Fundraising tips

Fundraising is the first, and for some people the biggest, challenge of their British Exploring Society expedition. However, this metaphorical mountain is by no means unsurpassable and with a positive attitude, a little hard work and by following our tried and tested advice you will not only achieve your goal, but also gain some great memories and invaluable CV enhancing experiences in the process.

Now you won’t be doing this alone – you’ll have your Expedition Coordinators there to answer any questions you have, and you can share ideas and support with other Explorers on your Expedition Facebook Group. Have a look at a few of our favourite case studies below or download the full Fundraising Guide.

Remember that whatever fundraising methods you decide to use be proactive, start early but most importantly do something you enjoy! We have no doubt that like the many thousands of explorers who have already travelled with British Exploring Society, you too will reach your target!


Putting on an event is a great way to involve your friends, family and local community in your expedition. Events do require more time with planning but if done well they can also be your biggest fundraising success. Not only are they a great way of fundraising but they also provide excellent experience for interviews and C.V's and can be a lot of fun!

“I held a quiz night at my village hall. We made curries, which were not expensive and had a £10 door charge. I bought drinks for the bar, returned the ones that didn't get bought and held a raffle with prizes I had donated from local businesses. I raised £1900 in one evening!”
Rebecca, Explorer

“I held a fundraising evening at my school. The main event was a 'Beetle Drive' (a well-known game, particularly for the slightly older generation, which is why it was such a success) but cake sales and a raffle added to this. The evening raised over £1300, with the raffle alone bringing in almost £600. Not only was it an evening to fundraise for the expedition, but it also allowed me an opportunity to speak to and thank everyone that had contributed.”
Max, Explorer

"I live in quite a rural area, I asked neighbours and other locals if they would open their gardens to the public (for the pleasure of walking around them). In the gardens there were different activities e.g. raffle, tombola, BBQ, afternoon tea station. I made a profit of £850."
Henri, Explorer

“The most successful fundraiser was a Christmas Street Concert. This involved having several groups of musicians play outside a church in St Andrews in December which, given it turned out to be the rainiest day of the year, didn't look like it was going to go well. I woke up in the morning to one of the coldest and wildest days I'd seen that year and decided to go ahead anyway. The event was a huge success and we made over £450 which was the highest intake from all the events I organised. I think this shows, that as long as you persevere with your fundraising and never give in to adverse circumstances, you'll get there in the end!”
Cameron, Trainee Leader

I organised an event in my local church hall and invited all my family friends and neighbours to. About 50 people came altogether. Firstly, I did a buffet supper for everyone. My mum very kindly donated the food for this as her donation so I didn't have to pay for the food. Then I got in contact with a local man who runs an animal encounter business and asked if he would be able to come to show everyone some reptiles and animals that could be found in the Amazon. Amazingly he offered to come for free as I was fundraising! (although I did give him a donation as a thank you). He brought some amazing reptiles that everyone could look at and hold and I think this interactive side of things and being able to see such beautiful animals really helped people to understand why expeditions like BE run are so important. Finally, I gave a presentation about the expedition, including why I was going, what I would be doing, what I hoped to get out of it etc and to explain where any donations would be going. I didn't charge anyone to come to the event but I did ask for donations at the end, and I raised £500! It was really successful and a very fun evening for everyone, myself included!”
Eliza, Explorer

Entrepreneurial adventures

Explorers and entrepreneurs are like two peas in a pod. They both have a mindset to create opportunities for themselves. Trying your hand at setting up your own business is a great way to use skills and talents you already have in combination with learning entrepreneurial skills that are becoming increasingly more sought after. 

Sponsored challenges

Like so many fundraising activities, sponsored challenges can be a win-win opportunity. A physical challenge such as a run or swim is a perfect way to get fit for expedition whilst the more unusual challenge can also appeal to press and media - increasing your chances of increasing your fundraising.

Part-time work

Part time work has been found to be one of the most effective ways of raising money. The steady stream of income quickly amounting to a morale boosting amount. This could be working in a shop, café or restaurant, or maybe think tutoring younger pupils or lifeguarding – there are lots of opportunities.

Click for some advice on getting a student job


Sponsorship is a great way to gain funding from charitable and grant making trusts, local companies or maybe even through existing funds. As a recognised organisation with a long-history of purposeful expeditions we can direct you to some of these organisations, but independent research and local connections can be just as useful.

“I went to corporate sponsors like my local Rotary Club who sponsored me £500 in return for me to be a guest speaker at their next event after I returned home. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. With the help of Huw James (my media leader) I filmed and edited a short film / documentary of our expedition which I have presented to all 10 of my corporate sponsors and even some of the primary schools. The kids loved all of my jungle equipment I brought in for them. My advice is write to all of your local businesses, because you never know who will help! I found that delivering a typed letter by hand was more effective as it goes straight to the managers!”
Owen, Explorer

“Bag-packing in supermarkets was a real winner! I must have raised almost £2000 from this - it's amazing how generous people can be when you're able to stand there and tell them your story, showing them exactly where their money is going. Christmas and Easter were the two best times but are always busy with various charities wanting to bag-pack so get in there as early as possible!”
Max, Explorer

“I approached the guest speaker at my school's prize giving, a former pupil and the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and explained the expedition and its purpose. After emailing him some more details he offered to cover the cost of the flights, eventually donating £1300. I feel the moral of this story is it's always worth asking.”
Ethan, Explorer

“I set up a GoFundMe account which I sent round friends and family, I also used some of my personal savings towards the cost of the trip.”
Calum, Trainee Leader

Explorer Miles

Explorer Miles is our new volunteering initiative run in partnership with vInspired. It gives you the opportunity to go and volunteer locally and make a difference by contributing to social action projects or charities. Once you have been accepted for an expedition every hour of volunteering you complete goes towards earning you a bursary of up to £1,000.

Click here to visit the Explorer Miles page

Top tips from previous Young Explorers

"At whatever stage you start your fundraising its always possible to get it done. In my experience, I had 7 months from when I applied to fundraise the £3500 total. At first it seemed an utterly impossible task yet after talking to a few people and bouncing loads of ideas off those closest to me it finally became a reality. So never give up. If you have that motivation and drive to raise the money then you will, and speaking from experience it will be so worth it in the end.”

"Make a plan - Sit down on your own or with a parent and realistically work out how much you need to raise, how you want to do it, and when you will be able to put the time in around other commitments, exams etc. Don’t forget to include your expedition cost, flights, kit and any vaccinations.

“No matter what you're doing to fundraise I think it's important to have fun! You should fund raise and be happy doing it.”

“Everyone's circumstances are different. However, there will always be people on an expedition with exceptionally difficult circumstances (be it family, health, work etc.) who manage to independently fundraise the entire target.”

“People can be amazingly generous and there is no harm in asking with humility”

“One thing that really gets people engaged and eager to donate is starting a blog or mailing list. Keep people updated and offer to chat with them when you get back and tell them about your trip, not just online - in person too! Writing thank you cards to people who make generous donations is a given and would make them more likely to donate to any future trips. Always be friendly and engaging and knowledgeable about your trip.”

“The worst thing someone can do is say no!”

“Write to your local MP; mine provided me with a letter of support that I attached to every letter I sent. Having the support of my local MP meant that local businesses were more likely to respond.”

“Go and talk to the fundraising co-ordinator at your school or university; you might be able to get a share of the money from an upcoming non-uniform day or something similar. In addition, you may be able to hold a fundraising evening/event.”

“Don’t give up; fundraising a lot of money is difficult and takes a lot of time and effort but so many people are willing to help you out, whether it's by throwing a few coins in your bucket or giving you a bursary. At the end of the day, you will find a way of raising the funds and going on that expedition.”