I hear from so many people over the course of a week regarding this blog, the social media pages and why I have them all set up. Some of those comments are a bit iffy but the majority are lovely - several people have said they are waiting for the page to go live on the fundraising site itself (remember I have to raise £100 online before they will put it live where it will reach bigger audiences). A few of those people have asked me if they can have my bank or paypal details so they can donate directly to me, cutting out the fundraising site fees for both them and me. While this sounds like a great idea in that it will mean I get more money (I won't have to pay the site their percentage - although paypal charge me so that doesn't work quite as well except going direct to my paypal I would only pay their charges and not the site charges) I have refused their offer. I don't mind allowing the friends who owe me money to pay direct into my account but I am savvy enough to know that allowing someone I don't know to do so could open all kinds of avenues I am not prepared to go down.
By keeping it all above board, going through the site I am covering myself from as many angles as I possibly can. While it is still possible for someone to commit fraud through them - of that I have no doubt as the people who would do such a thing are extremely clever - it is down to the people who run the site to check everything and everyone is legit. Someone out there may right now be looking and thinking to themselves - I've got £30k floating around that I'm doing nothing with so I'm going to give it to this woman, let her take those kids away, allow them to fly first class (what an experience) and that person may want to donate it to me directly, but how do I know they are legit? How do I know their not trying to launder money? I'm sure they'd have to have access to my account to do such things but as I said these people are clever. For all our sakes - mine and you lovely donors - the percentage I am charged is minimal and it is put there for our own protection. I have to prove who I am to the site organisers for me to be able to access any funds that are donated to me. I have also come across another fund raising site specifically for traveling. You can only run one of their campaigns for 120 days but it goes live the very second you publish it so there is a chance of getting some donations from there also - and every on that site will be there solely for travel donations. Any amount received on there will help to fill the savings account. The more options there are the better my chances at raising what is needed. It would make more sense to share that one too for now until I get enough for the other one to go live. So many options. I really can make this happen - with other people's help.
On the amount needed, after figuring out I need to alter the travel arrangements yesterday I had a re-work of figures and whether it is worth us driving for 9 hours between Denver and Jackson Hole or if we should fly. I made the decision that flying would probably work better, although this does add more money to the amount needed - I guess I'll play it by ear and see how much I can raise before I make a final decision but I have found it is cheaper and easier to fly from the UK to Denver and back at the start and beginning. We would arrive teatime in Denver, could them overnight in an airport then catch a flight to Jackson Hole the next morning which would get us in for lunchtime. That gives us a leisurely afternoon to mooch about where we could catch up on some sleep before we hit the road. I think that extra day could make all the difference to tired old and younglings as we will all be. It does raise the total costs to roughly £4000 per person which sounds a lot but for 3 weeks of flights, car hire, fuel, motels, entry into parks/museums and food isn't that bad. I paid more than that for my 17 days whistle stop tour then had to pay for food and other bits on top. £8000 each will see us flying first class and we could upgrade to a possibly 3 star motel rather than the 2's I've been looking at. Or, we could hire a bigger car so we are able to travel in a bit more comfort than we will with the small car I have budgeted for.
At the end of the day, when and how we travel is down to the lovely people out there who come across me and my fundraising. Your donation (no matter how small) could be the one which gives me and the kids a pretty fantastic holiday.
Yes, I will be sharing exactly how much I have spent when I book everything so that you all know where your donations have gone. You really can make a difference to not one, but 4 people's lives.