Making Exchange Affordable through Fundraising

Recently our student Hayden wrote a blog post on how he was able to make his exchange to Sweden possible through fundraising. Hayden has written about his fundraising experience and would like to share it with you, and hopes to inspire future students to give it a go. Read all about Hayden’s fundraising experience below. Clicking the hang up button for the first time to my new Swedish family has left me both in excitement and joy that YFU has picked out such a great host family for me to spend a year abroad with!

Now, it hasn’t been all sunshine and daisies to reach this point, of course. Since February this year I have been lucky enough to participate in an exchange program, but it wasn’t easy picking the right organisation for me. Yes, I could have gone with AFS or WEP, but YFU didn’t spam me with emails every day suggesting that I “continue my application before time runs out”, not only this, but receiving the very first, and extremely exciting email from Talia also set my mind on YFU.

Not long had passed before I was told I could go to Sverige (Sweden). But as a 16 year old boy living in Australia, it isn’t the norm to have $8,450 sitting around so I knew I had to get my hands dirty to be able to go on my exchange. Both my mum and I sat together and brain stormed 101 ways to fundraise for an exchange – and let me tell you, we had quite a list!

Soon enough I was in IGA buying “on special” $1 chocolates and selling them at my high school for $2 each. Each day I was running out completely, and as size-able as the profit was, it was insufficient. A little later down the track, my mum told me one day, “We should do a fundraiser!”

Days passed and soon we’d figured it all out. I’d hire a Jumping Castle, get lots of volunteers for the different stalls and collect prizes for a raffle and a silent auction. I soon formulated the giant list of people who offered to give their time to help me. From the many favours from everyone I knew and the countless people I got to share the poster on Facebook, the success would all come down to the day.

Before however, I got this very random email from the same person who accepted my application earlier with a very sad story, and a very big award. The title read “Congratulations Hayden, we are very proud of your hard work!” I was awarded the “Martha Bigliani Scholarship”. I couldn’t have felt more honored and happy with this. It was truly an honor. Especially as I had only been trying to raise money for a few months to help myself, where as Martha donated much of her time for YFU Argentina and YFU as a whole which has now inspired me to really help YFU (To read more about Martha Bigliani and her scholarship fund, please click here).

It took hours, and I mean hours to do all the shopping for the fundraiser, and we (my mum and I) did pull it off, quite successfully I might add. The day was set, I was back $890 and the sun had actually come out (The whole week was expected to rain) but the weather man couldn’t predict the great day that was ahead.

The “Help Hayden Get to Sweden Fundraiser” was more than a way to fund my exchange. It taught me the value of teamwork and how communication and marketing can go along way to either a failure, or a great success and I thank everyone, (Including Syd) who turned up for the day to help me, it really does means a lot!

We managed to raise just over $1,500 on the day, so it was definitely worth it. Now, I had only $6500 left to pay and here’s how I did it:

I put in about $3,100
My nan donated $1000
My parents put in $1000
Garage Sales $1000
Martha Bigliani Scholarship $700
Help Hayden Fundraiser $1,500
Chocolates $200
——TOTAL————- $8,450
Now at the moment I am collecting the last of the money due, but I am very happy with my progress! Many people say that “I can’t go on exchange because I don’t have enough money!” but that couldn’t be further from the truth! If your heart is with your head, then together, they can power the strongest of motivation. But only you can control that.

-Hayden

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