How to raise money for charity – I raised $21,500 in six weeks

As I prepare to rally my community and readership to help raise funds to provide clean water for the people of Nepal, I am reviewing my previous fundraising achievement for my project in Kenya with Matanya’s Hope.

My Trip to Nepal

In about 30 days, I’ll leave to Nepal for 12 days to work with the Waterbearers. We are visiting impoverished villages who have been severely affected by the monsoons. We will visit schools and orphanages, as well as homes of the villagers.

Donate to Ounce of Salt Nepal Project here

My goal is to provide as many $50 water filters and $15 kids’ (filled with essentials) backpacks as I can through the help of my community and readership. Do you think trying to fund 500 filters and 500 backpacks is too high of a goal? That’s $32,500. Seems high. But I can’t help but think, “What if everyone who sees or hears about this project contributes just 1 of each?” I will do my best to reach this goal.

I think it may be achievable. Here’s why:

How to raise money for charity

In the summer of 2017, with the help of my community, I raised $21,500 to help kids in Kenya during my mission trip.

The story of raising money for Africa came about when my family planned a safari trip to Kenya. It’s over a 20-hour flight to Africa. After hearing about their poverty all of my life, I felt we needed to do something to help during our trip.

I found Matanya’s Hope through an internet search on google with keywords children, Kenya, education, poverty.

Once I connected with the founder, Michelle Stark, I knew I found the right organization to help. Their videos touched my heart and the more I learned, the more I wanted to do. I decided to travel to Kenya a week earlier than the rest of my family to work with Matanya’s Hope in the villages.

Six weeks before leaving for my trip to Africa, I set out to share the story of the kids in Kenya with my community.

Magic happened along the way, and we started getting a lot of donations!

Review of Funds Raised for Matanya’s Hope

Funds Raised

 Personal Donations                 9,860
 Brands                 6,000
 Penny Wars                 3,240
Garage Sale                 1,000
Ounce of Salt                 1,400
 Total Raised               $21,500

Allocation of Funds Raised

Airline Baggage Fee to transport 1000lbs of donations                2,200
Water Tank for School                1,400
Supplies, Uniforms, cc fees                2,900
Porridge Program 5 years             15,000
Total Spent             $21,500

How did this happen?

  • I met with the principal of my son’s school to see if they would consider having the kids write notes to the kids in Kenya for me to take. When she learned a bowl of porridge (typical lunch for students) costs 3 cents, she came up with the idea of the Penny Wars fundraiser for the students to participate. See my post on How to engage and motivate students to fundraise for how this unfolded. It was beautiful! The students raised $3240 in 5 days!
  • The Penny Wars got the kids so excited, they went home and talked about Africa with their parents. Their parents became interested.
  • A 2nd grader (and my neighbor) at the school suggested we have a co-garage sale for Kenya. She helped me raise $1,000! After this, my other neighbor and friend then let me sell her washer and dryer, and I got $500 by listing it on Craigs List.
  • I wrote about Kenya on my blog and shared on social media.
  • I approached every brand where I had a contact to ask for sponsorships.
  • A local mom went to the middle school to ask to take the lost and found clothing for the kids in Kenya. During this process, she made a connection with a premium sock co (Legends Apparel) who donated 600 pairs of new sports socks!
  • Another local mom devoted her birthday party to Kenya – she asked in lieu of gifts, for a donation to Matanya’s Hope! She helped me raise over $1,000 this way.
  •  Every store I frequented, I asked to speak to the manager and gave them my 60-second pitch on why they should donate to my Kenya project. Companies like Office Depot, SuperSports, McKesson, and Dentists gave generous amounts of product for us to give to the kids.
  • Larger companies were much harder to get help from. They have a long process to get funding, and generally, they support only local community or US causes. A few of them (Ralphs, Costco, Vons) gave me $25-$50 gift cards for donations. I did get 100 Trader Joe’s candy bars to bring and boy, did the kids enjoy those!
  • Basically, for six weeks, all I did was talk about Kenya. At the doctor, at school, at the grocery store, with friends… I lived and breathed the kids in Kenya.

Impact of Contributions

The trip was life-changing for me. And to see the impact of these donations made the struggle of raising funds all worth it.

When I returned from Africa, I made this video for the donors of the project. It felt great to be able to show them exactly where their gift of money went!

Donate to my Nepal project and see your impact

So, next is to help the impoverished in Nepal. I hope and pray we can come together again to make this next project a success.

I look forward to sharing their stories with you.

If you feel a connection with this post, I would be grateful for your donation on this link. 100% of the proceeds will go to 1) clean water and 2) backpacks for kids (including school supplies so they can return to school after monsoon). Each of us can make a difference! Come along on this journey with me.

Donate to Ounce of Salt Nepal Project here

“Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt.” A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.