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How To Pay For Your Dream Program

When you’re a teenager, pulling together a few thousand dollars to pay for one of our service-learning programs can seem quite daunting. We totally get that. But we’ve known many students who have come up with all kinds of creative means to come up with their program tuition, and we’re going to share a few tips and tricks to help you make your dream program a real-life experience!

1. Run a “service-a-thon” in your local community

Help out elderly neighbors, volunteer at a youth center, or serve meals at your local homeless shelter. Per hour you serve, friends and family can sponsor you and donate funds that will allow you to do even more community service in another country!

2. Organise a party, concert, dinner party, or movie screening

Some political fundraising dinners are $1,000 a plate — and the food isn’t any good! Asking for $50 in exchange for some great local cuisine (and a worthy cause) seems much more reasonable.

3. Make the most of your birthday

On your birthday, sacrifice a few gift cards and knitted sweaters to ask for cash towards your trip. Showing the selflessness to give up gifts in order to help others will often make people even more generous.

4. Don’t forget the classics

Sausage sizzles, car washes, bake sales, raffles, and garage sales are a great way to bring people together, have fun, and raise money for your cause.

5. Create a community service organisation at your school

Get together a group of like-minded students who are also interested in community service based travel. Lead the group and work together to raise money for a “community service trip fund.”

6. Find a part-time job

Look for work at your local supermarket, do yard work for your neighbors, or track down a babysitting gig for weekend nights. Babysiting pays between $10 and $20/hr and if you work a job that pays the minimum wage of $18.29/hr for ten hours a week for thirty weeks you’ll have saved $5,487— easily enough to cover the cost of a Rustic service trip and you’ll have some spending money left over!

7. Apply to travel & service grants

Many high schools and towns have scholarships set aside for community service and travel. Also check out websites that offer grants and funding to service-oriented high school students. Here are a few to get you started:,,

8. Log-in and start an online fundraiser

Use websites like,,,, and to organise and simplify your fundraising effort. Include photos and a heartfelt note in your campaign explanation and then share your campaign link via email and social media channels.

9. Get moving with sports & physical activities

If you like to run, bike, play footy, soccer, or shoot hoops—put those efforts towards a good cause. Ask your friends or family to pledge $1 for every mile you run in a marathon, $1 for every mark you take in footy, $1 for every goal you score this season in soccer, 25 cents for every point scored on the basketball court, and so on. This keeps you motivated to do well in your physical activities and people like it when sports serve a higher cause.

10. Start a letter writing campaign

Start by creating a mailing list of everyone you think might be willing to donate. Then, draft a standard letter or a link to your fundraising page and personalise it to each potential donor. Make sure to include a self-addressed return envelope! Don’t forget to thank the people who donated or helped you with your efforts.

For more ideas, check out our Fundraising Guide at