William's fundraising story: Eight months and target in sight

With GCSEs on the horizon, William knew he wanted to get his expedition fundraising going early. In just eight months, he has managed to raise over £4,000. Read on to see how he did it.

Making a plan…

When I first heard about the opportunity to go to Costa Rica in 2021 I was sooo excited! I was literally desperate to convince my parents to come to the meeting and gather more information. I love to challenge myself and really enjoy helping people. My hobbies include Explorer Scouts, green woodwork, karate and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. I am really dyslexic (Mum’s helped me write this) and find that these practical activities are well suited to my skills.

I know this won’t be easy because 4 weeks is a long time to be away from my family. I also kept asking myself how I could raise the money. I told my parents I would put all my birthday and Christmas money towards this trip but that still left a massive amount to fundraise. We all agreed that I needed to focus on raising most of the funds in the first ten months because I need time to study for my GCSEs in 2021 prior to the trip. I started compiling ideas straight away. I’m quite impressed with myself that I have actually stayed focused on doing something every day since the initial meeting. Some days I’ve done more than others but each day I’ve done at least one small thing, maybe just sending an email to help me move towards my goal.


Inspiration for the first fundraiser came from my younger brother

At scouts my younger brother had been making paracord survival bracelets and I thought that this would be a great first fundraising project. He taught me how to make these bracelets and after investigating on YouTube we soon came up with several different styles we could make. I was nervous at the beginning as the cost of the materials was quite high and I wanted to make sure I did not lose money.  I decided to start small and only buy materials to make a few bracelets.

I didn’t need to worry as the first batch sold quickly and was profitable enough that I could then buy the materials in bulk, which made the bracelets even more profitable. I thought about local sport team colours and football team colours. I went on to learn to make keyrings and candy canes to decorate Christmas Trees! As my paracord business grew I was making things to order such as Zip Pulls and a Dummy Clip. I sold these items at local fayres, sports events, on my Mum’s FB and by talking to absolutely everybody!

Talking to people about my paracord products and my fundraising was both scary and hugely beneficial. At first I was really nervous and got quite tongue tied. However, the more I spoke to people the easier it got. Everybody was so kind and supportive. As a result, I not only made £350 (and counting) but also people were sharing additional fundraising ideas with me.




Cashing in at Christmas

One lady I spoke to gave me a really cool idea… At the very start of the Christmas holidays I went to one hundred local houses with a leaflet about my Camps International trip and how I was hoping to raise money through glass recycling. I tried to speak to people as well as deliver the leaflet which said I would return on Saturday 4th Jan to collect their glass bottles and jars for recycling in exchange for a small donation. I think I must have timed it just right after New Year because I was totally overwhelmed by nearly everyone’s support. I borrowed my neighbour’s wheelbarrow and literally walked backwards and forwards to the glass recycle bank for six and a half hours without stopping! My legs were exhausted but I was so happy that I made £307!


T-shirt sponsorship turned out to be a great earner

I also spent my evenings working on t-shirt sponsorship. I started by emailing the printers who supply the year 6 leavers hoodies in my area. They said straight away that they would print my T-shirt with all my sponsor logos (once I got them!) and they would add their logo on my sleeve instead of me paying them. I spent time contacting all sorts of companies and organisations. Throughout this process I had lots of “no replies” and “sorry we can’t help” responses but I knew it could be done so I persevered knowing that I had the support of the printers.  I started to think who I knew that might be able to help. I spoke to my local barbers, fish & chip shop, my karate sensei, the local 41 Club (similar to Round Table) and a good friend of our family with his own business. I took a detailed letter with me when I spoke to them and found that talking to people was fun and successful! I love that my T-Shirt is full of local companies that I have a connection with. In total I raised £650 through t-shirt sponsorship alone.


Lots of little activities all add up

In addition a few of my other activities have been selling hotdogs and homemade biscuits/cakes outside Karate and at my brothers home football matches. I have sold second hand items on a local FB selling group. I have set up a GoFundMe page and have also raised £220 (and counting) from EasyFundraiser. Car washing and grass cutting for friends, family and neighbours has helped me raise funds too.


My next “big” event was a “Fun Family Quiz Night” and was one of the best nights of my life!

I held it on 6th March and I proudly wore my sponsored t-shirt. To my great delight my local butchers agreed to sponsor the evening for £150. I included their logo on my advertising poster and question sheets.  Also, I gave them a special mention on the night. I spent a lot of time talking to friends, family and local people about buying tickets for the evening and or donating a raffle prize. I negotiated the hall for free and enlisted help from my Dad who was a great question master! We also played Irish Bingo, Red & Black and had a Raffle. My Mum made Chilli and Nachos and bought drinks to sell on sale and return. Additionally, I made up bags of sweets to sell at profit. I pre-sold over one hundred tickets at £2.50 per person and suggested age 10 years plus for the children although I had a few who were younger. I made over £1,100 in profit and had so many requests to run another one! I was so pleased that people really enjoyed it because it was one of the best nights of my life!

I love that this whole experience is running alongside my Business Studies GCSE. It really is bringing the learning in the classroom to life in such a practical way. I feel that I have gained invaluable life experience and hope it will help me run a business in the future.

Looking to the future

My fundraising journey so far has been full on! I feel pleased that I have achieved so much in a short period of time and am overjoyed with the support I have received. I love that this whole experience is running alongside my Business Studies GCSE. It really is bringing the learning in the classroom to life in such a practical way. I feel that I have gained invaluable life experience and hope it will help me run a business in the future.

Next I am planning on doing a couple of car boot sales as I’ve been asking people to save unwanted items for me to sell and we have been clearing out the shed and cupboards at home.

I am lucky to have a family friend who works for Hasbro Toys; she has made a very generous donation from Hasbro so I can run a 100 square game in the near future.

My long term plan is to host an evening upon my return from Costa Rica for all those who have supported me. I will talk about my fund raising journey as well as show photos and share stories from Costa Rica. I look forward to being able to give a little bit back.

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