Fundraising can be a very good way to raise money for your gap year. However, it can be exhausting, hard work, frustrating and a little risky. I guess that’s why a large number of people who say they intend to fundraise never actually go about doing it. However, if it all goes to plan, you can make more money from a single fundraising event than from working four weeks in a full time job.
A lot of people think that fundraising should only be done for worthwhile projects such as volunteering. While it’s true that it’s easier if people perceive you’re doing something worthwhile, it’s not completely impossible to fundraise for a normal gap year. A good way of combating the idea that ‘you’re going on a long holiday’, is to offer to donate half of your fundraising money to charity. People are always more inclined to put money in if they think its helping others.
One of the first things to think about if you want to fundraise is “What do you want to do?’ Do you have any particular talents you can use? Are you a gifted artist or good with a musical instrument? Can you sing or dance? Any one of these ideas could be good for a fundraiser.
Once you’ve decided on what sort of fundraiser you want to do, plan it out carefully. You need to consider advertising, any hidden costs (remember even boot fairs charge £5 for a stall), any problems. Try and think about the whole plan from beginning to end.
For example, if you wanted to sell cakes, what would happen if someone got sick after eating one? You actually need a licence to sell cakes to the public, its illegal any other way. Get round this by selling cakes to family, friends or in places such as your office or college. Failing that, sell the paper plate and tell people the cake is free! Think things through… spending some time thinking about the logistics now, will save you several headaches later on.
Now you’ve decided on your event, ask yourself how you’ll get money from this. If you’re doing something unusual like sitting in a bath of cat food or standing on one leg for a day, think about sponsorship forms and collection tins. Ring up your local paper and tell them what your doing and why. Make a short booklet on your proposed plans for your gap year and outline where the money is going. If the paper run your story, cut it out, stick it to a cardboard back and use it for collecting more sponsors. People are more inclined to sponsor something once they see it’s genuine.
Know your stuff. People will want to know exactly why they should give you money. Know what you want to do on your gap and why. Obviously, if you’re volunteering, have some information about what you will be doing. If you’re working in Australia for a year, outline how this will help you grow as a person and will improve your job prospects.
Big events such as discos and fashion shows require alot of planning and money up front. You can raise all your fundraising in one go with events such as these, but be careful how much you spend. Try to find out how many people would want to take part before committing yourself. Maybe sell tickets upfront and use the money gained as your capital.
Don’t forget little things. Offering to weed your next door neighbour’s garden can often earn you the odd fiver. If you have a birthday coming up, ask your relatives for money towards your trip.
The more unusual or disgusting your fundraising idea is, the more people will pay to see you do it. I guess its human nature. Try to think of something truly unique in order to raise the cash. Newspapers are more likely to cover these events. It’s even better if you can tie your event into your gap year, however peripherally. I sat in a bath of cat food to link my fundraiser with lions!
Don’t forget to thank your sponsors. Put up a sign with individual names on or create a webpage with a section to thank everyone. Don’t forget to thank your parents, contrary to popular belief, they don’t have to support whatever crazy scheme you think of. Make sure everyone knows how much money you raised and where the money will be spent.
Once you’ve done your fundraiser and you’ve raised the cash you needed, don’t forget to put fundraising on your CV. It shows organisational skills, passion, individuality and loads of other things prospective employers want to see.
Finally, have a good trip! Enjoy your time away. Take a second to relax and feel grateful for all your hard work. Look where it’s got you!