The moral question concerning charity holidays recently reared its ugly head when I joined my cousin to celebrate her completion of the Camino trail. The 800km she walked was tough and her challenge was a very personal affair. However, as she arrived in Santiago de Compostela, it was evident that walking the trail is not what it used to be.
Walking the Camino is just one of the many charity holiday adventures now on offer. Fundraising ‘trips of a lifetime’ such as trekking through the Atlas mountains, climbing Kilimanjaro, cycling to Paris or dog sledging through Lapland’s winter wonderland are readily available.
Although labelled a holiday, they very rarely are, as a difficult challenge is a powerful motivator for raising funds. So the level of accomplishment required can be very high. Most packages offer adrenaline-fuelled adventures designed to push participants out of their comfort zone for a worthwhile cause. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The level of commitment required to achieve your goal has to be high. But the method can be tailored to suit your ability, while still combining self-fulfilment with fundraising. So is it better to undertake an organised charity holiday or go solo?
Join an organised trip
Possibly the easiest way to venture out on a charity holiday is to sign up with a big organisation. Action Challenge, Charity Challenge and Global Adventure Challenges all take the strain out of arranging a challenging trip. But big adventures cost big bucks, so there are a couple of options available when booking with a charity holiday organisation:
1. Pay all the costs yourself (flights, food, accommodation) and donate all the money you raise to charity via the holiday provider.
2. Pay a registration fee, commit to a level of fundraising, and have the expenses for the trip deducted from the amount you raise.
However, there is a catch. Most organisations are profit-driven. So company expenses for staff wages, admin etc., are also deducted from the funds you raise, further reducing the final amount a charity will receive
Form a group
If you lack the courage to go solo and know you will need some mental or physical support to get you through your charity holiday ordeal. Joining or forming a group of likeminded people who have similar ambitions and goals could be your solution. Fundraising in a group is also a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts in a team environment and can be a life-bonding experience. Plus by sidestepping the big organisations you will ensure that more of the money you raise will go directly to the charity you have nominated to benefit from your efforts.
Go it solo
If you are a born organiser and already a savvy traveller who likes to personalise an experience, then going solo is an effective way to fundraise. Set yourself a goal which you think is achievable and will inspire friends and family to donate.
Organisations like Go Fund Me, Just Giving, and Crowd Funder can help raise your target amount. But they are profit-driven companies so not every last penny goes to the charity. However, their low rates balanced against the ease of use of their software and the opportunity to collect payments securely mean they are a useful fundraising tool.
So if it’s an experience you crave use one of the many dedicated charity holiday organisations offering fantastic fundraising adventures. But if a maximum donation is your driving force, then going it solo or with friends will reap the most rewards for the charity of your choice.