When it comes to money…things are getting serious! To start with, funding is a whole chapter by itself and probably the most painful part of planning and implementing a new project – in our case, a youth exchange. The first and hottest topic of them all is…WHERE DO WE FIND THE MONEY? Well, there are a number of responses that could fit your questions, though some of them seem far more realistic than others. Here are the most common resources:
- International and regional donors – there are a number of institutions, organizations and foundations that are active in the region and support youth exchanges. Under very specific requirements, that seem to vary from donor to donor, receiving grants for the planning and implementation of a youth exchange project figures in the top of the list when it comes to budgeting. Recognizing the importance of youth exchanges and the great benefits they offer along the way, there are numerous opportunities for grants to support them. Here are some of the most willing donors:
- Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO): an independently functioning institutional mechanism, founded by the Western Balkans 6 participants (WB 6): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, aiming to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region through youth exchange programs. You can find more information athttps://www.rycowb.org/
- Erasmus+: the most famous program of European Union that supports travel as well as practical and activity-related costs necessary for the youth exchange. Learn more at https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/opportunities/individuals/young-people/youth-exchanges_en
- Europe for citizens: another program of the EU that contributes to citizens’ understanding of the EU, its history and diversity and encourages the democratic participation of citizens at EU level. Explore it athttps://eacea.ec.europa.eu/europe-for-citizens_en
- European Youth Foundation (EYF): a division in the Youth Department of the Council of Europe’s Directorate of Democratic Participation, Directorate General of Democracy that provides financial and educational support for European youth activities. Visit them athttps://www.coe.int/en/web/european-youth-foundation
- Foreign embassies–there are several programs supported by embassies or other similar foundations that you could probably explore. Visit the Youth Divisions of the Embassies and Consulates and look around for opportunities!
- Domesticdonors – you can look for support from relevant ministries and other government institutions, even local self-governments that can recognize their interests in realization of international events, such as youth exchanges on their territory.
- Sponsors – you can contact companies and ask them to sponsor your event, either through their corporate social responsibility programs, by direct financing of your event, or by providing you with their services/products in exchange for promotion.
But what if you can’t find any opportunity available for your project or your application is not accepted by official grant providers? Don’t lose hope! The power is in your own hands!
- Fundraising – this method constantly gains popularity and there is no reason to wonder why! The general public seems rather willing to offer their little something in order to support great ideas and initiatives by young people for young people! Think about organizing a fundraising event such as a concert, a charity dinner or even a play. Other methods of fundraising may include selling services or products provided by your organization, its members or supporters, or even directly contacting individuals who are able and willing to support some action that is beneficial for the community. Give it a try – it will definitely be worth it!
- Crowd-funding – technology is on your side and it offers a wide range of platforms that provide services forfinancial support. There are a lot of such initiatives to explore and who knows? Maybe your fate leads you to the digital world! Here are some options:
Work on your fundraising plan in cooperation with your partners, make a list of potential donors and divide tasks among each other. Maybe you can receive the whole budget from only one donor, however, in practice organisations usually have more than one source of financing for their projects.
And if you seem to have no luck with these methods…well..you can always pray for a Magic Lamp! 😊