Frequently asked questions: fundraising and training

So why do I need to fundraise to participate in an AYUDA program?

Beyond the life-changing experiences you will have in-country, the AYUDA volunteer experience is much more than just that. Your learning and training spans at least four months prior to your arrival abroad. From the minute you are accepted, you will connect to the other members of your team and begin to receive training and support in various topics from diabetes 101 to fundraising. All of this information and training will be turned into real-life hands-on experiences that will last way beyond your time in your program. Together we will help you build skills to ensure the time you do spend in-country is impactful and further more, help empower you to become an effective advocate and leader.

Prior to your in-country experience, new volunteers will meet for three days in Washington, DC along with the Volunteer Mentors, AYUDA staff and our in-country partners. Your fundraising will help to cover accommodation costs and other expenses during these three days. Since it would be impossible to try to pack everything into just three days, the program in DC will be a recap of the knowledge you have already been obtaining via electronic learning, and most importantly an opportunity to meet your fellow volunteers and many members of the extended AYUDA family.

We believe that our volunteers are at the center of everything we do. The money each volunteer fundraises helps to pay for the overall costs of the program as well as your in-country costs. Your fundraising is critical to AYUDA - without you AYUDA wouldn’t be able to run its programs.

We want you to enjoy the experience and we don’t want you to have to pay for the experience out of pocket.

But wouldn’t it be better to have more volunteers raising a little less per head so that everyone wins?

Unfortunately not – since everyone wouldn’t win. Our objective is to ensure long-term sustainability at the local level, by continuing to put the needs of the local communities first, and offering effective support to the local organizations. Our local partners lead the programs and we provide support – not the other way around. AYUDA and our partners agree on the number of volunteers they think they need in order to effectively run the local programs. We then split the costs.

In addition, by keeping the number of volunteers low each individual volunteer is valued for their experience and what they bring to the team. Your impact will be more tangible and overall we will be able to ensure that the time you spend in-country is meaningful (it won’t be a group tour!). Fewer volunteers means your interaction with our local partners and the communities they serve is more personal and profound.

Why aren't flights included in my fundraising total?  Can’t AYUDA just pay with the money I fundraise?

Your pre-program total does not cover your travel (either flights or otherwise) to the VTP Summit in March or to your in-country program in the summer. You are responsible both for the booking and payment of your own travel. However, we do offer the option of fundraising for your travel costs (up to $1000) once you have reached your pre-program fundraising goal. We will provide travel reimbursements in November - once you have reached your post-program fundraising target.

Why don't we book travel for our volunteers you might ask? We have limited resources (both financial and human) and currently have just two full time employees. If AYUDA were to have its staff book and organize the flights for more than twenty volunteers their time would be taken away from volunteer recruitment, training and program planning which we can’t afford to do since, like most non-profits, we are already understaffed! Plus, since AYUDA is a small organization it is more efficient for us to refund you post-program. Furthermore, if AYUDA purchased the flights we would have to wait until all the fundraising targets were met. This in turn would force us to purchase flights in a mad rush only a few weeks prior to departure, typically meaning less flight availability and higher costs (and less efficient spending).

As soon as you are accepted onto a program in February, we would encourage you to book flights immediately in order to get the best dates, times and prices.

How do I ensure I get refunded for the flights?

We want to help you get refunded as it will mean you will have completed all the requirements and targets. The goal is not to make the process confusing – if there is a requirement you haven’t completed, we’ll let you know and once it’s complete we will happily send you the reimbursement.

Why do I have to fundraise post-program?

We believe that one of the easiest ways to engage your supporters is immediately after you return from your in-country experience. Not only will you be able to describe first-hand the experiences you’ve had, but you will also be able to better articulate the impact that AYUDA is having on the ground, in conjunction with our local partners. It is not only important for AYUDA that you thank those individuals who have already invested in you but also that you are able to further engage supporters to assist in AYUDA’s own sustainability. We hope that the energy and drive with which you will return home, will inspire, motivate and encourage others to engage with AYUDA.