A field of corn with the capital city of the province, Ibarra, in the background. A friendly reminder that money doesn’t grow on corn stalks.
A requirement for completion of the Global Citizen Year program is to raise $2,500 for the scholarship fund. This is a super important part of the program because without this money, a majority of Fellows, including me, would not be able to participate in the program. 80% of Fellows receive financial aid, and 30% receive a full scholarship. Fundraising is a valuable opportunity for future and current Fellows to network and spread the powerful mission of Global Citizen Year.
A little over a year ago I diligently started raising funds, realizing that $2,500 is a hefty goal. I sent out 80 snail mail letters with email follow ups, I posted on social media, I emailed all of my contacts, and took advantage of Giving Tuesday. At first, funds were coming in so fast, I felt like my hard work was paying off. I got 20 donations in my first two months of fundraising. At this rate I could be finished with my fundraising goal in just 10 months!
However, I soon realized that I wasn’t going to get any more donations no matter how many emails I sent, how many Facebook posts I made, and how many people I personally asked. Suddenly, I was working harder, but my average monthly donation dropped to 0, and it has stayed there since.
While trying to immerse in my community, raise funds and learn Spanish, I started getting emails from Global Citizen Year telling me to keep fundraising, not to give up, and to make sure to take advantage of Giving Tuesday (again). It felt like my efforts weren’t being noticed because they weren’t bringing in money. I was beginning to feel burnt out and frustrated, with the omnipresence of the $2,500 goal always above my head. Nevertheless I sent out another batch of emails. Only this time, not a single person responded. Not only did I burn out, but I also burned out my network. And still, I have a little over $2,000 that I am required to raise.