Fundraising Advice

When faced with the opportunity of a lifetime there tends to be only 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, it has been achieved by countless other volunteers.

At almost all of the universities we visit it is our aim to set-up an effective fundraising group. The best way to ensure success with your fundraising is to mix individual with group fundraising, so events as well as grant applications. Note at most US Universities fundraising on campus is not allowed because if fundraising for Opwall was permitted then it would have to be opened up to other Study Abroad options. In these cases fundraising needs to be confined to grant applications and off campus activities – of which there are plenty, so don’t worry!

When you’ve confirmed your place by paying a 10% deposit and filled in a booking form, you’ll have access to tons more information, including the fundraising booklet, a list of potential grants and a recording of a fundraising presentation, in case you missed the talk!

Throughout the pack we cover everything from writing a letter of support, who to approach regarding financial assistance and what events and ideas really do work. Through our experience, we have devised our advice around four main ways of raising the funds.

Fundraising Activities

These are probably the first things you thought of when you considered fundraising. This would cover your sponsored events, as well as events such as cake sales, car washes, gig nights etc. There are so many options in this category and many events you can repeat over and over. There is also an A-Z list of fundraising events that you can consult in the email that follows your booking on if you are ever low on inspiration.

Raffles and Prize Draw

Raffles are massively lucrative as they have a great return, get local companies to donate raffle prizes and organise a big evening event where friends and family can attend. However, a raffle can be quite a lot to organise, so if you are a student studying in the UK and don’t want to run your own Opwall has done one for you. We’ve got the licence, got great prizes and printed the tickets. We sell the tickets to you for 35p each, in books of ten (so £3.50 per book) and you sell the tickets for £1 making £6.50 profit per book. They’re a great addition to any event; one girl made £500 in a few hours selling outside Chelsea Stadium! More details can be found below.

2017 Raffle Winners!

The winners of our 2017 raffle draw have now been announced and have been contacted! The winning ticket numbers are listed below!

1st Prize – Ticket 48459

2nd Prize – Ticket 31169

3rd Prize – Ticket 19426

Thanks to everyone who entered the raffle, this is an important way our students are able to fundraise for their expeditions!

If you have any questions about our raffle please contact

Grants and Sponsorship

This is probably the most lucrative area as an individual. Applying to local companies, charitable trusts, organisations and councils as these will all hopefully have some funding available to volunteers. The nature of our expeditions means that we fulfill a lot of different funding criteria – if you do a bit of investigation you can spin your cause to fit so many options! If you are interested in making any applications for funding, please contact your local Opwall fundraising team as there are so many ways you can improve an application.

Working for it

Might be obvious, but this is your only guaranteed money per hour. Think about Saturday and evening jobs during term time, or over holidays doing odd jobs for family and friends. Takes the pressure off looming payments, and you can utilise your work contacts. Contacts is also a huge area to consider (most people think that they have no contacts when it comes to funding, but nearly everyone you know will be able to help you in some way) and there is lots of advice regarding this in our booklet and talks.

Keep in contact with us!

As soon as you are booked on, we can send you all the information and for those lists of grants, etc. but we honestly want to assure you that fundraising is so possible. The majority of our students that have come out on expedition have had to fundraise and have made it.

SO don’t panic, we have a whole fundraising team here whose sole purpose is to ensure that you guys can make your targets. Our job is to help you, so if at any point you’re feeling lost you can get in touch.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate and it would be great if you could let us know how you’re doing

To find out more or for help and support with fundraising please contact your local Opwall fundraising team.

UK students please contact our UK fundraising team on 017907 63194 or email:

Rachel Daniels –

Georgie Scott –

Carys Cunningham –

Shannon Cameron –

Pippa Disney –

We also have a great Operation Wallacea Fundraising page where other students and the Opwall staff post ideas alongside plenty of hints and tips on fundraising. Be sure to check it out here.

US students please contact our US fundraising team on 9739200487 or email:

Ellen Fluharty –

Canadian students please contact our Canadian fundraising team on 9052312095 or email:

Stephanie Blair –

Success Stories

Every year a lot of our volunteers put in so much effort into their fundraising and we are pleased to say that the majority are really successful with this! Below are a few examples of some of the university volunteer’s successes:

  • Wendy Foote from Chester University raised £1600 through a screening at the cinema where she works.  She screened a film about her local area and had 144 people to attend.  She sold raffle tickets from Opwall raising £31.50 and got prizes donated from local businesses and raised £100.  Co-op donated 20 bottles of wine and even had the store manager come to serve them for her.
  • Molly Boyer from Sheffield University went on the TV game show Who Dares Wins and won £5000 to fund her trip to Mexico!
  • Reece Vokes from Gloucester University raised £500 from a 24hr gaming session for friends.  Also planned an evening for the University Biology society, with the union making a special cocktail for the evening.
  • Bangor University fundraising group: £400 at a bag pack.
  • Andrew Michael O’Neill from Queen Mary University of London raised £900 from a sponsored walk for his trip to Romania.
  • Ellen Miller from Cambridge University gained £2650 from three grants: Solihull and Shirley Lions, previous school’s scientific grant, and university college grant.
  • Karen Dolan from TCD raised 350 Euro from a music night in November, 300 Euro from a music night in Dublin, 1000 Euro from a Quiz night, a card game night with her local music group raised 650 Euro, then a recent concert raised 400 Euro.  She is an active member of the community so has really utilised this.

Get involved – sell raffle tickets!

To purchase tickets for the 2016 – 2017 draw please give the UK office a call on 01790 763194 or by going to our shop and following the instructions on the page. Tickets for volunteers are £3.50 for a book of ten which can be resold for £1 each. Prizes include a brand new car, a four week Operation Wallacea expedition and £1500 cash prize! Prize draw will be held on Friday 8th September 2017, with all completed stubs being returned no later than Friday 18th August 2017 and unused whole booklets returned for a refund by Friday 30th June 2017 (separate small p&p fee applies).

UK Annual Operation Wallacea Grand Prize Draw – results

Operation Wallacea Trust grand prize draw 2015 – 2016

1st prize – A brand new Fiat Panda or the cash prize equivalent (pending decision) – Bela Mehta

“Never say never…I still can’t believe it, I have never won anything until I got the phone call on Friday. I’ve won a car, the words still resonate over and over”

2nd prize – A 4 week Operation Wallacea expedition – Laura Heyworth

3rd prize – £1500 cash prize – Eve Burton

Operation Wallacea Trust grand prize draw 2014 – 2015

1st prize – A brand new Suzuki Alto, but opted for £5000 cash alternative – Max Robson

“I still can’t believe I’ve won first prize! I got the tickets to sponsor a friend – actually winning seemed out reach! I joked that I could go on a Kilimanjaro expedition with the winnings. Now I can!”

2nd prize – A 6 week Operation Wallacea expedition – Juliet Popham

3rd prize – £1100 Gapyear travel vouchers – Jo Dixon

“I’m delighted! First time I’ve won anything in a long time. Thank you Operation Wallacea.”

4th prize – £1000 STA travel vouchers – Curtis Sage Passant

“Very excited to be the winner of the travel vouchers and am thinking of an America holiday already!”

Operation Wallacea Trust grand prize draw 2013 – 2014

1st prize – A brand new Suzuki Alto, but opted for £5000 cash alternative – Jacqui Danby

“Thanks for the fantastic news; never won anything other than lemon soap before!!! After a weekend of celebrating and deliberation we have decided to take the cash prize. We are going to let Jess [her daughter] recreate the 3rd week of her amazing time with Operation Wallacea and go back to Akumal in Mexico as a family to scuba dive with the turtles and venture into the rainforest too.”

2nd prize – £2000 of Travel Vouchers – Dave Flello

3rd prize – A 6 week Operation Wallacea expedition – Pete James


Alfred Russel Wallace Grant

In order to encourage undergraduates to follow in the footsteps of this great explorer and naturalist, Operation Wallacea is offering Alfred Russel Wallace Grants. There are two forms of grants, both aimed at students looking to join one of the biodiversity teams working in remote parts of the world in the summer of 2017.

The first is for UK undergraduates, and is sponsored by Premier Oil – there are 10 grants of £1000 available to those students booked onto an Opwall 2017 project to Indonesia as either a research assistant or dissertation student, and currently studying at a UK university.

The second is for US undergraduates – there is 1 grant of $1500, 1 grant of $750, and 3 grants of $500 available. This grant is available for any students enrolled as an undergraduate at a US academic institution, and booked on to any Opwall 2017 project.

In order to apply, please email with the following information in 6 separate attachments :

  • Full CV (including name, contact information and college/university) showing academic achievements to date, information on outdoor activities undertaken, and future aspirations
  • Details of your Operation Wallacea booking
  • A copy of your most recent university results and grades
  • Two letters of reference: one of which should be able to attest to your academic abilities and a second who can describe your character from someone in a position of authority (e.g.a teacher or employer, cannot be a close family member or friend)
  • Details of any financial aid or hardship grants received in order to complete college or university
  • A summary in 600 words or less of how, if awarded the grant, the sort of work that you would be doing in the field would mirror the type of field work done by Wallace.  There are going to be clear differences (eg. we don’t shoot specimens for collection by an overseas museum as Wallace may have in his day!) but what we are looking for is evidence of an understanding of the life and work of Wallace and his attention to detail in field observations, understanding of local cultures and customs, and spirit of adventure


Applications for the Alfred Russel Wallace Grant 2017 are now open. The deadline to submit the above documents is Wednesday 22nd February 2017.

Please note that successful UK applicants will be invited to attend an Operation Wallacea Trust meeting in November 2017 to personally thank the representative from Premier Oil and give a short presentation on your experience. We will also require a short written article, this piece should be no more than two A4 sheets and will be supplied to Premier Oil for use in their 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report.

More information can be found on our ‘about us’ page.



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