Fundraising Advice - Operation Wallacea

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 fundraising pack 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.

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 –

Carys Cunningham –

Shannon Cameron –

Pippa Disney –

We also have a great Operation Wallacea Fundraising Facebook page we 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 2017 – 2018 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 £5000 cash, a four week Operation Wallacea expedition and £1500 cash prize!  All completed stubs should be returned no later than Friday 17th August 2018 and unused whole booklets returned for a refund by Friday 1st June 2018. Prize draw will be held on Friday 7th September 2018.

UK Annual Operation Wallacea Grand Prize Draw – results

Operation Wallacea Trust Grand Prize Draw 2016-2017

1st Prize – £5000 cash – James Kane

What a lovely surprise to hear from Georgie at Operation Wallacea that I had won first prize in their Prize Raffle of £5000. I’ve just recently retired after reaching the age of 65 working for the last 35 years as an Ambulance Driver with the Scottish Ambulance Service and the money has come at a lovely time what with “dare I say it Christmas fast approaching” as I have quite a few grandchildren and just recently my first great grandchild to go round but I think the wife and I will also manage to squeeze a nice holiday in for ourselves. Thank you very much Georgie and all at Operation Wallacea and keep up the good work that you are all doing”

2nd Prize – A 4 week Operation Wallacea expedition-  Ticket 31169

3rd Prize – £1500 cash – Anna Butler

“The tickets were a great way to support the program which also has great value for students who take part in the expeditions. I was delighted when I heard I had won a prize!”

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

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 2018.

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 2018 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.

Please email your application to The text of your email should include your name, contact information, the name of your university and details of your Opwall expedition. Alongside your email, please include the 6 following attachments:

  1. Unofficial transcript from your academic institution (this shows any examination and module results so far)
  2. Full CV showing academic achievements to date, outdoor activities undertaken and future aspirations
  3. Reference letter 1 – From a current or previous teacher who can attest to your academic abilities
  4. Reference letter 2 – From someone in a position of authority who can provide a character reference, for example an employer, guidance counselor, club or society leader
  5. Details of any financial aid that you have secured to complete university (bursaries, scholarships, hardship grants)
  6. A maximum 600 word summary 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 Alfred Russel Wallace (please do your research!)

Applications for the Alfred Russel Wallace Grant 2018 are now open. The deadline to submit the above documents is Wednesday 21st February 2018.

Please note that successful UK applicants will be invited to attend an Operation Wallacea Trust meeting in November 2018 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 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report.

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



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