This suggestions sometimes garners some funny looks, but hear us out. Your child studying abroad in London may not bring the same sympathy and dollars as building a school in Zimbabwe, but there are still plenty of people in your child’s network (and perhaps beyond) that want to support her. Your child also has more control over the outcome, unlike scholarships or financial aid.

There are crowdsource funding sites out there, such as fundmytravel, that make it super convenient for people to give online, but don’t rule out the impact of an old-fashioned letter. The most successful fundraisers will combine a compelling story with some sort of return on investment. This means encouraging your child to consider what they can contribute. We’ve seen students host an art show at a coffee shop, a poetry slam, and theme dinners, all while soliciting valuable donations to the “cause.”

Finally, don’t overlook the obvious. If your child has a job, teach them how to save and set a goal of how much they need to contribute. Start a savings account for your child and set up an automatic withdrawal into the account. Or, if she don’t have a job, maybe she can babysit or sell some of her clothes or wait tables to make some cash to contribute to the trip.

Keys to success:

  1. Tell a compelling story.
  2. Consider your child’s strengths.
  3. Utilize (and build) her network.