By: Jeff Boucher
Published On: May 29, 2018
Funds raised: Rs 9,03,221
A Canadian teacher’s passion for education drove him to encourage a collective goal to build a newer and bigger campus in Myanmar for his students.
Jeff Boucher, originally from Canada, lived in different parts of the world until finally making his home in the picturesque city of Taunggyi, Myanmar. Here, he plays a leading role in the educational landscape. He describes himself as an eternal student and is avidly passionate about driving change through education.. As the Director of the Theik Khar Myanmar Institute, he has dedicated his life to provide education that equips students with the skills to lead Myanmar’s sustainable development initiatives and find solutions for its humanitarian crises. In an effort to take in a larger population and widen the institute’s prospects, Jeff turned to crowdfunding with Impact Guru to build a newer and improved campus.
Jeff managed to exceed his own expectations with his fundraiser – raised nearly double his goal!
TKMI is a purely non-profit driven entity and under Jeff, it runs a 15-month intensive program with disciplines in arts, social studies and sciences. The institute provides its students with education, accommodation, involves them in activities and excursions, all free of cost, and even gives them a monthly stipend for food. TKMI has been paramount in making a dent in the educational deficit in Myanmar by providing practical and philosophical learning opportunities to its students. While some of the institute’s alumni find careers with NGOs and advocacy groups, some choose scholarships abroad and several are successful in launching their own businesses and organizations as well.
Jeff strongly believed that moving the institute to the countryside was necessary to reach a higher sustainability goal, deepen the curriculum with more outdoor practical learning and work closely with local communities. His supporters surpassed his initial goal of Rs 5,22,600, coming together to contribute Rs 9,03,221; nearly double!
How did his crowdfunding campaign do so well?
Detailed budget plan: Beautifully written stories and pictures are great at moving potential donors, but what is most effective in getting someone to click the donate button is a well-thought and transparent budget plan. Even if a viewer relates and cares about your cause, they may hesitate, wondering where exactly their money is going. Jeff clearly stated how the funds will be used: Rs 5 lakhs was needed to acquire a 7-acre land on the quiet outskirts of Taunggyi and if donations exceeded this amount, they would be used to build classrooms, a computer lab, and so on.
Collective goal: Jeff didn’t simply advertise, he involved. His students were a part of his crowdfunding effort – they promoted the fundraiser within their communities, doing wonders for organic outreach. He did the same with his widespread network, creating a sense of a collective goal and ownership in each individual that viewed his fundraiser.
Social media planning: Jeff posted updates on the progress of his fundraiser constantly on Facebook and other social media networks. Telling people about your fundraiser isn’t enough – letting them know how well it’s doing (and reminding them of its deadline to create a sense of urgency) is more effective in creating a buzz, building trust and thus encouraging more donations.
Leveraging existing networks: Living in countries across the world did wonders for Jeff’s fundraiser; his existing networks were so varied and largely spread that he could easily reconnect with individuals that could relate to his cause. Donations from earnest supporters poured in from far and wide, helping his campaign become the success it was.
To visit the institute’s fundraiser page, click here.
To start fundraising for your own cause, click here.