35 Creative Ways to Fund Your Program Abroad

We know there can be a gap between scholarships, financial aid, and study abroad costs, but one option students don’t often consider is fundraising! Using alternative methods to fund a study abroad program can be fun and financially rewarding at the same time. Here are 35 creative fundraising ideas that we think students could try:

  1. Yard/garage sale.
  2. Create a GoFundMe page.
  3. Write letters and cards – ask for sponsors (family, friends, teachers, employers, church family, community Kiwanis, Elks, or Lions clubs, local businesses/stores, etc.) to donate to your trip. Don’t forget to send thank yous with pictures when you return!
  4. Collect old or used books, CDs, computer software, etc. and have a sale or resell to a store.
  5. Collect old jewelry (gold) to sell.
  6. Ask family members to donate frequent flyer miles.
  7. Pass on holiday and birthday gifts and request financial gifts instead.
  8. Have your 15 minutes of fame! Alert local newspapers, radio, and tv stations of your plans to go abroad, and see if they would like to partner with you. Pitch ideas to them such as writing a letter or article for their paper, be interviewed upon your return, etc.
  9. Have a fundraising party or event with raffles, (silent) auctions, etc.
  10. Host a 5k or obstacle course run.
  11. Have a bake sale, ice cream social, root beer float sale, baked potato bar, barbeque, chili cook-off, or other event.
  12. Offer photos or make a calendar with photos from your country abroad for a $10 donation.
  13. Create a cookbook of recipes from your host country to sell.
  14. Host a talent or fashion show for community members with a small entry fee.
  15. Run errands, do chores or yardwork for people.
  16. Organize a community mural composed of handprints for $5 per hand-stamp.
  17. Host a movie night.
  18. Sell vegetables and fruits from your garden at a farmers’ market.
  19. Have a dunk tank or pie in the face event for a $1-$2.
  20. Ask local businesses or coffee shops to donate tips to your trip fund, or merchandise for events. Leave tip/donation jars by registers.
  21. Offer public or private classes/lessons (dancing, self-defense, foreign languages, or any special skill).
  22. GET A JOB!
  23. Take a local celebrity “prisoner” and only release them when a certain amount of money has been raised.
  24. Sell coupon books.
  25. Make and sell t-shirts.
  26. Sell crafts at local sales and flea markets.
  27. Look up Yankee candle, popcorn, cookie dough, magazine, or flower bulb fundraiser sales.
  28. Grab your goofiest friends and create a haunted house.
  29. Partner with a restaurant (Chick-fi-la, J Gumbo’s, Panda Express, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Chile’s, Chipotle, Wendy’s, TGI Fridays, Subway, etc.)
  30. Host a game tournament.
  31. Park cars at Indy 500/NASCAR.
  32. Host a _____-a-thon (dance, skip, jog, walk, etc.)
  33. Start a viral challenge. If they don’t donate to your trip, they must accept the challenge.
  34. Hold a car wash.
  35. Collect recyclables and turn in for cash!

Good luck fundraising! Have fun!

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