4-H International exchange trip: What youth can do to raise funds

With a little planning you can travel internationally by doing your own fundraising.

Fundraising for 4-H international travel is easy if you believe in yourself and your goals. At first you may think it is overwhelming, but doing your own fundraising takes the burden off the family finances and will help you learn organizational skills, responsibility and financial accountability. You will also learn to interact with adults as you explain your goals for your trip.

Before you begin fundraising, contact your county 4-H staff and discuss with them any fundraising policies in effect and how international program fundraising has been handled in prior years. Let them know what your plans are so that you will not be asking for donations from people or businesses already donating to 4-H for another program. The money that comes to you should be put in an authorized account, such as a 4-H County Leaders Council. Checks should not be made out to the individual directly, but to the 4-H entity tracking your funds.

You will need to know how much money you need to raise. Any money over the cost of the trip will be kept in the account for international future exchange needs. Set up a timeline that coincides with the timeline related to deadlines set by the 4-H exchange program.

You can ask for money directly from individuals or businesses. Be prepared to have a conversation about what you expect to accomplish by traveling internationally. Be prepared to offer to report back to them with a presentation about your trip upon your return. It will be your responsibility to follow through and contact them.

Another way to raise money for your trip is to put on an activity that will be a fundraiser. Look for fundraising activities that you can organize and something that people will enjoy. Try something like a bake sale, garage sale or car wash. Ask your 4-H club, family and friends to help organize and donate food for the bake sale, items for the garage sale or help at the car wash. For more ideas look at A Guide to Fundraising a publication of University of Wisconsin Extension 4-H.

The Michigan 4-H program does not allow any games of chance activities such as raffles or drawing since by Michigan law, children are not allowed to sell tickets. Because of this, games of chance are not based on the educational hands on parameters of 4-H.

If you set a goal, work at it and accomplish what you set out to do, you will have a boundless feeling of accomplishment. You will be able to contribute to your own international exchange trip and learn skills you can use for a lifetime.

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