overseas for a year thanks to all your own hard work.

As soon as I started fundraising I made a breakdown of how much I’d need to raise each week. I gave myself a bi-weekly target to meet through whatever way possible. I wrote it up on paper and stuck it to my bedroom wall as well as in the kitchen so my parents would be able to see how much or how little I was doing: they were great sources of motivation throughout.

I wrote to around 90 charitable grant making trusts: around 30 replied saying they couldn’t fund me but three replied and agreed to contribute to my efforts. Another thing I did early was contacting all my local supermarkets to ask if I could do an afternoon’s bag packing. In the end I was given a Sunday afternoon at a local Co-op.

I organised a bands night/fashion show at my school. Fortunately I had friends in two bands who were happy to perform for free, and one of the girls in my year did some modelling and was able to organise a clothing line to sort out the outfits. Various girls volunteered to take part in the catwalk (various boys from my year had to be convinced several times!).

Before the show I went around my local shops, told them about the night and asked for anything they could donate as a raffle prize. I found once I’d explained what I was doing the shops were very generous and prizes included bottles of wine, dinner vouchers, spa & beauty treatments and so on. The raffle turned out to be a great addition as it raised about £350. I also made hundreds of cakes and brownies and sold these for 50p each with tea and coffee for free. In total the night raised just under £1,800.

On a smaller-scale I sold three boxes full of brownies at school twice a week for I don’t know how many weeks. School is one of your best assets for fundraising, whilst some are slightly more restrictive than others about what events they’ll let you do, make sure you canvass all your friends and teachers at least once.

Obviously it’s very important to keep yourself grounded and not forget about exams and having a social life. That’s why I strongly recommend being pro-active and never putting things off. If you sort out your weekly or bi-weekly targets and set about doing all the things you need to do early on then you can spend more time later on with friends or revising.

I’d say as long as you start fundraising as soon as you can then you’ll have no trouble, and of course the Project Trust Fundraising Team are an endless source of ideas for fundraising events – so make the most of their support.

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