FINANCES AND BUDGETING
Each year our budget varies. With the new format for this year’s intensives and no fire shows, we are currently recalulating.
We raise money pay for indispensable shared gear like workshop props, musical instruments, first aid supplies, drinking water, stereo systems, meals and transport for some of the schools or orphanages (hungry kids can’t play!) We also make significant donations of practical necessities for the communities work with as needed. This includes items like water tanks, roofing, bags of rice, medicines. At the end of every season we donate our stereo system, the first aid kits, tools, etc– anything useful or desirable to the local communities.
Our Spark Circus Director’s makes an honorarium of $5,000 for her year round work, and has her living expenses covered while volunteering two months of her time on the ground with the Thai Burmese Border Project. All of the performers are incredibly generous volunteers! The administration costs of our project are minimal– we don’t even have a formal office. They are usually less than 15% of the annual budget.
Donors may choose to direct the funds they donate to a specific purpose, and we will use them as specified and report back with picture, video and stories… the connections between what we fundraise and what happens to it is very direct and accountable. Nothing is wasted! If you are interested in seeing our budget or financial record, just ask.
Your Personal Budget
2017 spark circus tour will start on the islands in the south and these first two weeks is payed for soley by the volunteer. Please budget for this – here is an estimate of daily costs.
Daily Costs: 700 – 1100 baht per day
- Accommodation, 400 baht/day
- Transportation, 200 baht/day
- Food, 100-400 baht/day
The volunteers are also expected to pay their way from Koh Phagnan to Mae sot.
- bus transportation from BKK – Mae Sot 2500 baht
- Train/boats to Samui/KPG 600 baht return
For the duration of our time in Mae sot, Spark Circus will cover accomodation costs, travels costs, breakfast and lunch. Group meals at dinner time will be covered occasionally and otherwise volunteers are free in the evenings to eat where they like, not paid for by spark.
Additional costs to consider
- Phone service: 100 baht will last about a week; more if you don’t call or text much, less if you have a role that requires communicating with people lots.
- Comfort food: Although you can eat cheaply at the markets and food stalls, you will often be eating with the group in places where food and drinks can run about 120 baht per meal. Plan for even more cost if you are hungry or ordering lots of Western food. Most of us seem to want to eat three times a day when time permits. Western confections and snack foods are available, too, for about what you’d pay at home. Fresh coconuts are around 20 baht each, bottled water is 10 baht a bottle. It’s not a lot, but it adds up.
- Souvenirs: there are so many awesome options from Karen bags to gemstones to cat ears. The prices are reasonable but if you are doing a lot of shopping, bring extra cash.
- Consumables: there is quite a list of stuff you might use up like toothpaste, soap, bug spray, electrolytes, medicines, notebooks, pens, etc.
- Costumes: Bangkok is a wonderland of costumes. Even if you think you brought what you need, you may not be able to pass up all the options.
- Extra transportation: in Mae Sot, you may want to hire a tuk-tuk to the Tesco or go out on sightseeing adventures. Local rides are usually 100 baht or less. Some of the transportation on the island fundraising portion is not covered by the circus (ferries, buses and trains from Koh Samui to BKK, for example) and you will need cash to cover them.
- Extra lodging: for decompression after the circus, whether you are staying in Mae Sot or moving on to other places in Thailand and beyond. 400 baht a night is a reasonable starting point.
- Healthcare: accidents happen and so do illnesses. Check with your travel insurance about out-of-pocket costs and plan to have some emergency money just in case.
- Travel Visa. The cost of your visa depends on what passport you hold and where you apply.
And a note: very few places accept credit cards.
All volunteers are asked to raise a total of 500 pounds (or equivalent in your currency) via fundraising for the project. This amounts to around 100 pounds per month leading up to the project.
Our fundraising advisor will send you packs with material to help you and will be organising some online activities to help. This not only supports us financially, it helps us all raise awareness in our communities of the burmese and tribal peoples situation in Thailand. It is also a fun way to get the energy flowing throughout the year, for us all.