Make it Happen: Your Guide to Fundraising


About the author: Courtney Grady is an EF Study Abroad Tours Project Manager and travel expert. After living in Spain for a semester during college, Courtney knew she had to return. She spent her summer fundraising and looking for creative ways to save money and was able to make Seville her home for another year post college!

Courtney is excited to share some of her creative tips to help make study abroad a reality for every traveler.

Write your “passion pitch”
A passion pitch is a creative and passionate statement that will spark interest in your listener. Practice so that you’re ready to share your excitement, and send a short handwritten note or email to friends and family you won’t be able to talk to in person. Be creative and add your touch of spice. Here are some of the questions you should address:

What program are you going on and when will you be going?
Why do you want to study abroad?
Why do you want to travel to (destination)?
How do you expect to grow yourself from this international opportunity?
How will it relate to your area of study or future career path?
How is their donation an investment in your future?
Finally, state your fundraising goal and explain how their donation will help.

Inspired to see some beautiful Grecian sunsets? Prepare your passion pitch to ask for donations. Photo via Holly Swanson

Use EF’s personal donation page
EF’s personal donation page, TripFunder, is a crowd-funding tool that you have access to after enrolling in your program. 100% of the money that’s donated goes directly into your EF traveler account! Share your fundraising link with family, friends, professors, and community members. You can even go into local organizations to ask for donations. Post the link on Facebook and Twitter with a short excerpt of your passion pitch. Instead of gifts, ask for and allow the entire community to feel involved in your international opportunity!

Dreaming of seeing Big Ben? Your personal donation page can help make it happen. Photo via Courtney Grady

Thank your supporters
If you receive a donation from someone, write a personalized thank you note. Don’t stop there! Make it even more personal by writing a handwritten letter, which shows appreciation and thoughtfulness more than a simple email. In this letter, ask them to share your fundraising goal with their family, friends and coworkers, and see if their company has a donation-matching policy.

Want to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night? Use your network to help you raise money. Photo via Courtney Grady

Apply for a scholarship: EF Study Abroad awards over $20,000 worth of scholarships to travelers. Remember your passion pitch and tell us why you chose to travel and what impact it will have on you. For more information, visit In addition, research other local and international scholarships and increase your chances by applying to multiple opportunities.

Wish you could bask in the sun in Seville? Apply for a scholarship and you’ll be one step closer. Photo via Courtney Grady

Use financial aid: Many students that travel for credit are able to apply the financial aid they’ve secured through their college or university to part or all of the program cost. Once eligibility is determined through the traveler’s college or university, EF Study Abroad can work with the traveler to make sure the funds are applied.

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Help Center for more ideas on how to finance your program.

Find more “How To’s” and resources here.