Community-Based Funding

Share Your Study Abroad Plans with your Network

Students with young children in Botswana

Although there are numerous scholarships and you can use federal financial aid to help with affording study abroad, it is likely that additional financial support could be helpful.  Thankfully, study abroad is an exciting opportunity of which many people understand the value. With some early planning, preparation, and consistency, you can raise some of your own funding to support your study abroad program. Community-based funding is the idea of reaching out to your networks and community to share your goals and motivations for studying abroad to solicit support. This involves more than simply asking for money and instead requires you to distill your reasons for wanting to study abroad down to succinct and articulate points that inspire others to contribute to your cause.

We’re working to put together a community-based funding guide with tips, ideas that have worked for other students, templates and more, so bookmark this page.  In the meantime, here are some simple ideas and considerations:

  1. Reflect on your goals and motivations. Take some time to reflect on why you have decided to study abroad. What are the personal, professional, and academic reasons for you to pursue this experience? Free writing some responses to this prompt will help you articulate to others why this is important to you.
  2. Consider implementing a letter-writing campaign. Put together a professional letter outlining your goals and motivations for studying abroad, information about the program you have selected, what your anticipated costs are and what your unmet need, or your ask, is.  Have some people review this letter and then send it out to your network: family, friends, old professors, colleagues, teammates, members of your church/community organization etc. For those whose family gives gifts during the holidays, consider sending this letter out around then in place of asking for gifts.
  3. Leverage technology. These days, there are numerous fundraising platforms available on the web. Some students have had great success in launching a crowd-source funding campaign to raise funds for their study abroad program. There are some websites, such as FundMyTravel, which are specifically designed to help students raise funds for studying abroad. Tips for a successful crowd-source funding campaign include setting a realistic goal, providing regular updates to your community, and giving back. For example, perhaps you can set donation tiers: for a $5 donation, donors receive access to a blog you will keep while abroad, for a $10 donation, you’ll send them a postcard from your study abroad destination and so forth.
  4. Think about your skills and passions. Students who give back are more successful in raising funds so think about your skills and passions and how you might give back to people who donate to your cause. If you are a creative person, perhaps you can auction off some of your work or host a open mic night at a local coffee shop. If you are passionate about education, perhaps you can agree to give a presentation to younger students upon your return from studying abroad if an educational organization donates to your study abroad fundraising. The key is connecting what you love or are good at with providing a value add proposition to potential donors.