Fundraising for Your Gap Year

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When it comes to traveling or going away on your gap year, it seems the main obstacle that most people have is money (or a shortage of it). Most people fund their trips abroad by working manically before they leave, but there are other ways of fundraising your adventures – some of which can actually be pretty fun and enjoyable. In fact, raising the required amount of money yourself (without hand-outs from your parents) can actually make the trip feel more rewarding as you know how hard you’ve worked and what it’s taken for you to be there.

First of all, people are much more likely to ‘donate’ money to you if you’re going on some kind of gap year scheme or you’re doing some kind of overseas charity/volunteer work (rather than spending two months partying in Thailand!)

The problem with most gap year schemes is that they often cost upwards of $5,000. It’s difficult for students to save up such a large amount of money – especially if they’ve just finished school/college/university (as the chances are they won’t have been working a whole lot during that time) – especially if they’ve just finished school/college/university (as the chances are they won’t have been working a whole lot during that time) – especially if they’ve just finished school/college/university (as the chances are they won’t have been working a whole lot during that time).

The Easiest Way to Collect Money

Collecting MoneyIf you’re doing any kind of sponsored charity event (such as running a marathon or doing a bike ride), signing up for sites such as www.JustGiving.com allows people to donate money to you online. You will be given a URL that is specific to you (e.g. something like ‘www.justgiving.com/NicksBikeRide’) that you can send to your friends (over email, Facebook and Twitter), urging them for donations.

If you’re signed up to Facebook and have a large number of friends on there, it’s also a good idea to create an ‘event’ on there and invite all of your friends to it. This is a great way to let everyone you know what you’re doing without having to explain it 100 times!

Fundraising Ideas

People will sponsor you to do almost anything that
I’ve found that the best things are often a little wacky and uncomfortable. For example, you might be sponsored to:

  • Sit in a bath of beans
  • Spend a week dressed as a clown
  • Shave all your hair off (or get something shaved into your head)
  • Get your legs/chest waxed

There are millions of other ideas like this, but the best fundraising ideas are the ones that get people talking and telling their friends. E.g. “Did you hear about Mark? He’s spending an entire week up a tree to raise money for his trip to Ghana!”

As well as doing something wacky, you could plan an actual fundraiser and invite as many people as you know. For example, you could organize a quiz night at your local pub/school hall or you could have a barbeque in your garden (or a friend’s garden if yours isn’t big enough) and charge everyone an admission fee (but promise them free food).

Another idea is to put on a concert (at a local hall or outdoor area) and invite bands that you know to play. You could charge people a small entry fee on the door and sell food and drinks as well.

These are a few great ideas for fundraising events, but anything that gets people together and enjoying themselves will work.

One of the added benefits of planning a fundraiser is that it looks great on your CV (as it shows you’re responsible, creative and able to organize events).

Writing Letters

LetterAnother way of raising funds is to get sponsored by local businesses/schools/stores/churches. The most common way of attracting sponsorship from such organizations is to write them a letter asking for a donation/sponsorship. You could offer to do something in return for them, such as wear a t-shirt with their company logo on it as you reach the top of a mount Kilimanjaro (if that’s what you’re doing).

While it’s much easier (and quicker) to print out dozens of letters on your computer, sending out hand written letters will make you stand out are less likely to be thrown straight in the trash.

When sending letters to businesses, try to address the letter to an actual person (instead of just the company) if possible.

Instead of always asking for money, some businesses would rather donate a product or an item instead as an alternate form of gap year fundraising.

For example, a local supermarket might provide you with the beans if you’re going to be sponsored to sit in a bath of beans, rather than making a monetary donation. They might also donate items that you can raffle off as prizes at an event.

Be sure to note down exactly which organizations have sent you what so that you can write them a nice thank-you note once you’ve reached your target, then another once you’ve returned from your trip (letting them know how it went).


Related posts:

  1. Gap Year Expeditions
  2. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking a Gap Year
  3. The Pros and Cons of Gap Year Organizations
  4. Gap Year Conservation Programs




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