Gap Year Fundraising Guide

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Photograph provided by BUNAC

Gap Year Fundraising Guide

(Michaela Scarr, former volunteer with The Leap)

Raising the money to fund your gap year is a big challenge. However, the feeling of personal achievement and confidence will be immense, and will make your experiences overseas all the more sweet! It will demonstrate to universities and future employers your organization skills, determination and work ethic.

Everyone feels daunted when faced with the task of funding an overseas gap year, but with good planning and determination, even in these times of austerity IT IS POSSIBLE!

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Photograph provided by BUNAC


This is essential. Your account will tell you how much you have raised and how far you have to go, and at same time you will be earning interest. Internet banking will give access to your account while overseas.


Gap Year placement Fee               £2500
Airfare                                                   £600
Spending Money                              £350
Clothing and Equipment             £200
Injections/Visa                                 £100
Medication/anti-malarials         £20-100

TOTAL       £3850


Decide what you are going to do to achieve your financial target. How much do  you think you can raise by sponsorship/fundraising and how much by paid work? For the£3850 target above, you might decide:

70% from paid work   £2695

30% from fundraising/sponsorship   £1155

fund image5 fund image2Photograph provided by BUNAC                              Photograph provided by Oyster Worldwide

Paid Work: Start earning money while still at school/college, working part-time in evenings, weekends and holidays. Many gappers find full-time work for up to half their gap year. Put together a professional CV (get help from teachers / parents) and apply for as many positions as possible. Register with employment agencies, jobs centres, visit local jobs fairs, approach employers directly. Create an advert for local papers / noticeboards asking for cash-in-hand jobs (babysitting, cleaning, lawn-mowing etc). Even when jobs are scarce, there will be ‘unsocial’ work available (e.g. shelf-filling, office cleaning).

Fundraising: For fundraising activities you must communicate your cause: who will benefit from money donated and what will it be used for? Be creative when planning fundraising events and publicise them widely to maximize attendance. These are some well-tried examples:

• Cycle an impressive distance – e.g. London to Birmingham

• Sponsored 1 week silence

• Sponsored leg wax or head shave

• Arrange a fashion show

• Arrange a disco/party with a theme connected to your trip – an African or Asian evening    

• Car washing in supermarket or petrol station or car boot sale

Bursaries: There are grants and funds available for young people who are participating in something worthwhile, although these are not always well publicised. Ask your school or college whether they run a gap year or travel bursary, write to local interest charities such as the Rotary or Lions Club and approach businesses in your area for sponsorship. Contact local newspapers to promote your project and request sponsorship. Offer them something in return: a travel blog or a presentation on your return.

Finally: Through a mixture or part/full time work, fundraising activities/donations and a healthy dose of determination, if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it!

Fundraising if you are disabled

The principles will be the same. However, you should take  into account any additional requirements you might have. Regrettably, we do not yet know of any specific grants available to people with disabilities.

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