Jane’s ISV Fundraising Success Story!

by isvolunteers on Tuesday, 16 December 2014

holding a baby emu

Jane (at right), holding a baby emu in Australia (c) Jane Marino

Jane Marino, a former student from The Ohio State University, fundraised her way to 5 ISV host countries. Like most students, the biggest hurdle to her participation was the cost of international travel. Here’s Jane’s fundraising success story…

I first heard about ISV in 2008 while attending The Ohio State University. I quickly signed up and started planning my trip to Costa Rica! Little did I know, over the next three years I would join four different ISV programs covering 5 countries, while also working and going to school.

My biggest challenge was paying for the program, so I started fundraising right away. Money was a big concern because I had to also put myself through school, so fundraising was 100% worthwhile for me. It takes hard work and creativity, but once you start putting the work in you will see results quickly. It is so rewarding to be able to raise money in order to really give back and positively change both the world and your own life. When people can support a cause like that, it makes them feel good too.

franz josef glacier

Franz Josef Glacier, NZ (c) Jane Marino

The big question that most people ask me is, “How did you fundraise the money?” Below are several steps and methods that worked for me and that might also work for you!

First fundraising steps:

  1. Do your research in order to confidently talk about the ISV program and organization to your supporters. Make sure you understand ISV’s website, which outlines our history and accomplishments. Be sure to check out our blog, read about us from third party reviews, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for exciting updates and videos. People will ask you, “Who is ISV?”, and now you’ll be able to clearly explain our mission and purpose to them.
  2. Be familiar with the fundraising page on the ISV website, and once your place is confirmed on an ISV program you’ll receive additional information to help you get started.
  3. Become a compelling and authentic storyteller! What will volunteering on the ISV program mean to you? The more personal you are, the more likely people will support your cause.

Be creative and stay proactive. You can do it!

skydiving in fiji

Fiji skydiving! (c) Jane Marino

My early fundraising efforts:

  1. I started off simply with a 50/50 raffle. I sold tickets for $10 each or 3 for $25 to friends, family, parents’ coworkers and other members of my community. Once I decided to end the raffle, I randomly drew a ticket out of a hat and split my earnings 50/50 with the winner.
  2. What worked really well for me was personally visiting local bars and restaurants and speaking with the owners. I told them about my volunteer trip abroad and asked for their support in different ways. One bar allowed me to offer happy hour prices to anyone who contributed to me at the door, while other restaurants would have a specific day of the week where 10-15% of their proceeds would go to support my trip. This is how I raised the majority of my funds.
  3. I also created an account on a website called GoFundMe.com. Now, it’s also popular to go through VolunteerForever which helps with crowdsourcing specifically for volunteering overseas. These sites are easy to use and you can connect them to your Facebook or email the link to friends and family to get the process started. The more people who share your link, the more awareness you’ll spread about your cause. What’s great is that it doesn’t take much time at all, since university students are always busy. Often, people can raise over $2,000 just by using these sites, so if you add in a few more creative fundraisers, you can fully cover your program costs.
  4. Another fundraising method I recommend is talking to local businesses. Several volunteers that I know spoke to local businesses and were able to raise funds within their own communities. One girl was even fully funded by a dog food company! All she had to do was wear a hat with the company logo on it and take pictures while on her ISV trip. She then created a collage of her adventures overseas and gave it to the owner to display in his shop.
volunteer in Costa Rica

Jane (top right, end) with her ISV group in Costa Rica (c) Jane Marino

How did I earn 3 more free programs with ISV?

The day I landed in Costa Rica, I had the feeling that’s where I was supposed to be and that ISV would change my life forever.

Once I returned from Costa Rica and learned about the opportunity to become an ISV Student Rep and earn a free program, I knew that I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. I immediately became an ISV Student Rep and started talking to students from my university and high school to encourage them to sign up.

That same year, I founded an ISV Campus Club at OSU. My club supported some great local projects and it also served as a new fundraising platform for myself and several other ISV Student Reps.

Needless to say, I began fundraising again. This time, I ended up raising so much that I earned enough for TWO ISV programs back-to-back (New Zealand and Australia plus the Fiji Excursion)!

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Enjoying the amazing Great Barrier Reef, Australia (c) Jane Marino

The following year, I did it all again and got to travel to Ecuador and volunteer in the Amazon Rainforest, which was a lifelong dream come true for me. This time, I earned my free trip through Student Rep referrals, covering the program cost, and I fundraised to cover airfare, travel insurance and additional spending money.

Looking back, I would definitely do it all over again. Deciding to volunteer with ISV in 2009 was the best decision I have ever made. I support ISV’s mission 100% and every opportunity I’ve been fortunate enough to have with ISV has been life-changing. Currently, I work for ISV in their main office in California as the Student Rep and Campus Club Coordinator. I primarily work with ISV alumni, which is so rewarding for me!

Fundraising can be hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun and really achievable if you put your heart and soul into it. Good luck!

Jane Marino

Check out the fundraising page on ISV’s website here.

To learn more about ISV and our programs, visit our site – www.isvolunteers.org


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