To apply, renew, or make changes go to: travel.state.gov/passport
Centers for Disease Control (the CDC)
For a wealth of information on international go to: cdc.gov/travel
There is a wealth of information at this sight. You can search by country and discover the specific requirements and recommendations for vaccines and malaria treatment as well as travel and safety tips. Remember, the required vaccines are required for your return into the USA.
Travel notices and health tips are posted and updated regularly. Safety and security abroad along with contact information is posted. The most accurate and up-to-date CDC news and announcements are listed.
The US State Department informs of conditions abroad that may impact travel.
Go to: travel.state.gov/travel
You may search by specific country for information about: travel, location of the US Embassy and Consular Office, visas, security information, health and medical conditions, localized hot spots, and the law.
Guide to Fundraising for Your Mission Trip
10 Useful Tips to Get You Started
Fundraising can be a fun, exciting and fulfilling part of the journey. To help along your way, check out the following tips how to start your fundraising campaign and other tips to guide you throughout the process.
1. Make a list of everyone you know and all the local organizations and companies who might be able to donate. This list can include your family, friends, neighbors, contacts, etc., but can also include people from other aspects of your life, such as your place of employment, school, church, neighborhood groups, doctors, teachers—anyone you think may be able to help sponsor your trip. Many local organizations or companies are eager to donate to causes like yours, so think outside the box! See if the company you are currently working with is willing to grant you a matching gift.
*Tip: Some people you contact will be extremely supportive, sharing your enthusiasm and excitement, while others may not respond, but always remember, "if you don't ask, you won't receive."
2. Write out your goals and reasons for going on your mission trip. This will be useful when you are talking to potential sponsors or writing fundraising letters, to explain how a contribution to your volunteer work will make a positive impact. Learn all you can about issues facing the country and program site you chose, so you can explain why you chose to volunteer there.
3. Designate a "Fundraising Ally." This person can be a friend, parent, coworker, or anyone who will check in with you about your progress, offer more ideas and recommendations, and share your enthusiasm about your experience.
4. Start early and create benchmarks. As soon as you make application for your mission trip, develop a fundraising plan and get started. Look at the total amount of money you need to raise, and set periodic goals that serve as benchmarks to keep you on target, for example, "$1,200 by August, $2,400 by October." Once you apply, we can give you support and guidance to help you reach your goals. You are encouraged to check in often about your progress as we can offer more ideas and recommendations, and answer questions about your trip.
5. Keep your emails and letters short and simple. Your letters and emails to sponsors should be no longer than one page. Too much information could overwhelm sponsors that may not be familiar with the intricacies of volunteering overseas or international development. Generally, people will be more likely to contribute when they are assured that it is a good cause and that you are committed to making a difference. See some sample emails and letters for ideas.
*Tip: Always follow-up. It is important to get on the phone with small businesses, civic or religious groups, and your friends and relatives to let them know that you really do need their support. One follow-up call can make the difference between a person sending a check or forgetting about it.
6. Ask for a specific amount of money. When you say "contribution", some people are thinking $5, while others are thinking $500. Tell people how much you need, and let them know the total amount that you are hoping to fundraise. You may even want to outline the cost per day of your program (divide your total program fee by the number of days you will be overseas) and ask to be sponsored for at least one day. Highlight specific amounts in your letter, such as checkboxes from $20 to $500, and include an "other" category at the end for sponsors to fill in a custom amount. Be advised that most people will check the lowest option so make sure that the amount you choose is enough to meet your goals.
7. Convey a sense of urgency to potential sponsors. This limits their time to forget about giving you a contribution. Give your sponsors a specific date by which to get back to you, preferably at least three weeks before your trip fee payment deadline. Put this date in your sponsor request emails and letters and send them friendly reminders, with a note of how much closer you are to getting toward your goal.
8. Make it convenient for your sponsors to donate toward your program. Tell them that they can make a secure contribution via PayPal online at www.lifemgt.net and place your name in the comment section.
9. Recognize your sponsors. Always thank your sponsors; they will appreciate the recognition and praise. Write a personalized thank you note to everyone who contributes. You can also host an event before you depart to publicly acknowledge and thank your supporters. Learn more about hosting events to fundraise for your mission trip if you decide to host such an event.
*Tip: Always explain that financial contributions toward the program fee are 100% tax-deductible (for U.S. residents). Sponsors making contributions online in any amount will receive a tax document via email.
10. Host a get-together when you return and invite all your sponsors. A great way to secure funding from religious organizations, civic groups, alumni associations, and educational institutions is to offer to give a presentation when you return. Highlighting your service abroad and what you learned helps people understand how their contributions made a difference. Photos of you working overseas will speak volumes.