Change the World Volunteer Fundraising Program
What is the Change the World Program?
First and most importantly, Refuge International wishes to express our appreciation for participating in our world-changing mission. As Mahatma Gandhi said, each of us must be the change we wish to see in the world. This may be your first step, hundredth or even thousandth step towards making the world a better place. Each of us can make a difference in the life of one person… one family… or one community at a time. Your participation in Refuge’s Change the World program helps pay for a substantial portion of the annual costs associated with our work.
We ask all volunteers to participate in the Change the World program. The idea is to allow others to participate in this world changing mission with you…one person…one family….one community at a time. You will find that friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, church members and others will be eager to support your involvement, financially and with their thoughts and prayers. They will rally in support of a cause that is important to you.
The Change the World Program does not pay for volunteer’s trip fees. These fees cover the costs of your food, lodging, travel, insurance and a portion of the supplies and equipment needed to make the changes we are seeking to make. But these fees do not cover all of the related expenses.
Change the World contributions help fund the following programs and projects:
- Support a full time hospital in Sarstun Guatemala
- Water drilling projects
- Medication, surgical supplies and equipment shipment costs
- Cervical cancer screening
- Transportation for patients traveling for surgical and medical care
- Laboratory and radiology testing
- Construction and repair of our current clinical sites as well as future sites
- Preventative dental program for children
- Operational costs
- Country wide deworming program
- Transportation and care of patients traveling to the US for surgical care through our Saul project
Refuge International’s goal is to have 100% participation by our volunteer team members.
Set a goal: While we would love for each volunteer to raise $1000 or more, we suggest you set a goal for yourself, whether it be $300, $500 or $2000. Or your goal may be to send out 50 letters or emails, talk to 20 friends and colleagues about Refuge International. Just set a goal for yourself.
Start early with a plan: determine the method or methods you will use to Change the World and get started!
Let us know: send Refuge International an email and we will post your fundraising event online.
What Is Refuge International?
If you have not been on a mission with Refuge International before, familiarize yourself with our website. There is a lot of information about our work and you should be able to give a short summary of our work to potential donors. If you are hosting an event and would like someone from Refuge International or a previous volunteer to speak, let us know and we will try and make arrangements to have someone there. If you would like copies of our latest annual newsletter, we can mail those to you or you can download from our website. You can also see videos of previous trips and a brief video about Refuge on youtube.com.
Letter writing campaign:
A letter writing campaign is an opportunity to let others know about Refuge International and why it is important to you. Be sure and contact others who will be interested in the work you are going to do. Consider including, friends, family, church members, doctors, nurses, dentists, neighbors, colleagues, favourite establishments, professors or teachers, lawyers, accountants, bankers, insurance agents, classmates, or local service organizations.
- Personalize our sample letters or create your own.
- Write a personal note on each typed letter.
- Follow up with a phone call or email about your upcoming trip.
- Always include a donor reply card and envelope or the Refuge International PayPal link.
- Be sure that the checks are made payable to Refuge International and include your name.
- Checks should be mailed to: P.O. Box 3586, Longview, TX 75606-3586.
In this day of text messaging and email, you may find it more convenient to email the people you wish to contact. Make sure you include the link to Refuge International and that their donations include your name.
Change the World Party:
- Invite friends, family and other people who are interested in you and your upcoming mission trip.
- Considering serving a Guatemalan dinner, decorating with bright Guatemalan colors.
- Prepare donor cards with you volunteer ID number and team number on them. Place them in envelopes addressed to Refuge International, P.O. Box 3586, Longview, TX 75606-3586. Have these available.
- Give a short presentation with pictures and a video about Refuge International. If you have been before, show a slide show of your pictures and talk about your experiences. If you have not been yet, consider showing a video available from Refuge.
- Sell plates to a barbecue dinner, crawfish boil, wine and cheese night, or fish fry. Get local merchants to donate the supplies.
- Have a bake sale at your workplace or church.
- Ask for donations to Refuge instead of birthday or holiday gifts.
- Add a ‘signature block’ to all of your emails that includes a information about your upcoming mission trip and the Change the World program.
- Ask your family and friends to contact their friends and associates to help meet your goal.
- Ask your employer about matching gifts.
- Participate in a bike ride, a race, or a swimming competition, asking others to sponsor each mile you complete.
- Ask restaurants and retailers to consider donating a portion of proceeds to Refuge for a day. Chili’s and affiliated restaurants already have this in place; just ask.
- If you are an artist, consider an art auction to sell some of your work.
- If you are a photographer, consider having a day of sittings to raise funds.
- Do a coin drive at your work, school or church.
- Have a garage sale, encouraging friends and family to donate goods.
- Provide lawn service for donations to Refuge.
- Provide babysitting services for donations to Refuge.
- Provide holiday gift wrapping for donations.
- Go ‘bucketing’ in your neighbourhood, dorm or around campus.
- Use your Facebook page or Twitter account to solicit donations.
Once you have chosen an event, list your event on Refuge’s Change the World event page. Promote your event on facebook or use www.evite.com to invite others. Refer others to pictures or videos from a previous trip or write about your upcoming trip on your personal blog.
Sample letters for you to modify and use.
First time volunteers
Dear Friends and Family,
I am writing to ask that you thoughtfully and prayerfully consider supporting an upcoming mission team to Guatemala that I will be participating in through Refuge International.
On (insert date of trip) I will be joining a team of surgeons, nurses, anesthetists and others who will embark on a weeklong journey to provide much needed care to the impoverished people of Guatemala. The patients we will care for are only able to receive medical treatment through medical mission groups like ours, as there is very little access to healthcare throughout the country.
I am asking for your thoughts and prayers as I travel, and for a monetary donation to Refuge International. Refuge International brings medical, dental and surgical supplies, equipment and services to the poor people of Guatemala. It is a non-profit organization that relies on donations from individuals as their primary source of funding.
As a volunteer, I will be paying for my own airfare, room and board, but there are many other expenses in providing medical care to the poor in Guatemala. Money is needed to buy medical and surgical supplies and provide food and housing for patients who come to the United States who cannot receive treatment through the Saul Project through Refuge International. Clean water projects also need funding to help provide clean water for villages throughout Guatemala.
If you are able to make a donation, you may either return your check in the envelope provided, writing my name and trip number along with my name or donate online at www.refugeinternational.com.
Help be a part of changing the world, one person, one village at a time with your donation to Refuge International. For more information, please visit www.refugeinternational.com.
Returning volunteers, sample letter
Dear Friends and Family,
I will be returning to Guatemala on (include dates) to work in a remote village providing care for the poorest of the poor who are badly in need of medical and surgical care. I will be going with a group called Refuge International. I worked with this group (last year, 2 years ago?), working in (describe your duties on your previous trip). This year I feel called to return and help. I will pay my own travel, food and lodging. Money donated through the Change the World program covers the cost of the work done in Guatemala.
Few have access to health care in Guatemala, and medical missions such as the one I will be participating in reach out to Guatemalans in remote areas.
If you feel inclined to donate to Refuge International, go to www.refugeinternational.com and donate through PayPal. Mail in donations can be sent to:
P.O. Box 3586
Longview, TX 75606-3586
Please include my name.
Who Is Contributing?
You will be sent an email each time a donation is made in your name. You can track your team progress by going to the website and checking your team’s progress.
Saying Thank You!
Saying thank you means a lot to people! All of your donors will receive a thank your from Refuge for their donation along with a receipt reflecting that their donation is tax-deductible, but a thank you from you personally will make a tremendous impact.
Use email, letters or postcards to thank your supporters. Include photos of your experience.
Consider using www.smilebox.com to create a photo slide show for all of your donors at the end of the trip.