Crowdsourcing a Social Venture While Abroad

Slowly but surely, travel is changing. The magic of the internet has transformed how we connect with other people and how we find funding for our adventures.  

It’s no longer a matter of knowing the right people or having independent wealth (though that never hurts). If you have a the will to travel and the chutzpah to pack up and take the leap, you merely have to get in front of the right people, and the funding will come.

It’s easier said than done, though, right? With so many people campaigning for their own projects, how do you set yours apart?

Illustrate Your Personal Investment

You’ve come up with a travel plan, you’ve checked and re-checked it, you’ve bounced it off friends, and you finally have something that ticks all the items off your list. You’re finally doing it.

Of course you’re invested.

You’ve put more of your time and energy into this than people can possibly imagine. The problem is, that work is invisible. It’s intangible and can’t be photographed for instagram, nor leveraged for donations without sounding whiny. To some, travel planning is just fun. So, from the time wheels go up until the time your trip is funded, downtime disappears.

Chance are, you’ve already put your own money into the trip, but unfortunately, the expenses don’t stop there. While you’re abroad, you’ll be sightseeing, eating out, and commemorating your travels. But that’s why you’re crowdfunding, right?

Wrong. There’s a myth that crowdfunding is free. Let go of it. You need to invest in your campaign, as well. That means that you need to be able to leverage all of your hours for one purpose or another. Use your commuting time to map social media strategies, write updates for your website, and snap an insta shot while you’re at it.

Posting updates about your travels and work in real time will allow potential investors to understand what you’re gaining from travel, as well as gauge your work ethic. You already know that you work hard, but now that you’re abroad, push through a little longer, and let people see it. Save your beach pictures for the victory lap; now is the time to tell your story.

Create a Consistent Narrative

Your story is a massively important part of your crowdfunding campaign. As purpose-driven ventures take over the market, motives for investment are slowly shifting from profit to passion. In order to successfully woo funders, you must appeal to an individual’s need to be part of something greater than themselves.

Emotional appeals are an essential part to developing a narrative that will net funding. When deciding how to tell your story, don’t stick strictly with facts and numbers. Infuse your story with your personality and your purpose, like this blog posted in ASU Online, as it humanizes you and plays up your origin story. Make it obvious what your motives are and what your plan is moving forward.

Once you’ve established your story, make the information consistent and widely available. Set up a website (if you don’t already have one) describing who you are, what your goal is, and how people can help. Create detailed updates, including any possible setbacks — transparency makes your tale relatable. Put this information everywhere; link to it in social media bios, post updates, and share the information with your personal network. The more your content travels, the more likely it is to land in the lap of someone who identifies with your purpose.

Utilize All Your Resources

In order to get off the ground, you’ve likely read about using networks, social media, and personal resources to expand your reach and maximize your time. This isn’t the place to bore you with more how-to’s, but to remind you of the philosophy behind it all.

Travel requires a lot of energy, even when it looks like a vacation. There are huge emotional and physical investments. At this stage in the game, you’re probably equal parts tired and excited. Don’t let that lull you into complacency.

Campaigning for crowdfunding is going to be one of your biggest pushes — talking people into donations is always work. Use all of your resources. Keep updating your website and social media. Make network connections and then follow up.

Resist the urge to use time spent in a hotel or commuting as downtime. Draft posts in flight or on the train, and spend your evenings sending correspondence to those who have helped out. There’ll be plenty of time to celebrate when you’re fully funded.

Remember Your Why

As you’re pushing for funding, remember one thing above all else. Remember why you started.

If you keep your purpose in the center of your mind and focus on your goal, it’ll be easier to overlook setbacks and see the bigger picture. Your perspective, optimism, and purpose will come through in your content without sounding contrived. People respond to genuine, purpose-driven ideas that they understand. It is your job to provide them the information necessary to do so. Here’s 5 Ideas to Make Your Travel Fundraising Campaign More Appealing to Donors.

About the Author:

Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.

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