Pre-departure adventure: Fundraising
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the orientations ASU has provided to the study abroad students. But not much has been said that hadn’t been emailed, power pointed or video posted about already. My takeaway; Don’t drink the water, don’t eat the fresh fruits and vegetables, my behavior reflects the entire university, don’t drink the water, don’t stand out, figure out your own roommate situation, tipping is encouraged but not mandatory, pack light…did I mention don’t drink the water? What surprised me most is the lack of initiative and assistance in raising funds for these (expensive) trips. I offered to host free yoga, zumba, and pilates classes to the students and ask for donation but was denied a place on any campus to host them because of “red tape.” I’m pretty sure the students wouldn’t have minded donation based classes.
So I am going to start my study abroad adventure chronicling the adventure of raising funds. I considered using fundraising websites and writing letters to local businesses but in this economy, most people and organizations just don’t see this as a necessity in going abroad when we have so much diversity here (pfft). I was asked once, “So, what will you get out of this?” If you have to ask that question, you simply don’t see the value in studying abroad and there will be little I can actually say that will help you understand. I’ve lived abroad and I’ve traveled probably more than most of my friends (thank you Army!) so I immediately knew that I wanted to do at least one in my lifetime. If you are curious I can go into why I chose this study abroad, it just won’t be on this blog.
Back to fundraising…
First, I have been blessed enough to have been awarded a scholarship through the ASU study abroad office and another through the Gilman Scholarship fund. What an honor! This scholarship is precisely why I’ve started this blog. I will create a photo journal of my travels promoting ASU’s study abroad program, inspire future students considering a study abroad and capturing the beauty and culinary delights of Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. With these two scholarships in, I still have to pay for the $1250 program fee difference. FYI – American Airlines, while not always the cheapest option does offer 6 months financing at zero percent interest so I went with them. Unfortunately, because it took so long for the program to confirm the trip my price went up by about $300. So get your airfare early if possible.
Step one: yard sale! I’ve blasted my friends on Facebook for weeks requesting donations but let’s face it, only 5% of your friends list ever read your posts anyway. Still, with the help of family and some friends I was able to collect quite a bit of clothes. Then I realized I didn’t want to have them folded on a table. I’ve worked retail – I know what can happen to a table of neatly folded clothes. So I built a clothes rack to hang at least the women’s clothes (my targeted clientele). It cost about $70 even using old wooden pallets and reusing chicken wire from my garden for the base, but I plan to exchange the two tall poles for short ones and turn the rack into a ballet bar for my son so it was a win-win. I stapled the prices on the tags of the clothes and then my youngest had fun making price dividers to help make shopping easy.
I proceeded to raid my boys’ bookshelf, our magazine stand, my treasured arts and crafts closet and began organizing. I then realize that I could potentially make more money making crafts than selling bits of paper and flower cutouts. So I made lots of book marks – like almost 100 – to place next to the books. I even decorated big jars for pennies to set at each table for donations.
Next will be the baked goods for the yard sale but that will be another post. In the meantime – any fundraising tips you want to share with me and future study abroad students?