How I Pay for my Projects by amandakoster

by Amanda Koster, SalaamGarage founder, from the original post on her personal blog

passion. focus. talent. intuition. faith. trust. i.e: love

many people ask me how did you make your projects happen. people really want to know how on earth i fund the projects. well, with money of course. but that’s not the real question. anyone can run a credit card. i know several millionaires who are miserable, lost, spent it all, searching, drunk, still working. it doesn’t take money to follow your passion.

it takes having, trusting and following your passion.

that’s the real struggle for most everyone i meet. their initial question ‘how did you/do i fund this’ isn’t the real question. their real question is ‘how do i discover my passion?… how do i know this is my real passion?’ I say if you are asking the question, you are pretty darn close.

at first i charged everything. didn’t dig credit card debt so i discovered grants. i started applying for grants, and was awarded several: The GAP grant, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and The Puffin Foundation, to name a few. i took a fund raising class and learned it’s faster to raise the money myself. i held fundraisers. raised money from my own community who wants to support me. i literally threw parties and made my intentions very clear: ‘this is a fund raising party. I am going to morocco to work on project x, and am looking for financial support. this is what i plan to do and this is why it is a good idea.’ then started meeting with universities and now corporations. There are also viral ways to raise money, using the social media tools we are already familiar with. it all works.

amanda working in morocco thanks to her self-taught fundraising skills

amanda working in morocco thanks to her self-taught fundraising skills

its all a collaboration in my eyes, and my work has always been about the greater good. i have found that people want to help. they want to be involved. they too want to get those orphans off the streets in to a legitimate home, put that aids orphan through school, give female, sufi muslim musicians some praise and honor. they just may not know where to start. some people, like me, choose to go to kenya an create these documentaries, these stories. others can help fund it, others can help get it published, get it on tv, in books, on gallery walls, etc. This has all happened for me.

key has been to share the project, and also ask for support. its all a collaboration and once i shared my passion i found they had it too, and were happy to collaborate. then, as if by magic, it all came together. it helps me a lot to be very clear and articulate about my intentions. not only does that help me find support, it helps me pinpoint my vision.

now with SalaamGarage trips people are emailing me asking how to work out the money part.

many of the participants have raised the money on their own, just the way i did. by raising money via blogs, twitter, FaceBook, paypal, personal communities, etc., this creates the viral/social media platform and a system of accountability for participants. the people who support them to go on the trip then look forward to seeing results. in turn, this creates goal for the participant to create a project, follow through and share it upon return, which then gets the message of the NGO out there. this also creates a sense of ownership, and also the trip starts when they register vs. when they land in say, guatemala. helps them pinpoint their vision. (see?)

to break it down it looks like this:

1. discover the passion

2. commit

3. come up with a plan

4. share the passion

5. ask for support

6. get support

7. do the work

8. share the work

9. watch the magic, the whole time.

-Amanda Koster

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