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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Fundraising advice from Rea

ReaI am talking to many new fundraisers who are trying to get a spot on the team for the destination trip to Nicaragua in November. I hear about your experiences and I know how difficult it is to fundraise, especially in the beginning. I notice that you all are dealing with exactly the same problems. So this blog post is for you to show you that you are not alone, to help you keep your wonderful motivation and go for your dream of being a part of this project.

Let’s go through this step by step: In the beginning it is important for you to find out why you want to be a part of this project specifically, find out what it means to you, what inspires your dedication. This will be very important in your fundraising and for your donors to jump on board, support you and donate. I always start with creating an email. I talk about the project itself, how I can be a part of it and why I wish to be a part of it. There are great reasons to support us in what we do (I will come back to that in a bit), so mention them! Finish with adding the link to your donation page and telling your donors what a wonderful impact they are making in supporting you.
Different fundraisers told me that they don’t have a big circle of friends which they can reach by email. That’s not a problem, there are many ways to use your personal message, get it out in social media, publish it on message boards, create flyers you can distribute, get the word out, be creative. And talk talk talk! Everywhere and to everybody, you never know where you will find your next donor and how you will infect people with your enthusiasm. Is there maybe somebody you know who works in a big company, which could be interested in donating? (Keep in mind that they may be able to use the donation as a tax deduction.)

Don’t give up when it takes some time before donations come in and your fundraising starts rolling. As well when you have times where donations dry up a bit. Many people need more than one exposure to the project before they feel comfortable supporting it. Go on working with enthusiasm and soon your labors will bring fruits. Here we come to another important point on your list when donations start to come in: Never forget to thank your supporters. Do it in public, mention people by name and say that they donated and that they are an important part of your team now. This shows your donors how much you appreciate them, how proud they can be about supporting such a wonderful cause and the side effect of this is that you remind everybody again of the project.

This leads me to the next thing I want to talk about. Some of you asked me if you can post reminders. And yes, you can – absolutely! I do that as well. You can style them as a friendly update, to show everybody the progress that has been made, for instance like “look how much the team already raised… thank you to everybody who already donated, we could not do it without you… If you still wish to donate you can do that here… >link<…” That shows your big appreciation for the wonderful donors you found and again reminds everybody who is thinking about supporting you of the project. I said before that I would talk more about good reasons you can refer to, so let’s come to this now. :⁠) Something you should definitely mention is that at Random Acts everybody works as a volunteer and also that you will pay your own travel expenses for the trip. Unlike other, bigger organizations there will be no money lost in an administration machine. And with you going on the trip in November you can be the bridge between your donors and the project in San Juan del Sur, you can show your supporters what will actually happen with their money and what a wonderful difference they are making. Something else to definitely mention is that Random Acts works together with local people during their destination projects, people that know how the help we bring will make the biggest impact, how to do it the “right way”. A good argument for your fundraising! Let me finish with telling you how awesome you all are doing! With every dollar you raise you make an important change, be proud of yourself, and believe in yourself! I made many experiences over the years, concentrate on the positive energy and the good support you receive! Don’t let people bring you down, keep your enthusiasm and dedication, it will help you to reach your goal and I will see you in November in Nicaragua! Happy fundraising, and much success! Rea

Next six fundraisers to reach $4,500 get a free pass to the finish line!

An exciting thing has happened! One incredibly generous supporter had saved up $3,000 to fly halfway around the world and attend a convention, but yesterday she donated that money to Dreams to Acts: Nicaragua instead. She wanted it to be used for something bigger than herself, and she also wanted to use it to boost the team’s enthusiasm and generate more donations. So this is her plan, which Random Acts is thrilled to implement:

The next six fundraisers who reach $4,500 will receive a $500 donation to their page from her (she goes by 99shake).

How’s that for a random act of kindness? I hope her selflessness provides some inspiration and extra motivation! It certainly has for me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to 99shake and to everyone who’s supported this project so far. We’re doing some really great stuff together.

Another Free High School graduate: Yeseling

This is Yeseling Ariana Solis, 23 years old, in the restaurant where she cooks.

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Yeseling Ariana is married and lives outside of town. She had a baby boy following a high-risk pregnancy during her fourth year of high school, but there was no one at home to take care of him. Yeseling, determined to finish school come hell or high water, got through her senior year in 2014 by walking into town with her baby, Yerik, early every Saturday morning and caring for him throughout the day in the classrooms. “If I had to take him out, I did. He wasn’t the only disturbance. Other students make noise too and talk to each other.”

Yeseling had been a victim of domestic violence as a child. Her parents separated when she was six-years old and her grandmother raised her in a house where there was never enough money. After she got her sixth-grade diploma at thirteen, she went to work washing clothes in the houses of strangers. When she was 17 she met the man who she would later marry, and he supported her in that he was willing to buy her notebooks and clothes so she could go back to school on Saturdays. On weekdays she was a street vendor, selling pretzels, powdered cornmeal, and pinol (a rural drink) that she made herself. After Yerik was born, she continued to do this while pushing him around in a carriage.

Two months after graduation, Yeseling started working six days a week cooking at a fast-food place in San Juan del Sur and was finally able to give up street vending. She aspires to run such a business someday, and her new boss encourages her and plans to give her more responsibility. She would also like to study drawing. In the meantime, Yeseling is repairing her small family home in Rivas by taking out micro-loans from the government. “Although drowning in difficulties,” a Free High School administrator said, “she sees our center as a life raft because it permitted her to receive an education and graduate.”

Without the Free High School, Yeseling might still be washing clothes or selling snacks on the streets. Now she is educated, has a decent job, and is progressing down a rewarding career path. Most importantly, she is empowered. This is the kind of difference in people’s lives that we’ll be making by supporting the school. Thanks for being part of that difference.

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