Gap Year Fundraising

If you have made the decision to take a gap year, you’ll need to start thinking about saving the money to pay for it.

Whilst the thought of raising several thousand pounds or more may seem daunting, fundraising is likely to get you a long way toward obtaining the cash you need.

There are loads of ways you can raise money, so don’t let finance put you off your gap year.

Make a plan of action

The first thing to do is write out a plan of how you will go about raising the money. For this you will need to work out:

  • Your fundraising target, e.g. £3,000
  • How you will achieve this – think about how many fundraising events you may need to plan and what sort of things you might like to do
  • A schedule of when you will do each fundraising event
  • Who you expect to come to your events (target audiences)
  • Where you will hold each event
  • How to promote your events, e.g. email, posters, word of mouth

Tips for successful gap year fundraising

Now you have a plan of how to achieve your fundraising goal, it’s time to think about the specifics.

If you’re not sure about the kind of events you would like to organise, here are some tips to help you choose the ones best suited to you, as well as advice on how to generate the most money from your fundraising activities!

1. Plan events involving things you are good at

This can be anything: dancing, running, acting, arts and crafts, eating, etc. Knowing you will ace the event will give you more confidence!

However, being good at something doesn’t always mean you enjoy it – stick to things that you find fun so you’ll be more enthusiastic.

2. Be organised

Make sure all events are thoroughly organised, even if it’s something simple! Remember to check whether you need special permission or a licence, and if it’s a public event, you will have to consider health and safety legislation. It’s best to check with your local fundraising office before you start organising each event.

3. Start early

Get your fundraising underway as soon as possible so you have plenty of time to reach your target. Also, make sure you leave enough time between each fundraising event – if you don’t have enough time to organise one before the scheduled date, you’ll lose valuable money and will set you back from your fundraising target.

4. Try not to overload yourself

Only carry out one event at a time, otherwise you’ll be stressing yourself out if you run two events on the same or consecutive days, and therefore may not be such a big success.

5. Don't spend too much

Be careful about costs – don’t hand over money for schemes you think are too expensive. Remember - you are trying to raise money, not waste it!

6. Spread the word

Let as many people as possible know about your fundraising activities. This means you have the chance to raise as much money as you can. If any of your friends or family has contacts with companies, try asking them if they could donate products and/or services that you can auction off or use in a raffle.

7. Gather feedback

After each event, get together those who helped you organise it, donated money and/or took part. Talk to them about how well it went and how it could have been improved so you can make the next event an even bigger success.

Gap year fundraising ideas

Hopefully you now have at least a few ideas of events you may like to organise as part of your fundraising programme, but if you feel you need a few more or still aren’t really sure what to do, we’ve put together the following A-Z of ideas to help you.

If you have your own ideas that you don’t see here and would like to share them, please email us at and we’ll add them to our list.


Aerobics – if you enjoy keeping fit, get people to sponsor you over a set time period.

Auction of promises – ask people to donate gifts, services, use of their time or their belongings.

American Diner - burgers, chicken and key lime pie all round for this American food-themed evening!

Australian evening - get out the BBQ sausages, cold beer and cork hats for your guests!


Badminton – get those racquets and shuttlecocks out and ask people to sponsor you for a session on the courts!

Barbeque – charge people an entrance fee, or for any food and drink they consume.

Book sale – dig out all your old books and sell them off. Get your friends and family to donate their unwanted books too.

Babysitting - offer to babysit when you are available. Remember to charge a realistic fee for this.


Cold turkey – bite your fingernails? Smoke? Eat too much chocolate? Ask people to donate money to giving up your bad habits.

Coffee morning – invite all your mates round for coffee and catch up with each other!

Cream teas - similar to a coffee morning, this time serving cream tea in the garden (weather permitting!).

Car Boot Sale – rummage through the attic and sell off all your unused possessions.

Cakes stall – bake some cakes and sell your yummy treats!

Car wash - ask residents in your neighbourhood if you can wash their car for a fee. Alternatively, ask permission to use your local authority car parks to offer a car wash service to those who park there.

Comedy night - stand-up comedians just starting out in their careers can be booked for little or no fee at all.

Casino night - set up games of roulette, poker and blackjack with monopoly money.

Cheese and wine evening - treat some guests to a large selection of cheeses and complementary wines.

Chocoholic' morning - serve lots of yummy chocolate treats such as fudge, cakes, brownies, truffles and biscuits, with a mug of hot chocolate to wash it down!

Cocktails and canapes - get people to put on their most expensive evening attire for some sophisticated drinks and dainty fingerfood!


Dinner party – cook dinner and charge your family and friends for a swanky evening out!

Disco – boogy the night away with a 60s or 70s theme!

Dog walking - charge friends and neighbours to walk their dogs for them.


Easter egg hunt/Easter party – if it’s the right time of year, charge people to find hidden eggs or an entrance fee to join your party.


Football tournament – organise it in your local community and charge people to join up.

Film fest – grab some DVDs and snacks, and charge people to join your movie marathon.

Food baths - ask people to sponsor you to sit in a tub of baked beans or cat food for an hour!

Fish and chips evening - no cooking effort required on your part here! Perhaps you could offer a glass of sparkling wine to complement your fishy dish?


Golf match – organise a charity golf day at a local course.

Garden open day - charge people to see your garden. Set up garden produce, home made produce and plant stalls, serve cups of tea, etc.

Greetings cards - make your own cards and sell them.

Gardening - offer to garden for your neighbours or other local residents for a reasonable rate.


Hallowe'en party - get your friends and family to dress up and charge them to enjoy some spine-chilling fun!


Ice skating – get people to sponsor you for how long you think you can skate without falling over!

Ironing - offer to iron clothes for a fee.

Italian evening - invite family and friends for a night of pizza, pasta, ciabatta bread and tiramisu.


Jumble sale – let people enjoy rummaging through your old clothes, books, films, etc.


Karaoke evening – ask a local pub if you can host a karaoke night there, and charge people to sing.



Murder Mystery Evening – charge guests to solve your grisly puzzle!

Masked Ball - a chance for everyone to dress up and enjoy a classic, elegant event.

Mexican evening - time to dish out the fajitas, pinatas, guacamole, magaritas and sombreros for this fun-filled fiesta!


Night in – invite people round for the evening, and ask them to donate the money they would have saved by not going out.


Outings - organise an outing for a group of people, such as a countryside walk and/or picnic, and charge them to come along.


Photo competition – charge people to submit their photos and give a small prize to the one voted the best.

Pudding evening - after your guests have had their dinner at home, invite them round for a tasty pudding afterwards. Make sure you have a wide selection!


Quiz night – either in your home, or a local pub or club, charge people to take part in this favourite event.


Race day – charge people to enter a race round your local park.


Safari dinner - guests arrive at separate houses for different courses of a dinner party. Sell the tickets in advance via invitation only!


Treasure Hunt – charge your family and friends to search for a prize!

Tombola – ask people or local businesses to donate prizes.

Theme days/nights – get people to dress up for themed events at your home or local pub.




Window cleaning - offer to clean the inside windows of your neighbours' houses for a small fee.


Xmas draw - organise a special Christmas raffle to be drawn at a local shop on Christmas Eve (you will need to register with the local authority for this).

X-files party - alien costumes, creepy music, dark atmosphere and a few X-file DVD episodes to make a spine-tingling night out for your guests!



Zombie party - invite all your family and friends to attend this spooky gala as a zombie.

Further information

For more tips and advice on planning your gap year travels, please see: