Fundraising Advice

Fundraising Advice

When presented with the opportunity of a lifetime there tends to be one major factor that holds people back… expense! Fundraising is an integral part of any expedition and, in many ways, it may appear to be the most difficult challenge you will face. Remember though, this has been achieved by countless other volunteers and with little bit of hard work, determination and a helping hand from us, you can do it too!

Once you book on to an expedition, we can put you in touch with other fundraiser from your University so you can maximise your fundraising potential with both individual and group efforts. Group fundraising might involve holding events on (with permission) and off campus, while your individual efforts can incorporate applying for grant funding as well as planning activities and events within your own community.

After you have secured a place on an expedition, you will have access to all of the fundraising information that we have gathered over the years, and continue to build as more and more students share their success with us. Our full fundraising resources contain multiple useful documents, equipment discounts, volunteer case studies, lists of potential grants and a recording of the Opwall fundraising presentations – just in case you missed one of our fundraising talks. We cover everything from setting a realistic target and creating a fundraising plan, to how you can write a grant application letter and successfully organise events for maximum profit.

If you have any queries about fundraising, please contact our fundraising team:


Fundraising Overview

In our experience, you want to utilise as many different approaches as possible when it comes to fundraising. Most fundraising will fit into the four areas discussed below:


    Probably the most lucrative area for individuals. Charitable trusts, universities, councils, local companies and organisations all have funding opportunities for Opwall volunteers. The nature of our expeditions means that we fulfil a lot of different funding criteria; you can fit your expedition in to applications for travel, education and career development grants to name just a few. We are always happy to offer advice on your applications, so run them past the Opwall fundraising team before sending them off! We even have lists of grants on our resource library to get you started.


    Likely the first thing you thought of when you read the word ‘fundraising’. This area can encompass an array of different ideas including sponsored events, bag packing, car washes, cake sales, car boot sales, gig nights, themed parties… the options are endless! We will give you an A-Z of activities to give you some inspiration and case studies of the most successful events we have seen from our students. We can also offer advice on how to plan these events, advertise them and maximise profits by seeking out free or discounted venues, entertainment and refreshments.


    The most obvious way to raise money for your trip as you are guaranteed funds for the hours that you put in. We understand it can be difficult to balance a job alongside your studies, but if you do have some extra time on your hands this is a productive way to use it! Think about picking up a weekend job during term time, or a temporary position over the holidays. As well as actively earning money, you may also be able to utilise your work-place and colleagues to help you fundraise! If nothing else, this will definitely take the pressure off looming payments.

  • EASYFUNDRAISING (UK & Ireland only)

    Here’s a quick, FREE and easy way of raising funds. Collect FREE donations towards your trip when you, family and friends shop online! You can get started straight away by registering your expedition as a cause with easyfundraising.

    There are over 4,200 retailers giving donations on everything from groceries and DIY, to takeaways and fashion, to holidays and insurance. Hundreds of our volunteers have used easyfundraising to date and raised a MASSIVE £103,000, to help them fund their expeditions!

  • To help you get started, we’ve created a simple guide giving you details of how to use easyfundraising and explain to family and friends how they can support you. You can view it here.

  • Alfred Russel Wallace Grant

    To encourage students to follow in the footsteps of this great explorer and naturalist, Operation Wallacea offers the Alfred Russel Wallace Grant. There are two forms of this grant, both aimed at students looking to join our biodiversity teams working around the world during our summer expeditions.

    The first is for UK university students. We have ten grants of £1000 available each year, sponsored by Premier Oil and available to students studying at a UK university and taking part in a expedition to Indonesia. Research Assistants and Dissertation Students may apply.

    The second is for US university students. Each year we have one grant of $1500, one grant of $1000 and three grants of $500 available to students enrolled at a US academic institution and taking part in an expedition to any country. Again, both Research Assistants and Dissertation Students may apply.

    Find out more
  • Martin Suthers’ Grant (UK & Ireland)

    Martin Suthers was a good friend to Operation Wallacea, and acted as Trustee and then Chairman for the Opwall Trust for 16 years. When Martin sadly passed away in 2016, he left a legacy to help students get out in to the real world and gain the hands-on field experience required for a career in conservation.

    The Martin Suthers’ grant is available to UK and Ireland University students who are embarking on any expedition. Each year there are two grants of £250 available and, as with most grants, there are specific criteria that volunteers must meet to be eligible to apply; they must demonstrate that they have fundraised a significant proportion of their expedition already. After raising a minimum of £500, students may apply by telling us exactly how they did it. Make sure you take lots of photos and keep copies of any posters or flyers you create – these will really make your application stand out!

    Find out more
  • Murray Foundation University Award

    The Murray Foundation is a UK registered Charity (No. 1162333) established to support young people participating in projects which advance education and develop an understanding of environmental processes. After three consecutive years working alongside Operation Wallacea and supporting school groups on Opwall expeditions, the Murray Foundation have generously provided a further £5000 in funding to support UK and European students completing an undergraduate dissertation or masters thesis with us. Ten awards of £500 are available each year.

    To be eligible for this award you must be a resident of any European country (including UK and Ireland), enrolled in any UK or European university and booked on to an Operation Wallacea field-based dissertation project. This award is not available for research assistants.

    Find out more

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