I started this one a long time ago and labeled it as “Something for a later blog” to sort of set it aside and see what I really thought about the idea. I added to it a few times but still never posted it because, up until recently, I thought it was just a silly idea that wouldn’t work. However lately I put more thought into it and have been encouraged to go on with the idea. I may not start with the FULL idea but baby steps towards it or in part are good ways to start. I will go more into the plan later but for now I decided to share what I previously wrote.
I have had a few people tell me that I should set up a donation site or a way of allowing others to donate to my travel goals. While I am happy that there are people out there willing to donate so my dreams can become reality I don’t feel right about it. I feel it may go against the concept that anyone can do it or that it is “cheap or free”. Not to mention this is not something I want to do just once but as often as possible. I can’t constantly accept donations without feeling like a bum or freeloader. Now, not accepting donations can also be rude. So what can I do to create a happy medium? At first I thought half the donations could go towards an organization of some sort while I use the other half for traveling. But that doesn’t give anything back to the ones making the donations. I think the best thing I can do to give back would be to let them experience the trip with me.
Aside from taking everyone with the only solution I can come up with is to provide superb documentation. Photos are an excellent start and can really capture the beauty but not the entire experience. To truly capture the experience one would need video. I am not talking about me just carrying around a personal camcorder to provide a shaky view and crappy audio. I am talking full documentation. A camera crew of one or two people to follow me around on this crazy adventure and film the entire thing would be ideal.
So why not make the best of both worlds here? A camera crew will cost money with both equipment and security. While I stay in the dorm of a hostel they may need to stay in a hotel or somewhere they can secure the expensive equipment. So I am thinking why not make the donations go mostly to funding the camera crew and giving it out for free would be our gift back to those who donated!
Now what would be the best way to go about doing this? From a quick exploration of the fantastic interwebs I have found a few doable options. A key to this is to keep those options free or at least very cheap. That way the asking amount of the donation is obtainable.
One free option is to use a Paypal account with the handy donate buttons. These buttons do come with a price. Paypal takes a minor percentage (1-3%) of each transaction. Rather than buttons you can also use custom applications for social media sites for just a bit more (5%). Considering the nature of the service I would say that is reasonable. You will then need a place to put those buttons.
A custom website can be quite costly. Design alone can cost quite a bit along with the additional fees for the domain name and hosting. Now there are free alternatives like social media sites (Facebook) or even designing your own free blog and adding the buttons there. A friend of mine recently turned me on to an awesome site called Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com). It is a site for people with an idea, concept or design to get funding from anyone though pledges. The people pledging get rewards determined by the creator of the concept. You set a goal, offer rewards and tell about your idea. If your goal is reached then you get all the funding that was pledged. If it is not reached then the pledgers owe nothing and you can start again. Obviously just putting everything up there and hoping for donations is not going to cut it. The key will be to advertise and promote yourself and your idea. This may be the tricky part.
So with that said I officially have a new project to start…