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Urgently need to find the money for uni?

May 13, 2011

So, what do you do if you are due to go to college imminently and you still need to find £9,000?

Recently I received a letter from a talented young student called Lorna, who had been offered a place on the MA course at the Royal Northern College of Music.  Although Lorna has been offered a £2,000 scholarship and had written letters to charities, she had less than six weeks to go until the course started and still had £9,000 to raise.  Lorna wrote to me asking for advice.

Well, for Lorna and all of you in a similar position, hope is not lost!

I suggest you put your energies into one massive fundraising event. You can definitely organise that in a month.

Some experiences in raising thousands of pounds quickly:

-We ran a Sponsored Jailbreak as got as many people as possible to take part. Friends, university colleagues, club members – even the local Rotary club helped. Ten people each raised an average of £150 on their sponsorship forms, helping me out to the tune of £1,500. We also wrote to local businesses and asked them for sponsorship, which raised a few more hundred pounds.

-An evening’s entertainment with tickets priced at £15+. Michelle, a friend of mine held a dinner-and-dance night. Local dance organisations all rehearsed a routine specially for the night, and audience members paid for dinner and watching the dances. The venue helped by keeping the catering costs as low as possible, and Michelle took home £10 for every ticket sold. She made over £2,000 on that night!

You could also organise a similar event with your fellow students while at college, and work towards an event in Reading Week or Christmas.

This might not raise £9,000 but if you can find the time to organise three of these events over the next year, you could easily raise £5,000 or £6,000.

Regarding charities, if you’ve done your homework and written to every charity you are eligible for from The Directory of Grant-Making Trusts then check in with  If it is your first degree, also check out Lawrence Atwell’s Charity.

There’s also time to network and meet busines owners regarding possible sponsorship. Approach local rather than international companies, and ask for a meeting.  Meet them with the following options:

1 – to sponsor you £2,000+ as major sponsor.
2 – to sponsor you for a smaller amount like £250 as a joint sponsor.

Promise potential sponsors something in return. If you have a performance talent like music you can definitely offer to play at a company dinner or event of some kind! You can offer a termly report on your progress, and their company logo on your CV and fundraising letters. You can probably also get them some publicity and a photo through a press release to the local newspaper. Your college should be able to support you here by inviting your sponsors to official occasions and performances.  Check this out with the Bursar.

And finally, if you still need to raise thousands and you’re already at college, think about tutoring on weekday evenings or Saturdays. The going rate for tuition is at least £20 an hour, so you could easily make £100 a week -that’s over £3,500 a year (term time). As an undergraduate you are probably very qualified to teach English and Maths up to age 13 as well as any other specialist subjects. Adverts in local shops and on university noticeboards are often enough to get you some tutoring clients, and there are tutoring agencies who will take you on and find clients for you.

Tutoring for five hours a week should not interfere with your studies too much, and could pay your rent for the entire year.  It’s certainly better paid than bar work, and requires a lot less of your private time!

If you have to find money urgently, it can make you feel stressed.  Write a plan of action for the next month, with deadlines and start organising events, writing letters and meeting people.  Your hard work will definitely pay off.

Good luck!

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