Fundraising Resources

Medical Education

Pharmacy Education

Rehabilitation Education

Public Health Education

Medical Student Application Guidelines

Abby's House

Student Rotation Schedule

Preparing For Your Trip

Fundraising Resources

Want to volunteer or do a clinical rotation with Hillside in Southern Belize but don't have the savings to support your experience? You've come to the right place! Here, you will find a variety of fundraising ideas to help make your experience a reality.


"CROWD-FUNDING" (ONLINE FUNDRAISING) — Crowdfunding has proven an effective way of raising funding in recent years, and Hillside has found to be one of the best for students and volunteers looking for external funding sources. Use email and social media to spread the word and begin collecting donations from family, friends and community members.
Visit — The Hillside community of students and volunteers has also found luck with this crowdfunding platform as well. The best part about YouCaring is that there are no fees or commissions deducted from your donations.

Volunteer Forever (for Volunteers) — A respected crowdfunding site tailored specifically to the needs of volunteers.



MedSend (for Volunteers) — MedSend enables highly qualified and dedicated healthcare professionals to serve spiritually and physically needy people around the world in the name of Christ. We do this by making their monthly educational loan payments while they serve. Without MedSend, these healthcare professionals would need to spend years working in the U.S. to pay off their educational debt before going and being able to answer God's call to serve - and many would never make it to the mission field at all.

University Grants & Fellowships — If you are a student, be sure to check with your academic institution for clinical rotation, service learning and international study funding opportunities.



Family & Friends — List all of your friends or family who are interested in Hillside or similar organizations. Decide how much you want to ask each one for. If you are not sure of an amount, use a range. Write to them on your own stationery; include a brochure from the organization and a return envelope. Phone those people who do not respond in two weeks. Some people will need 10 friends to give $100, and some people need 50 friends to give $20. Most people will need a combination of gifts of $100, $50 and $25.iv

Religious Organizations — Many religious organizations are becoming more active in their support of service-related projects with an international focus. Although the organization as a whole may be approached, it may be more appropriate to request aid from a particular committee or arm within the organization that may be set up to act more directly on such a request, e.g., a social ministry committee or "missionary" group. A student who belongs to such an organization may have an enhanced chance of receiving a favorable response.i

Local and Regional Chapters of Professional Organizations — Most medical and allied health sciences professions have their own professional organizations. A well-written proposal directed to the appropriate group may receive a positive response. For instance, the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians' Foundation has designated funds for several partial scholarships for students anticipating participation in a medical missions trip. Eligible students must be enrolled in a Nebraska medical school and have an interest in family practice.i

Local and Regional Chapters of Civic Organizations — Area chapters of the Lions Club, Jaycees, Rotary, Junior League (for women only), etc. give generously to fund education often including international medical electives, especially those chapters located near the medical school or the student's hometown. Look for contacts in the phone book where you study and in your home town.i

Local and Regional Foundations — A locally or regionally based foundation may offer assistance to a student whose international elective is related to the foundation's mission.i

Local and Regional Corporations — National corporations often receive many requests for funding, while local corporations are more accessible and can become more personally involved. A local corporation may consider awarding a grant or a scholarship as part of its public relations efforts.i

Local Newspapers and Magazines — Though not in the same category as the other non-traditional sources identified in this section, local publications in the city where the medical school is located and in the student's home town may consider paying a student to write one or more articles regarding health care issues in the country of the elective. A student who wrote a series of articles for a Philadelphia daily on health care in China recovered all of his trip costs and expenses.i

Matching Funds — Make an agreement with your supporters that they will match, dollar for dollar, or 2:1, 3:1, etc., any amount you raise or give, yourself.



Work Study — Medical schools that use federal or state work-study funds may be able to use excess funds to help finance international electives. The cooperation of the financial aid director is necessary to use the funds for this purpose. The student may be required to work part of the year with the sponsoring department, who must also contribute to the stipend, depending on the school's policies. It may be possible for this contribution to come from another source, such as the alumni association.i

Alumni Associations — Alumni boards may allocate funds for a specific international project which includes student participation. For example, the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center petitioned and received from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine Alumni Association a grant of $16,000 to fund an international elective in Belize for three years. Students receive room and board and half of their air fare for the one-month elective. At Cornell University Medical College, two reunion classes designated their gifts to establish an International Fellowship to honor a well-respected professor. The Dean matched the gift, which is now an endowment, to provide travel funds for students selected by the school's International Committee.i

Individual Alumnus/Faculty/Staff Support — Identification of alumni, faculty, and staff with international interests can serve as a basis for promotion and contribution requests for a particular program or cause. These individuals may be rich sources of information regarding overseas contacts, program development, funding ideas, etc. They may also help finance students. For example, a faculty member of New York Medical College personally finances the airfare of two medical students every year so that they may experience an elective in his home country.i

Commitment from the Dean — At some schools the Dean's office commits funds for use in supporting international electives.i

Student Efforts — A student organization may contribute to fundraising through sales of T-shirts, baked goods, etc.i



Encourage your friends, family and community to challenge you to run a race, take a polar plunge, do handstands or pull-ups, climb a mountain or anything else that gets your heart pumping. Start a Facebook page and describe the fitness challenge you'll do to reach your fundraising goal. Also consider forming a team or create a friendly fundraising competition among classmates or colleagues. Ask supporters to donate for every mile you walk, run or trek, etc.



Birthday $$ for Your Age — Ask friends and family to donate $25 in honor of your 25th birthday (etc.) to help fund your Hillside experience.

Trade Presents for Donations — If a birthday, anniversary or Christmas is looming and gift-giving is on the agenda, ask your loved ones to substitute your presents for monetary donations that you can use to put towards your upcoming volunteer abroad trip! This is arguably the easiest way to get you on your way to volunteer abroad for free!ii

Plan a Profitable Party — If throwing a party and raising money to help you volunteer abroad for free sounds like a sweet combo, you've come to the right tip! Whether you're selling tickets for a dinner party, movie night, dress-up party, or quiz night, you can use the money from the ticket sales to purchase the ingredients/elements for a top night and put the profits towards helping you volunteer abroad for free! IVHQ volunteer, Larissa Rodrigues, hosted an English tea party/dessert night and invited all her friends (and their friends). Larissa baked lots of treats, organised old fashioned games, and asked her guests to contribute $10 towards the night, rather than bringing anything!ii

Convert Clothes to Cash — Turning old clothes or unused household items into cash can also get you on your way to volunteer abroad for free! Set a date for a garage sale, host a silent auction, strike up a deal with your friends, run a Facebook auction, list your items on eBay or Craigslist...The options are endless! IVHQ volunteer, Julie Gowan, collected all the clothing items she no longer needed and sold them for $5 a piece to her friends, so they got a real bargain and Julie made hundreds of dollars for items she no longer wanted - win win!ii

Teach a Seminar — Fundraising, knitting, organic gardening, organizing, proposal writing, environmental impact reports, gourmet cooking, dog grooming, starting your own business. Charge $50-75 per person, with a goal of 15 to 20 people. Either absorb the cost of promotion, or have enough participants to cover it.iv

Host a Big Spaghetti Banquet — Plan a spaghetti dinner at a temple, church or union hall or other big room with a large kitchen with four or five friends. Charge $10 per person and feed more than 100 people. You can charge extra for wine or garlic bread, or for dessert.iv

Host a Dinner Party at Home — Have a fancy dinner at your home or a regular dinner at someone's fancy home. Serve Belizean food, or have special entertainment. Charge $40 or more per person, and have 25 or more guests.iv

52-Week Challenge — The 52 Week Challenge has proved a successful way to set achievable savings goals and build up funds for their volunteer overseas trips over the course of a year. If you're not familiar with the 52 Weeks Challenge... During the first week of the year, you save $1. During the second week, you save $2. Keep adding a dollar each week so that during the last week of the year, you're putting away $52. Even without interest, this adds up to $1,378 over the course of a year!iii


i Adapted from the Creative Funding Guide for International Electives, which was prepared in collaboration with the International Health Medical Education Consortium (IHMEC) and the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) by Sara E. Pirtle, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Office of International Studies and Programs and by the International Health Studies Center of the American Medical Student Association Foundation. 1997

ii Adapted from

iii Adapted from

iv Adapted from Adapted from "Fifty-Three Ways for Board Members to Raise $1,000," By Kim Klein. Grassroots Fundraising Journal, and the Non Profit Alliance.