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Expedition Fundraising & Sponsorship Advice

Sponsorship, expedition grants and fundraising advice

Perhaps the most frequent question with which I am emailed is how to raise funds and get sponsorship for an expedition, adventure or charity challenge.

My first response is always: do you really need a sponsor? Expeditions need not be expensive and trying to get sponsorship can take a lot of time which might be better spent exploring. Much more effective is applying for some of the many grants and scholarships available for expeditions – all listed below. I’ve never had financial sponsorship for my expeditions but have received many grants.

But, if you do need to fundraise then whilst there are no easy answers, there are certainly a few things that you could do to help yourself. The articles and links below may help.

Sponsorship Advice

Here are a selection of articles that I have written on the topic of funding expeditions.

Making a Sponsorship Pitch

Advice on how to approach sponsors.

Five Tips on Fundraising

Notes from a talk I gave at the 2009 Royal Geographical Society Explore conference

Do you Really Need a Sponsor?

I have done nearly all of my expeditions without financial sponsorship. Why not consider some alternatives?

Fundraising Ethos and Etiquette

Some suggestions on how to conduct yourself in the sponsorship game.

How I Fund My Expeditions

A breakdown of how much each of my expeditions cost and where and how I got the funding for them all.

10 Tips for Making a Living Out of Expeditions

Professional adventurer Felicity Aston shares some advice on how to foreg a career out of expeditions.

10 Reasons Not to Get Your Expedition Sponsored

Some advantages to planning an expedition without sponsorship.

 

Browse all Next Challenge sponsorship articles

Expedition Grants

Below is a long list of grants and scholarships available to fund expeditions, adventure and travel. They are in no particular order. Be aware that deadlines change from year to year so always check the appropriate website.

Kukri Adventure Scholarship

  • Amount: Up to £20,000 (split between several expeditions)
  • Deadline: December 31st
  • Notes: Started in 2013. Website says it will continue to 2014. 2013 entry was by posting a 2-minute video and collecting votes. We entered a video in 2013.

Neville Shulman Challenge Award

  • Amount: £10,000
  • Deadline: 30th November
  • Notes: Very broad criteria so a good one for any expedition to apply for. Administered by the RGS.

Polartec Challenge

  • Amount: ~$1,000-$5,000 (approx.)
  • Deadline: December 31st
  • Notes:  Support diverse, self-propelled expeditions and journeys to remote locations

Berghaus Adventure Challenge

  • Amount: £1,000 (plus £1,000 of Berghaus kit)
  • Deadline: Runs every month.
  • Notes: If shortlisted, it’s down to public votes for you against two other entrants. Website still accepts applications but it hasn’t been updated for some time.

Sidetracked Adventure Fund

  • Amount: £100+
  • Deadline: March 31st
  • Notes: Small fund hoping to encourage wider participation in adventure.

Goretex Tilman/Shipton Grant

  • Amount: $25,000 split between 3-6 expeds
  • Deadline: March 1st
  • Notes: Applications are accepted from small, unencumbered teams of friends with daring and imaginative goals.

Captain Scott Spirit of Adventure Award

  • Amount: £2,000
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Notes: Looking for expeditions in Captain Scott’s “spirit of adventure” and, in particular, adventurous “firsts”.

Sir Vivian Fuchs Youth Award

  • Amount: £500
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Notes: Also awarded by the Captain Scott Society, for 11-19 year olds undertaking unusual, character building exploits.

Timmissartok Foundation Grants

  • Amount: £500
  • Deadline: Rolling (apply any time)
  • Notes: Aims to assist individuals with adventurous projects. Very broad criteria. They like inspiring quotes.

TransGlobe Expedition Trust (TET)

  • Amount: ~£1,000 – £2,000
  • Deadline: Rolling (apply any time)
  • Notes: Set up after Ranulph Fiennes’ epic Trans Globe Expedition. For “mad but marvellous”, unique, pioneering expeditions with an educational, humanitarian or scientific by-product.

Bill Wallace ‘Go and Do It!’ Grant

  • Amount: £300 – £2,000
  • Deadline: 18th January
  • Notes: Set up as a memorial to John Muir advocate Bill Wallace. For adventurous expeditions with a scientific or educational purpose.

Radio 4 Journey of a Lifetime Award

  • Amount: £5,000 (plus Radio 4 documentary)
  • Deadline: 4th October
  • Notes: Given by the Royal Geographical Society, in partnership with BBC Radio 4, offers the chance to make a ‘journey of a lifetime’ and to tell the world about it in a memorable piece of radio documentary-making

Land Rover’s Go Beyond Bursary

  • Amount: £15,000 – £30,000 (plus a Land Rover)
  • Deadline: 30th November
  • Notes: Administered by the RGS for Land Rover for a journey undertaken in a Land Rover 110 Defender.

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

  • Amount: Covers all expenses for 4-8 weeks
  • Deadline: October (usually)
  • Notes: Fellowships to help people from all walks of life to acquire knowledge and understanding of the world. Trips must be 4-8 weeks. Various categories but expeditions often fall under ‘Open’.

Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust

  • Amount: £300
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Notes: Grants for students on gap years which have been applied to expeditions in the past.

Lord Mayor’s 800th Anniversary Awards Trust

  • Amount: £50 – £1,000
  • Deadline: Awarded twice a year, typically March and September
  • Notes: Ages 17-25. Priority given to those with a connecting to the City of London. They funded my Mountain Leader Training in 2008. At the subsequent reception, the man in charge said they really wanted more applications for expeditions.

The Gordon Foundation

  • Amount: £200 – £500 (approx.)
  • Deadline:
  • Notes: Small grants for those under 30. I was awarded one for my 21st Century Altai expedition. Website no longer online so may no longer exist.

British Mountaineering Council Grant

  • Amount: Small grants (£200 – £800 approx?)
  • Deadline: 1st March – 1st November
  • Notes: For British mountaineering expeditions, particularly younger climbers and those making significant or innovative ascents. They’ve supported all three of my mountaineering expeditions (Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia and Russia).

Mount Everest Foundation (MEF)

  • Amount: Small grants (£200 – £800 approx?)
  • Deadline: 31st January and 30th September
  • Notes: For climbing expeditions involving exploration, first ascents or significant new routes. Includes the Alison Chadwick Award for Women. They’ve supported all three of my mountaineering expeditions (Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia and Russia).

Julie Tullis Memorial Award

  • Amount: Small grants (£200 – £800 approx?)
  • Deadline: 1st March – 1st November
  • Notes: For women and all-female expeditions with mountaineering objectives.

Scientific Exploration Society (SES)

  • Amount: £500 – £2,000
  • Deadline: 31st August
  • Notes: For innovative projects offering solutions to problems they research.

UCL Expedition & Travel Grants

  • Amount: £500 – £3,000
  • Deadline: February
  • Notes: These may only be for students at University College London but most universities have something similar. I received three grants whilst studying there and am now on the committee. I wouldn’t be doing this today if it weren’t for my university grants so, if you’re a student, it’s well worth looking to see if your university has a scheme.

Light My Fire Adventurer of the Year

  • Amount: €3,000
  • Deadline: 31st December
  • Notes: Applicants narrowed to a shortlist of 7 who receive free kit and blog for Light My Fire. At the end of the year, one of them wins €3,000. I’m on the shortlist for 2013.

More Expedition Grants

Other Lists of Expedition Funding

If you can’t find a grant for you above then try these other lists:

RGS Database of Grant Giving Organisations

There are a lot of grants out there and this could save you a lot of heartache

RGS List of Funding Sources (PDF)

This is an older version of the above. Slightly out of date but in easily downloaded PDF.

BMC List of Mountaineering Grants

A comprehensive list of funding available for climbing expeditions.

Explorers Connect General Adventure Grants

A good list of funding sources from Explorers Connect. You need to register to access the article. They also have lists for Polar & Arctic Expeditions, Climbing & Mountaineering Expeditions, and Research, Scientific & Conservation. Browse all their articles here.

Fundraising Advice Links

Here are a selection of fundraising articles from other people’s websites:

A to Z of Fundraising

Some ideas for raising money from GapYear.com, Lonely Planet, Students On Ice (PDF) and Charity Challenge (PDF). There are plenty such articles on Google.

15 Tips towards finding sponsorship for your expedition

by Alastair Humphreys. Check out his Year of Microadventure too if you’re on a budget.

From the Travel Dudes.

Fundraising to Join an Expedition Handbook (PDF)

Free download from the Royal Geographical Society

How to Get Sponsorship

Article from Explorers Connect (requires registration to view)

More Sponsorship Links

Finally, here are a few useful links relating to sponsorship:

Been through all of those and still like a hand? Email me.