Hi Katie, great to see you are doing well with your fundraising for your Challenges Worldwide ICS placement, you have been very entrepreneurial and we think you are displaying the kind of proactive nature that will ensure success, therefore we thought it would be good to catch up with you so you could share your experience and help inspire others with their fundraising efforts.
What are you doing for your fundraising?
I am making candles and Christmas cards to sell online, at a Christmas fairs and to friends and family. I also have a plan to host a local event in the village and hope to do some talks to the local Women’s Institute.
Why did you choose to sell candles for your fundraising?
I really love anything DIY and wanted to use this passion to make something that would encourage donations for my fundraising target. I found a video on Buzzfeed DIY that sparked the idea, and after some online research, I realised the simplicity of it. Candles are something I use regularly to calm me down after a stressful day, and essential oil blends are something I use each night to help me sleep. Blending all my passions spurred me into buying the supplies and getting to action!
Have you much experience in making products by hand?
I have dyspraxia, which limits my coordination. I really enjoy making things, but have very little confidence and ability in doing so. I have tried with little success to be creative and make things I even used to knit products (with very little avail) in 2014. After discovering candle making involved very little coordination I jumped at the idea. Though I struggle with simple things within the process, the ongoing production of them will only improve my ability.
How do you plan to sell them?
I am currently utilising Facebook and Instagram as a medium to get friends and family onboard. I also have had a few sales through word of mouth, which is very useful for the older generations. I have managed to secure a Christmas fair stall on December 2nd. If it is successful there is another fair I will try to attend. I have also set up a Depot store selling them, which hasn’t been promoted as much as I could but now I have set up my Etsy store, I will aim to promote this when I have 2-3 products to encourage visitors and promote sales.
Do you have experience of selling products online?
Other than selling clothes on eBay, I have little online sales experience. However my Mum works for a small cashmere company that is based online, and she is able to provide me with a lot of helpful tips and aid me with this.
Do you think that fundraising for Challenges Worldwide ICS has helped you to improve your skills?
Massively, Challenges Worldwide has given me the confidence to pursue something I was previously so nervous to do. The support I have been provided with has helped me make the move to start doing it and encouraged me to keep going with it and aim as high as I can.
How do you think you might use these skills to support a fast growing business in Kitwe, Zambia?
The skills I’m learning are those that many struggling businesses have to go through, the hurdles that have to be jumped by me selling candles can only be harder for a fast growing business. I will be able to use these skills to allow me to relate to the problems the businesses are facing, and enable me to provide successful suggestions with proven worth on how to combat the problems. The skills are not something I could have learnt in any other manner than doing it all myself.
What are you most hoping to get out of your Challenges Worldwide ICS placement in Zambia?
I am hoping to be able to develop my confidence and be able to gain a better insight into SME growth in developing countries in an aim to tackle poverty. Learning skills to tackle poverty are very important to me. I am hoping my placement will take me a step closer to enable me to work in international development and with charities in the future. I also hope that by becoming a team leader in a foreign environment I will learn how to bring the best out of people, and how to successfully lead a team aiding my career development opportunities.
Good luck with your fundraising efforts Katie! You are doing a great job and we can’t wait to have you join our team in February!
Why do our volunteers fundraise?
Although the Department of International Development (DFID) funds 90% of the approximate £7000 cost for each International Citizen Service volunteer. ICS asks participants to raise a fraction of the cost so that others can also have the ICS experience. The money raised will go towards enabling the overall costs of ICS, ensuring that youth volunteers from the UK can continue to make a lasting difference in disadvantaged communities around the world.
Are you a Challenges Worldwide ICS volunteer with an exciting fundraising story to tell? Get in touch with your Pre-departure Coordinator and tell us all about it. Alternatively, you can send an email to our communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org