Getting Support for the Trip
We believe that an important experience offered by participation in short-term medical trips is to allow others to participate with you by providing support for the team, you personally, or the cause. This can be done through funds raised for you as a participant or for the team to purchase supplies for the destination.
International Medical Relief (IMR) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization supported by volunteers raising money for trip participation and support of the mission of the organization. Without the support of your fundraising efforts, IMR will be unable to meet the medical needs of the underserved throughout the world. If there are people in your network that have the ability and are willing to support IMR beyond helping you meet the minimum fund raising requirement, IMR would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss partnering with them.
Fundraising Top 10
1. Start Now!
2. Use your IMR fundraising page – just log in to your IMR account to access it..
3. Tell everyone about your trip – if they offer to help in some way, let them!
- Social Media is your friend (Please don’t be specific about dates/locations)
4. Be innovative!
- Fun group activities raise money!
- Social Media is a fundraising dream!
5. Use your Facebook page! Post your IMR URL there!
- Idea: On your birthday, ask for multiples of your age in $$. Don’t forget to share the URL to your IMR fundraising page!
6. Show your passion! IMR allows you to tell your personal story on your fundraising page – SO TELL IT!
- Why are you passionate about this trip? What do you want to accomplish? How might it change you?
- Are you passionate about community health education? Tell people! Are you dreaming of becoming a pediatrician? Tell them why this trip will help you reach that goal AND what your goal is for becoming a pediatrician – do you want to volunteer time in a child abuse center after you become a doctor? Tell them!
7. Ask your school or work if they have grants, scholarships, funds, or gift programs to help employees/students volunteer.
8. Ask at work or school or where you worship if you can collect community education supplies for your trip. Put your fundraising letter and URL on the box! Click here to download a poster for community education donations.
9. Matching grants are funds given by corporations when their employees donate to a nonprofit. Ask your corporate friends if they can do this for you.
10. YOU CAN DO IT!
Your Support Team
IMR desires to assist you in the fundraising process by providing training and motivation for this task. Although it is our policy that each team member will raise at least the minimum funds required to participate, we partner for support, listening, and strategizing so that you know you are not alone.
Those who contribute to your fundraising efforts are called your Support Team. Having a Support Team behind you on this journey will bring you so much reward. Your support team won’t leave the country but they will be right by your side. Now it is up to you to follow through with this guided action plan to complete the process. Always remember that those who send you their well wishes without a financial contribution are still supporting you.
You Don’t Like Fundraising?
Fundraising is often confused with asking people for a handout. It is not. By committing to help under-served and sick patients in this very tangible way, you are personally making huge sacrifices – time away from your family, time away from your profession and the finances that go along with it, and working in difficult conditions to help others. People contribute to your fundraising and this cause because they are giving to your experience, your journey, and the people whose lives you will touch. These supporters are helping to answer a calling you have to give to others.
Through the process of fundraising, you will find that people want to be involved with what you are doing, how you will make a difference in the lives of your patients, and how you will grow from this experience. They want to be your partners. Maybe it is a financial gift for your trip or as simple as a bottle of children’s vitamins. It is important to recognize that each gift comes from their heart.
Setting a goal for fundraising helps you stay on track. Setting weekly goals will help you to keep the pace you need to raise the funds for your trip.
Start with identifying:
- Why you want to participate on a trip and why it is important to you to volunteer in this tangible way
- The people you know who will want the opportunity to be involved with your efforts.
Of course you have the goal of raising the minimum required funds for participation in the trip. Beyond the minimum required, set a goal for what else you would like to accomplish.
All funds raised above the minimum required will allow IMR to acquire more medicines and supplies, further develop programs to serve patients on future missions and support the infrastructure that allows IMR to pursue helping the under-served throughout the world.
Donations made directly to IMR in your name through your fundraising URL, the IMR donation page, or by any other means are non-refundable and will be utilized to help the patients in the country where you serve. Donations to your fundraising page are subject to a 5% administrative fee.
Create a List of Supporters – Ask Them to Support Your Effort
Think of any organizations or groups that you are a part of: family and friends, people you work with, clubs, neighbors, associations, schools, boards, houses of worship, Home Owners Associations, workout clubs, those businesses you support (dry cleaners, dentists, doctors, hair dressers), your holiday card list, etc. Once you have this list you can begin to formulate how you would like to request support.
TIP: Give your supporters your personal fundraising URL so they can donate by credit card directly to your account.
Ideas for Selling Items to Raise Funds
Make items or get them for discounted rates and sell them with the profit going to your trip or team.
- Grocery store gift certificates sell for a 5% gain.
- Restaurants may offer a 10-15% gain.
- Sell something in your area of expertise – thermometers, toothbrushes or first-aid kits, crafts or paintings, a musical event, a magic show!
- Many volunteers have successfully held garage sales to raise funds, selling used items collected from friends and neighbors. Your neighborhood may have a group garage sale weekend to bring in extra customers.
Host an Event
Fundraising events rally community support for the cause. Events have great fundraising potential. Don’t forget to send a press release to your local newspaper and to invite your Facebook friends!
- Pick a favorite restaurant and ask the owner if a portion of the proceeds can benefit the trip.
- Invite friends over for a barbecue fundraiser and ask them for a small donation.
- Send out invitations to an event at a restaurant and charge an amount over the cost of the food. Those extra funds can go toward your fundraising cause.
Use some of the photos and statements from the IMR website that have meaning for you! Ask IMR for photos to help show how patients have benefited from treatment in IMR clinics. Don’t forget to share your creation with us on the IMR Facebook page.
Up-front expenses may be needed for some activities, so it is important that your supporters are behind the event. At the events, be clear about your intentions. Explain to those you invite how you are pulling your resources together. Don’t be afraid to have a jar handy for extra donations and the IMR donation poster attached to a box for soap, nail files, reading glasses, sunglasses, and more!
No matter what you choose to do, be creative, think out-of-the-box, have fun! Clearly describe how your efforts and the efforts of your team will make a sustainable difference in the lives of many.
- You may be able to add to an existing event! After or before an event at your house of worship, school, or other location, cook your own food and have a potluck, spaghetti dinner, burrito breakfast, pancake breakfast, donut sale or ice cream social.
- Sell pies during the holidays. A pie may cost you $4 to make – sell them for $15.
- Host a lunch at your office and ask for contributions of $5 or $10 – ask them to bring a sack lunch and have somebody who’s been to your host country present a short picture show.
- Have photos from a past IMR trip to the country you are working in on a large TV showing as a continuous loop.
- Host a dinner at a friend’s home or your home and ask for donations of $15 – $100, depending on what you are serving (and who your friends are).
- Sometimes a neighborhood facility may need extra help putting up decorations, painting, pulling weeds, picking up trash, raking leaves, planting flowers, or extra cleanup. See if they are hiring any hands and instead have them donate to your trip.
- Set up a car wash at your hospital staffed by friends and hospital administrators
- Gather a group of friends and staff a booth at a local community of sporting even. This is a common fundraiser for many groups!
- Are you a runner? A Master’s Swimmer? A hiker? A knitter? Ask people to pledge by the mile as you get healthier or by the row as you keep the homeless warm this winter!
- Do your friends make fun of you because you don’t run, swim, hike or knit? TAKE THE CHALLENGE! Put together a group of “THOSE PEOPLE” and make them put their money where their mouth is. Get them to pledge for every mile you hang with them or every stitch you learn!
- Don’t want to run, bike, swim, or knit? Make your friends do it for you! Challenge them through social media in exchange for a donation to a great cause!
IMR works hard to acquire the necessary supplies for our trip, however each team member’s participation is vital for our success. Many medical professionals are linked to suppliers that IMR does not have access to. We appreciate your help in facilitating a partnership with your suppliers that allows IMR to acquire necessary supplies, including equipment such as portable ultrasounds and laboratory tests such as Strep A. This will help ensure that our clinic has ample medicines, laboratory supplies, and essential equipment to treat as many patients as possible.
Our volunteers have amazing success at conducting supplies drives with their support team, school, religious, or other groups they interact with, and acquaintances. Our patients will be very thankful for these contributions. Thank you for making every effort within your ability to help support the communities medical missions serve.
The success of our clinics is dependent upon the supplies that we have. Ask all of your supporter groups to help donate needed items for clinic and community health education classes. We are always in need of these items to give to our patients:
- Reading glasses (from dollar stores)
- Sunglasses (from dollar stores)
- Bar soaps (1 oz. size preferred)
- Emery boards, small
- Nail clippers, small
- Toothbrushes (no toothpaste)
- Antibiotic creams and band aids (for first aid kits)
- Artificial tears (individual use preferred)
- Infant vitamins
- Infant acetaminophen/ibuprofen
- Pediatric acetaminophen/ibuprofen
How to Get Donations:
- Ask your work, school, or house of worship to do a campaign for one or more weeks where each person can be asked to bring in one item.
- Set up a “giving tree” where people take a request from the tree and donate money or a specific item for your trip.
- Ask your dentist, pharmacy, and local stores to donate needed items (use the letters from the links below!)
- Grocery stores and Walmart/Target will frequently provide a $25 gift certificate if you ask and present a letter of request and tax information. You can spend the certificate in their store purchasing needed items such as:
- Forehead and “gun” thermometers for every patient we see
- Battery-operated portable nebulizers for patients who can’t breathe well
- Dopplers to hear a baby’s heart beat
- Automatic blood pressure cuffs for our older patients
In addition, IMR can frequently obtain these items and more at greatly reduced cost. Consider asking your support team to donate money to IMR that we will then use to purchase items most in need.
TIP: Download the customizable letters and IMR’s tax-exempt status letter from the links at the bottom of the page to increase your monetary and supply donations!
Other Fundraising Information
Important Things To Know About the Funds You Raise
- Monetary and in-kind donations directly benefit the patients we serve.
- 98.5% of all funds raised are used to benefit patients. Only 1.5% of funds are used for administrative expenses.
- You have a personal fundraising page at IMR available for you to customize and use to fund your trip and enhance your team’s efforts in the field. Log into your account to access it.
- IMR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations made directly to IMR are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
- Corporations are able to “match” the donations of their employees to benefit IMR and your fundraising efforts.
- IMR is an approved charity on Amazon Smile. IMR receives a small donation from Amazon based on your purchase when you shop through smile.amazon.com and designate International Medical Relief as your charity of choice. Shopping through Amazon Smile is the same experience as Amazon. It costs you nothing and it really adds up for IMR.
- Deposit any donations you collect in cash into your personal bank account and donate them to IMR using a credit card. You may provide your cash donors with a tax form from IMR so they benefit from this donation.
- IMR accepts donations in-kind limited to those donations on our supply list or requested items by your team leader or IMR management.
- IMR does not accept cash, checks, or money orders other than institutional matching and grant funds. Any checks should be made out to you and donated to your fundraising account using a credit card.
- All funds raised through your personal fundraising page are a donation to International Medical Relief, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public entity. All funds raised, including your trip payments, are non-refundable and remain with the organization to benefit our patients, regardless of circumstance.
- Funds contributed to your fundraising URL will incur a 5% administrative fee taken at the time of the donation. You may see the cumulative fees on your account page.
- You can see the results of your effort at any time on your account page. You will be sent a regular monthly statement to help you keep track of your donations.
- Your personal fundraising page can be deactivated by simply clicking on the deactivate button in your account. You will keep all of your donations, but new contributions will stop.
- Anyone, including you, who has contributed funds to IMR directly will receive an immediate tax receipt and a year-end tax statement. You may also obtain a year-end statement of your personal donations on your account page.
These resources will help make your fundraising job easier. There are three sample letters you can customize, sponsorship and donation forms and receipts, IMR’s tax-exempt status letter, and a link to IMR’s financial information on our website. There are also two images you can use to help collect supplies: a mobile-friendly graphic for emailing to family and friends plus a customizable poster to hang on a wall or bulletin board or tape to a collection box. Add your name, email address, or phone number so people can contact you and watch the donations roll in!