How to Raise Money for Your Gap Year

Posted on by

By: Jamie Shaw from

Raising money for a Gap Year is achievable for anyone willing to put in a little bit of time and effort out of their already busy school schedule.  With proper planning and the right kind of help anyone can afford a Gap Year or have it paid for by their fund raising activities. The key is finding all the available resources you have at your disposal to reduce your travel cost and other out of pocket expenses. Let’s take a look at all the ways you can raise money for a Gap Year, aside from the usual financial-aid options at

Fund raising 101: How to raise money

Give yourself plenty of time and plan for at least six months to a year of time in advance if you are going to raise money to pay for a whole year overseas.  Before you start out asking people for money, you need to think about what you can do for your donors that would inspire them to donate to your plans. Your goal is to come up with creative fun ideas you can do for people. Think of ways you can get a lot of people together to have a good time. The larger the audience the bigger the payoff.

Create fun events like:

  • A Bowling tournament
  • Putting (or driving range) challenge at a golf course
  • Student decathlon where donors pay a flat fee to compete for prizes that have been donated by the local community
  • A trivia challenge at a local restaurant where contestants make a donation to play and the winning team or person takes home a prize

Studies have shown creative events in exchange for donations have a higher success rate than other types of events. Write down a plan of events you would like to do in order to earn money towards your goal.  You will find by having this on paper, you have a better understanding of all of the tasks you need to manage before you launch your big day.

Get help and look for sponsors

Raising money for a Gap Year is time consuming so don’t be shy in asking for help. Try promoting your fundraising ideas to churches, friends, and community organizations. Speak to any club or organization your parents may be involved with and ask for their help or sponsorship. Even a gym is a great place to recruit sponsors or participants for a 5k run or a bike riding fundraising events. Create a list of all the ways people can participate such as donate time to help you run a car wash or donate a place to hold a car wash. Getting the right help increases your chances of meeting your financial goals.  Be aware, though, that organizing an event can open you up to liability concerns, so you may be wise to build a partnership with a gym and split the profits.

At times students have also been successful in lobbying the local news stations (radio, tv, and newspapers) to tell the story of what you plan to do on your Gap Year.  The “Gap Year” is a hot item in the news of late, and the American Gap Association can help get you prepared for a conversation with a reporter or even support you by representing the Gap Year so you can focus on getting donations for your experience.

Check out TheSponsorshipCompany if you think you have a good fundraiser idea in mind and can promote your idea to your school and reach a good number of people at your event. TheSponsorshipCompanies helps professionals and college students find sponsors. TheSponsorshipCompany will even help you write your proposal and pitch your proposal to their base of active sponsors.

Student discounts lower your cost

Lower the cost of your trip by taking advantage of student discounts. Discounts are one of the many perks that can really skinny down your monthly budget or your pre-travel expenses.  Subscribing to a student discount card is one of the best ways to learn more about discounted services you may not have been aware of.  A good card to pick up is the ISIC or international student identity card. This student ID card is widely used in Europe and many international locations and ISIC cards will be available for a discounted rate on all AGA-programs. ISIC verifies your student status and gives you a great list of discounted goods, services and public transportation offers that your card is valid for.

STA travel, and is a great place to start for low cost student airfare and other discounted services. These sites are loaded with coupons for retailer offers, clothing, transportation, food and entertainment.

Create a media page

You don’t need to be a professional fundraiser in order to have a fund raising website. But you may need one as a place to promote your Gap Year plans to donors, sponsors and the community.  Blogs or fundraising sites offer sponsors more exposure when you add a company link and logo. To get organized quickly, sign up for a fund raising website to boost your visibility,,, and WordPress and Blogger are free and easy to use.

Gap Year fund raising ideas

It is possible to generate a lot of extra money to help pay for your trip. Here is a list of ideas you can try to raise quick cash.

Turn Trash into cash- Ask your friends, family or community members to donate unwanted items they don’t need and host a garage sale or auction.  Boost the amount of visitors that will come to your sale or auction by placing a small ad in the local paper and creating a Facebook event page.

Start a sponsored sporting event- Plan a 10K run, bike 50 miles or whatever suites you best. Ask your friends, family, local business and community to sponsor or take part in your event.

Get to work- Do a small job that can raise quick cash such as lawn mowing, house cleaning and post it in the local paper or local internet directory like Craigslist or ebay. Let people know you are fund raising. Try and create your own gig, take pictures, write an article or any other creative idea you might have. Small jobs are an easy way to raise money quick without investing too much time.

Get paid for your opinion- Sign up for survey and opinion sites and get paid. It’s easy to do from home and does not take up much of your time. and and are great sites where you can get paid for taking a survey and trying out free new products.

Stick your palm out and double your earnings– Yes that’s right ask for money! Contact community clubs and organizations, churches and local business. If they cannot give you money directly ask them to participate in your other events like a carwash, or sporting event. You can even ask local businesses to donate or sponsor a product like a free pair of shoes, a gift certificate or new TV. Use the donated items to create a raffle to double your earnings or use them as prize offering for the top three winners participating in your sponsored sporting event. Prize offerings increase participants and more participants earn you more money for your trip.

Tee Shirts- Everyone loves tee shirts and you can sell them at your school, sporting events, a swap meet or online. Try You give them the design or let them design your tee, tell them how much you want to earn per tee and they do all the work and even set up a webpage for you to sell from.

Do a gig-  Host a creative gig on  take photos, edit articles or do any odd jobs you can think of your spare time.

Raffel it off! –  Ask to set up a raffle through a community club or non-profit organization. Or set up a raffle on campus!  Your High School is likely packed with incredible organizations and many involved parents – connect the dots and see if they might open doors for further fundraising.

Car Wash- Set up a car wash. Post it in the local paper for better results.  Though carwashes typically only raise a couple hundred dollars if they’re very well done, this can be a platform to engage local community members and refer them to your fundraising website or facebook event page too.

Cupcake or pop cake drive- Yes everyones favorite snack is easy to sell at school or your favorite local hang out.

Take some time out to explore other financial options that can lower the price of your gap program fees such as financial aid, scholarships and study abroad scholarships for language studies. Some very useful tips and discussion on how to do a Gap Year can be found at and here, at Lastly, any fundraiser that includes food, tee shirts, raffles and odd jobs are or anything that people want or provides them a service are successful. Keep this in mind when you create all your fundraisers and you will have your Gap Year paid for in no time.



Support Us