While we would love to bring along everyone who wants to go on our pilgrimages, we are not able to offer discounts or scholarships like we do for our Institute courses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and find ways to get yourself on the pilgrimage! Below are 10 ways to raise funds and cover part or all of your pilgrimage cost. If you have any ideas you’d like to share, reply to this email and we’ll add them to this list!
1. Online fundraising campaign. Create an online fundraising campaign and share your story to inspire donations. Why is this pilgrimage so important to you? If you are in ministry, how will this help you serve? Write out your story and then send the link out to family, friends, colleagues and whoever else may find it on social media and email. You may be surprised at the generosity of those who believe in your mission to be on this pilgrimage.
2. Parish benefactors. Share your story with your pastor and ask if he knows of any benefactors who might want to sponsor you. Perhaps a short testimony in the parish bulletin (sending people to your online fundraising page) will cover most or all of the cost to join the pilgrimage. If your pastor is not willing to place something in the bulletin, if you cook, see if he may be open to having a fundraising dinner in the parish hall.
3. Sell your crafts on ETSY.com. This is a fantastic site where anyone can sell their crafts. If you feel uncomfortable asking people for donations, put your crafts, paintings, woodwork, metalwork, and other hobby crafts for sale on ETSY and explain that proceeds will help you fulfill your dream to be part of this pilgrimage. Many people are happy to support your dream and get a meaningful craft, painting or artifact too.
4. Create T-shirts and other items on sites such as CafePress.com, TeeSpring.com and others. If you have a cool design that can catch fire in your social and email networks, this may be all you need to cover your costs.
6. Take on a temporary part-time job to raise funds — tutoring kids, helping people with house or yard work, dog walking ... think of activities that can help others while getting you closer to your pilgrimage goal.
7. If you are handy with photography and video, you could start a Patreon account and have people sponsor the production of a video pilgrimage that releases upon your return.
8. Birthday/Christmas gifts. If your birthday and/or Christmas are still to come before the pilgrimage, share why this pilgrimage is dear to your heart and suggest to family that you would love donations toward the pilgrimage instead of a physical gift.
9. If you own a local business or have friends who do, see if they would be willing to do a fundraising special there for you. Wine tastings or a special charity dinner at a restaurant are just a couple of events that can raise funds and also provide a business with community exposure.
10. You and friends can put together a charity auction, benefit dinner, 5k/walk-a-thon, raffles and other larger events. This is something several parishioners can do if you want to join the pilgrimage as a group. You will bring back many graces and enrich your parish by sharing your journey, perhaps with a potluck dinner and a slideshow.
No matter which fundraising paths you choose (and it’s great to have at least a couple in progress to help you achieve your goal faster), always remember to ask those who donate for their prayer intentions and add those to the other intentions you've gathered (and ask them to pray for you too!). One of the primary reasons to go on pilgrimage is to carry these intentions to the various holy sites and present them to the Lord.
Theology of the Body Institute Pilgrimage Team