Have you ever learned of an amazing and enriching opportunity, only to discover that it’s far beyond your financial reach? I have, and for me it was a pre-college summer program.
Since English with a focus in creative writing is my desired major, I was eager to attend the two-week creative writing program at a private Missouri college. One problem: the program fee was exceedingly high. However, partial and full scholarships for the program were available, so I applied.
Two weeks after applying, two letters arrived in the mail: one stating that I’d been accepted into the program and another announcing that I’d received a partial scholarship! The college had covered about half of the tuition, leaving roughly $2,000 due in less than two months.
(Editor’s Note: In addition, see our list of scholarships and financial resources for homeschoolers here.)
I had never raised that much money before. But over the following weeks, I reached my fundraising goal through resources, hard work, community, and prayer. Here’s how you can do it too.
Fundraising tip 1: Define and use all available resources.
You’ll need to use all available resources in order to raise money (especially in a short amount of time). Some resourceful steps I took include:
• Setting up a GoFundMe (with my mom’s help)
• Promoting my campaign through Facebook, including regular update posts and a custom hashtag
• Creating a self-promotional website detailing my plans and deadlines
• Handing out flyers for my garage sale fundraiser
Be as creative and unusual as you want! There are several fundraising websites similar to GoFundMe you could use, and social media is a great way to get your message out.
Fundraising tip 2: Prepare for hard work!
I did many different things to raise money to cover my tuition, including:
- Lawn care
- House cleaning + babysitting
- Holding a garage sale
- Serving a hot dog lunch
When fundraising, think outside the box. Ask yourself:
- With what do I have experience?
- With what am I talented?
- Can I offer these things as services?
- Can I sell them?
Also try researching different fundraising jobs or events. Compile 3-5 trusty ones and head to work.
You’ll need resilience, too. Sometimes the jobs I signed up for were a bit more nitty-gritty than I’d expected: a particularly dirty bathroom or a decidedly stubborn lawnmower. When I wanted to give up, I had to remind myself why I was working. And I gained more than just money toward an academic experience. I gained an improved work ethic and an appreciation for hard-earned money.
Fundraising tip 3: Reach out to your community.
Don’t underestimate the people in your life. Once I began sharing my goals with those in my community, the response was rapid and very positive. In fact, more than half the money I raised came from generous donations given by friends, family, and even strangers! So reach out to your community, and don’t limit yourself to only close relationships:
- I offered services to neighbors and homeschool co-op families.
- I invited my parents’ co-workers, friends, and associates to donate.
- I even asked local mentors for fundraising suggestions.
Think of those who are truly invested in you and your family:
- Church members
- Fellow homeschoolers
- Extended family members
- Old family friends
Don’t be afraid to tell them about your fundraising. They’ll most likely be interested in and supportive of your ambitions.
Fundraising tip 4: Remember to pray and request prayer.
Even if I had all the community, hard work, and resources in the world, my fundraising still would’ve failed without prayer.
- I called on God for strength when I wanted to give up.
- I thanked and praised Him when I made little victories.
- I asked Him for peace when it seemed I wouldn’t meet my deadlines.
Prayer is the only way to get anything done, including fundraising. When asking your community for support, make sure to request prayers. They’re greater help than any financial donation.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 (NLT)
“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” Psalm 37:5 (NLT)
So that’s how I raised more than $2,000 in only a month and a half! My experience in the creative writing program was priceless, well worth the hard work and dedication I put into it.
Thank you for reading! How have you raised money in the past, and for what did you raise it? Let me know in the comments!
Olivia Williams is a 17-year-old rising senior who is passionate about Jesus, music, and Marvel films. She plans to pursue an English degree and wants to write novels someday. For now, she volunteers, reads, writes, and listens to music. Her blog, Life as a Young Lady, is currently on semi-hiatus.
We have updated this blog post, originally published in August 2017, for timeliness and detail.