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Funding / Scholarships - UK and USA & Canada

 
UK
 
In the UK, there are different ways of funding your volunteer trip. First of all there are thousands of grant-making trusts in the UK; the best way to find out the different kinds of trusts nationally as well as regionally is to visit your library and find the following registers:

Nationally, there are the "Directory of Grant Making Trusts", "The Grants Register" (published by Palgrave Macmillan) and "Sponsorship Funding Directory" (published by Plymbridge Distributors Ltd) with updated registers and descriptions of foundations and trusts.

Regionally, you may look for "A Guide to Local Trusts in Greater London" (London), "A Guide to Local Trusts in the Midlands" (Midlands), "A Guide to Local Trusts in the North of England" (North of England), "A Guide to Local Trusts in the South of England" (for the South of England). Those guides should normally be available in your local library.

One general foundation that funds young individuals and their volunteering trip is "The Jack Petchey Foundation" which holds grants for young people between 11-25. A grant is about £300. The Association of Charitable Foundations provides links to different trusts and foundation websites; the Directory of Social Change provides various databases such as  "Grants for Individuals" where you probably find suitable trusts.
 
Fundfinder provides a guide for writing letters of application, which might be helping you with writing a professional application to foundations. Further, the website provides details of trusts for individuals and groups.
 
Worth a try may be Scholarship Search that not only provides a huge database but many useful links to websites dealing with scholarship browsing. Scottish residents should visit the website of SCVO which includes details of charitable trusts that may fund individuals.
 
Besides trusts and grants, there are other rewarding ways to fund your trip. Find individual sponsors: Ask family, friends, relatives, companies and everybody who might be able to support you. Inform about your project and your goals: create posters, contact your local newspaper or radio, use social networks and the newsletter of your school. Write presentation letters about yourself, your project and your goals to local businesses that might be interested in sponsoring a volunteer trip, and offer them reports, presentations, talks, etc. as compensation. Organizing Fundraising events is another useful and rewarding way: organize a marathon, a concert, whatever you have in mind. Spread the word in your local newspaper (your local community might be helpful in terms of organising such events, you just need to ask), get friends to participate, spread your event in your social network to get people to participate. It needs a lot of planning but it may be very effective in the end! Your school or university can be a very effective source, too: ask about possible financial assistance from your school or university; they might have scholarship opportunities or grants for a stay abroad or specific projects or they may have further ideas and contacts. Most universities already provide information about grants and funds for a stay abroad on their website.
 
 
USA & Canada
 
The best way to fund your volunteer trip or internship abroad is not necessarily a formal scholarship. One of the most effective ways is individual fundraising which means going to people and organizations and ask for support, organizing fundraising events, promoting your specific project in social networks, providing services for contributions of companies. Even bake sales are effective ways to gather your funds. For people / organizations, you can e.g. provide reports from or presentations about your volunteer stay. Rotary clubs, Kiwanis and religious organizations for instance are well-known to provide informal support in exchange of reports and a presentation of your accomplishments when you return. Relatives, friends, family may be sources of funding. You may write letters to companies with a presentation of your project and your goals and probably can provide sth. in exchange: a gift from the host country, reports, etc.

Most importantly: spread the word about your planned stay and project abroad. Ask everyone you might think of for support. Those people probably have other contacts or ideas about sponsors, companies involved in fundraising etc.

Your school / college  / university can be very effective resources, too: use school newsletters to promote your project, aks your guidance counselor / students supervisor about possible financial assistance from your school / college / university (they might have scholarship opportunities or grants for a stay abroad). Many academic departments may have some budget to fund your project, in case it can be integrated into an academic course for example. Colleges may have funds for alumni service projects and may require a report about your stay for the alumni journal. You may also set up educational talks about the country, about your volunteer project, about your experiences, etc. in exchange for some small contribution. Be creative and most of all: ask for advice and opportunities! Universities mostly provide useful information about funding programes for their students already on their website.

IEFA is a useful resource to find any kind of grant information for students who wish to go abroad. Lots of scholarship opportunities as well as grant listings are given. Foundation grants to individuals online is a bit easier to use: you will not only have a list of foundations and scholarship opportunities but can search with lots of individual details matching your needs. The website further provides regularly updates on new and existing programes, search tips and strategies for finding the right grant and lots more. Due to its extended service, you will need to register and pay a little fee to use the whole range of service.

For canadian volunteers, there is a useful database of Yahoo! Canada with some foundations and trusts listed, which refer to grants, funding and scholarship.
 
 
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For funding / scholarships in Germany, Austria and Switzerland please refer to the German language version of this article.