The Beacon Fellowship Fundraising Packet
Big price tags can seem daunting. You might be thinking, “how will I ever pay for this?” But don’t panic. The Beacon Fellowship is worth every penny and every second of time that you invest in this experience, and we are dedicated to helping you figure out a path to funding your Fellowship once you are accepted. This document is our secret formula for doing just that.
Remember that fundraising takes time and effort, and it works best when combined with a focused strategy. But it is possible. We believe that, by taking the time to creatively share your story, you will be able to reach out to a variety of people and networks that will likely be willing to support you and your business endeavors. And remember: if you have questions along the way, our team is here to help.
Table of Contents
Strategy 1: Write Support Letters
Strategy 2: Create a Profile on a Crowdfunding Site
Strategy 3: Plan a Campaign
Strategy 4: Get Coffee or Lunch with Business Professionals
Strategy 5: Apply to University Scholarships/Grants
Strategy 6: Investigate General Travel/Research Grants
Strategy 7: Get a Part-Time Job
Strategy 1: Write Support Letters or Emails
One of the most effective ways to raise money quickly is to write a support-request letter/email and mail this to friends and family. Send it to anyone and everyone (grandparents, aunts, cousins, parents’ co-workers, high-school teachers, your football coach, your orthodontist), including people that are acquaintances.
You’ll be surprised by how many people are willing and able to invest in your future! You could send this as an email, but it’s always nicer to get something in the mail (handwritten is a plus). Personal touches can make a difference, and a personalized, handwritten letter will garner more support than a generic, typed email.
Casting a Vision
Start by sharing your story! Within your letter, it is important for you to articulate the WHY. Why business? Why Beacon? People don’t want to support Beacon in and of itself — they want to support YOU in your dreams and pursuits. The more that you can describe your passion and journey, the more people feel inspired to support your future.
When you communicate your story, donors understand that they are contributing to something greater and worthwhile.
Start by verbalizing:
What are you interested in within business?
How did you hear about Beacon or what attracted you to it?
What is a Beacon Fellowship? What do you hope to gain from this experience?
How can people help you?
It’s always good to explain that you would be glad to speak on the phone or meet in person over coffee for further discussion with people who want more information. A personal phone call or in-person discussion could lead to a great conversation about your need, your upcoming Fellowship, and a possible donation.
Take a look at our example letter:
I hope this letter finds you well. It’s been a long time since we last saw each other, and I sincerely hope to see you in the near future. I write to you today to talk about an amazing opportunity and to ask for your support as I take the next steps in my pursuit of becoming a businessperson.
Since I was three years old, I have had an affinity for business. In the third grade, I started a lemonade stand that grew to five stands across our neighborhood, and ever since then I’ve had a strong attraction to products, services, and people.
What are you interested in within business?
I plan on becoming a consultant, and while I know my direction could change with further exposure to other business fields, I know that I want to work on high-impact projects.
How did you hear about Beacon?
Before starting my sophomore year at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I talked to a friend of mine who participated in a Beacon Fellowship this past summer. I was very inspired by how she described her experience at the various businesses, and I felt motivated to pursue something that would similarly grant me tremendous business experience and insight into the many fields of business.
What is Beacon?
Beacon is a business Fellowship abroad program that connects business students with a real-world, high-impact project in Madrid, Spain, as well as with business people in various disciplines. It is designed to help students like me gain tremendous real-world experience and skills and understand their place in business.
After hearing about my friend’s incredible experience, I applied the next day, interviewed the following week, and was thankfully accepted soon afterwards. Through this Fellowship, I will get the opportunity to: work on a real-world business/consulting project, visit businesses in Madrid, Spain, gain substantial, practical training, go on group excursions to experience Spain’s culture, connect with other business students from around the world, grow personally through this international experience, and more. I will be traveling to Madrid, Spain for a week and a half, and I am so excited to see business from this new cultural perspective!
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
I am excited to see a variety of business fields, and I hope to be either affirmed in my pursuit of consulting or else be steered in a new direction. I am also excited to discover new local cuisine, swim in beautiful waters, and discover Spanish culture in Madrid and other nearby cities!
How can people help you?
I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read this letter and learning about my Winter plans. The total cost for the Fellowship is just over $2,300, but I am aiming to raise more than that to assist in flights, additional food, and any extra expenses. This is where I need your help — if you are willing and able to partner with me in my business pursuits, I would greatly appreciate a monetary contribution of any amount. No gift is too small, so whether you give $10, $25, $50, $100, or $500, I would greatly appreciate any support. If you decide that you want to partner with me in this endeavor, you can send a check to my home address, and I would love to keep you updated on my journey and the things that I learn from it.
I will be sending a letter after my Fellowship to everyone who partners with me so that I can share how I learned and grew from the experience. Thank you again for considering my future business career, and I would love to speak in person or over the phone if you have any additional questions!
Strategy 2: Create a Profile on a Crowdfunding Website
Another good option to use in conjunction with a physical letter, especially for getting donations from people that you reach through Facebook or social media (and for people who prefer to donate using credit card), is to use GoFundMe.com or a similar service (FundmyTravel, Razoo, etc). Your message on this platform is still the same: communicate why you want to go on a Fellowship and how donating to your program fee will help you achieve your business goals. You never know who might view your page!
Strategy 3: Plan a Campaign — Think Local
Partner with a neighborhood restaurant (maybe whose cuisine is native to the country in which your Fellowship will take place) and see if they will host a fundraising night for you. Ask if they will donate a percentage of one night’s profit to your upcoming trip. You can advertise to various friends and family, and their attendance will not only provide revenue for your trip, but it will also increase the restaurant’s business.
Get creative and host a fundraiser! Have local businesses volunteer their products or their food to donors that come to your event, where all of the proceeds go to your program fee. Another option would be to plan and host a 5k, where every participant pays an entrance fee of $30-$50. Find a fun area for your course and map out 3.1 miles. You can affordably print and make the supplies needed for a race, and you can even purchase prizes and souvenirs for the various winners.
Trust us, there are people who would love to invest in your journey as a developing leader in healthcare. However, they may end up not giving if they feel like their contribution won’t do much to help you reach your goal. A newer alternative to GoFundMe, AdoptABox.co, breaks down seemingly daunting figures into very manageable amounts in a visually appealing way to encourage anyone to contribute, even with just $1 — literally
Here’s how it works: If you take the numbers one through one hundred and add them all together, they add up to 5050. Every number gets a box, and that’s how much it takes to adopt the box (e.g., Box 1 costs $1, Box 59 costs $59). A box can be adopted by only one person, but one person can adopt multiple boxes. The most that anyone would have to contribute to adopt a box is $100, which is less daunting than thousands of dollars! But if they want to give more, they can also do that.
You will be surprised to see how readily people in your social and professional networks are willing to participate and offer help for fundraising options, like the above. Spread the word to members of your book club, your church, your parent’s jobs... you could even consider asking the local media to run a press release or story about your upcoming Fellowship abroad!
Strategy 4: Get coffee or lunch with business professionals
We recommend creating a second version of your support-request letter/email that is targeted toward business professionals in your hometown and in the city where you go to school. Plan on sending this letter to 50-100 businesspersons, etc., preferably to their home address if you can find it (although a second option is directly to their office address).
The key of this letter/email is to briefly explain in two or three sentences who you are and then say something like, “I have the opportunity to spend part of my (choose winter/summer) break in Madrid, Spain to work on a real-world, high-impact project and learn from businesspersons first-hand in an international business Fellowship. I would love to sit down over a quick coffee or lunch to tell you more about myself and to see if you might be willing to support my future career as a businessperson through this Fellowship program.”
The goal is NOT for these business professionals to send you a check immediately. You are encouraging them to reach out to you (include your phone number and email) and to schedule a time to meet for coffee or lunch to discuss the opportunity further. Be sure to prepare for your meeting with these professionals by thinking deeply about your own interest in business and reading up on Beacon program details on our website.
Strategy 5: Apply to university scholarships/grants
A fifth avenue for raising support is to spend an hour or two researching winter and summer-break scholarships, travel grants, and research fellowships or scholarships offered through your university or for university students. Many schools offer grants and stipends to students who are doing an international education experience, like the Beacon Fellowship. Search online and talk to your school’s study abroad office or general student scholarships office to see what is available. Make sure to apply early for any opportunities, as many of these grant and fellowship programs are selected on a rolling basis.
Strategy 6: Investigate general/travel research grants
As you diligently pursue all the above options for raising funds, there may be a few final options. First, look into general travel and research grant programs outside of your university. Start early on these applications because the decision process may take a while and some may have a deadline to apply. Some places to start include “Grants.gov” and the following list: https://www.gooverseas.com/scholarships.
Strategy 7: Get a part-time job
We know you’ve been hard at work through school in conjunction with diligently raising support for your upcoming trip. However, if you are still in need of additional funds, you might consider getting a part-time job (which many of our alumni have done). Here’s the math: getting a 10hr/week job at $10/hr for just 10 weeks is about $1,000 toward your trip! If you are already employed outside of your college, consider proposing a donation matching program to your boss. If these options don’t work with your schedule, many students find alternative routes to making money by using their skills or hobbies. Try selling your artwork, crafts, poems, or other items that showcase your talent and do not cost much money to produce.
The Beacon Fellowship
4100 N Fairfax Drive, Suite #740
Arlington, VA 22203
Updated November 2017 Copyright © 2017
St. Mary’s Institute for Educational Excellence, LLC.
All rights Reserved.