When I told my parents that I would like to fundraise for the endangered giant tortoises and wildlife in the Galapagos Islands, they were very supportive. But fundraising for conservation is not as straightforward as it may seem. My parents said that I have to tell a compelling story so my cause can be heard. After all, many people do not think about giant tortoises on a daily basis. Based on my experience, I recommend the following five tips.
- Make it personal! Choose a conservation cause that you truly believe in and explain the reasons why. Is it wildlife? Is it plastic pollution? Was there a previous personal experience why you chose one over the other? Tell the story and share your feelings. In my case, seeing the preserved Lonesome George, the last giant tortoise from Pinta Island in the Galapagos was truly emotional. I couldn’t believe that his specie became extinct as a consequence of human actions.
- Now that you have a cause, choose an organization that you will donate to. Will your donation be able to directly support a conservation project (no matter the amount)? This is important so you can update the donors on where the donation will go to.
- Set a reasonable amount and goal. This manages expectations, avoids frustrations and helps set milestones that you can work on.
- Baby steps, especially if it is your first time. Think and try small activities and actions that can actually be achieved. My first activity was selling old toys and clothes in a garage sale. I set the prices to something I’ll feel happy with. I thought it was better to sell a lot for a low price than to sell a few for a high price, or risk selling nothing at all. I then did other activities to raise even more funds for the same cause.
- Showcase your campaign at your birthday party. Guests normally bring presents, right? So why not ask for donations instead of gifts? Make the theme of the birthday party also related to the cause. For example, my 9th birthday party was about conservation and nature. So I invited my friends to a nature reserve and a naturalist did activities with us as we hiked around the reserve. As for presents? I asked for donations instead.
With these tips, I will also add that you should say thank you to those who supported your campaign. For the donors who helped me in my initial campaign, I sent them a postcard from the Galapagos personally expressing my gratitude for their support.