Ticket to Ride: How Teens Can Fundraise to Realize Our Dreams is a handbook for young people that shows how you can raise money for big dreams. At around 100 pages, Ticket to Ride is a quick, easy read. It includes anecdotes of my own fundraising mishaps and experiences while raising $12,500 to go on a semester program to Ecuador, as well as step-by-step ideas and checklists guiding you through how you can fund your dreams, too.
Inside, you’ll find how to:
•Break a big project down into doable steps;
•Write a smashing fundraising letter;
•Find odd jobs;
•Plan, organize and carry off fundraising events—without losing your shirt;
•Say thank you;
•Build enough momentum to reach your goal!
Two years ago, I was really lucky to get the support I needed to figure out how to fundraise. After returning from my trip, I started having more and more conversations with people my age who wanted to know how they could do it too.
While I was talking to them, I started wondering if there were books that could help: a manual to walk them through the process step-by-step, something they could refer to for ideas. There were only so many people I could reach personally—surely there was a good resource I could recommend. But after googling and visiting some bookstores, I couldn’t find any.
So I began writing.
“You’re raising $8,500?”
I let my finger drop from Ecuador on the world map I was using to show my friend Clayton. “More or less.” I hadn’t told him that $8,500 was just the tuition, leaving $4,000 in expenses unmentioned.
He raised his eyebrows.
We had been friends since we were six, running around with his little brothers and my little sister, playing tag and climbing trees. I knew him well enough to know that right now, he thought I was crazy.
I shrugged nonchalantly. I didn’t tell him that just that morning I’d been almost in tears, not knowing how I would ever succeed.
He looked skeptically at Ecuador on the map, then shrugged, too. “Okay then.”
We went back to playing cards with his brothers. Neither of us knew at that moment that in a year’s time, he would also be on the plane.
Later, as I told him more about trekking in the Andes and exploring the jungle, his eyes lit up. I showed him the Kroka Expedition blogs from past Ecuador semesters, written by the students as they lived their adventure. A smile spread across his face as he began reading.
When I saw Clayton again the following week, his skepticism had melted and been replaced with his own thoughts of adventure. We were swinging on the play-set with my sister Cori when a friend walked by and asked how we were.
“We’re both raising $12,000 to go to Ecuador,” Clayton called back.
“Wow, that’s… a lot.” I could tell she was trying not to discourage us. She smiled, the unspoken question in her face: “How?”
“Well, good luck.” The meaning behind her words was abundantly clear, “good luck with that.”
Her unspoken skepticism stung, but she had a point. I had no idea how we were going to raise it all.
What People are Saying
many high school students assume that the experience of a gap year
between high school and college is one limited to those who can afford
it. Hila Shooter demonstrates in her book that anyone with
resourcefulness, motivation, and creativity can raise the funding needed
to have such an experience. This book is a really helpful step-by-step
guide for how to raise money, with lots of useful suggestions along the
way. I strongly recommend that anyone planning to raise money for a
worthwhile cause give this book a close read."
—Robert Clagett, board member of Thinking Beyond Borders and former Senior Admissions Officer at Harvard College
“I really loved Hila’s book! Ticket to Ride is a great read all the way to the end. What a gift to other young people. From her warm, well-crafted initial letter to potential supporters, to her explanation of the value of a timeline and projections, from her guidance about how to keep supporters involved and committed, all the way to her glowing final thank-you letter, this is a book that WORKS! Hila’s text sparkles with anecdotes and images. Her candor, vibrancy, determination and effort, and her deep appreciation of her supporters and of her marvelous experience make this ‘how-to’ book a delight.”
—Joyce Reed, director of College Goals, LLC, and former Assoc. Dean of the College at Brown University
“The ideas in this book have helped me accomplish my fundraising goals, which allowed me to reach my dream of going on a semester program. I couldn’t have done any initiating without Hila’s wise guidance or prolific thinking.”
—Shai, a Kroka Expeditions semester student
Here’s Where You Come In
Your support will help pay for typesetting, book design, postage to send the book to backers, and most of all, the printing!
If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s an all-or-nothing model. If we don’t reach our funding goal by the deadline, the project isn’t financed and your account won’t be charged for your pledge.
Here are 3 ways you can help spread the word!
•Email your friends asking them to check out this Kickstarter page;
•Share this Kickstarter page on your Facebook wall or on Twitter;
•You can also like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tickettoridebook.
Thanks for checking this project out. Let’s help young people fund their dreams!
Risks and challenges
A huge challenge of this project—writing the book—is over! Now the risks and challenges I face are those of every self-publisher: getting the book typeset and into production, finding the right printer... I'm lucky in that my parents have worked in publishing and are helping me think these things through.
The biggest challenge we face now is finding funding so we can finish the book and make it a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)