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Fund Yourself

The following information provides guidance on how you can raise the funds you need to take part in a Tall Ships Race or Regatta.

We’ve included some helpful tips and guides, which are easy to follow and can actually be a lot of fun.


Don’t know how to go about raising funds for your voyage? Join the Windseeker Dinghy Programme!

Just like a literal dinghy, the Windseeker Dinghy Programme is designed to help you make your way from dry land onto a Small Ship or Tall Ship at sea. It’s an online fundraising training scheme run by the experienced team at Windseeker. Making use of their years of experience with helping young people to have an adventure at sea, the Windseeker Dinghy Programme coaches will give you all the tools and guidance you need to raise funds for a voyage. You’ll even get access to an online community of young trainees for networking and extra support!

The Windseeker Dinghy Programme is open for everyone aged 15-25 (other ages can apply) who wants to join a voyage available with Windseeker – including many Tall Ships Races journeys and Sustainable Sailing programmes. There is a refundable participation fee of €50 which is refunded in full after completing the training – so really, the only thing it costs you is your own effort!

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Making a plan is the best way to ensure that you’ll succeed on your fundraising journey. So, we’ve come up with a few questions that will help you make a structured guide to keep track of your progress. Make a note of your answers to the following questions:

  • How much funding do you need?
  • How long do you have to raise the money?
  • Do you know anyone who can help?
  • How many activities will you arrange to help raise the funds you need?

How Much?

Setting yourself a target helps you to stay motivated. It also lets people know how much to sponsor you or donate. Update people regularly on your progress, so that they know how you’re doing and how much you still need to raise.

How Long?

Give yourself as much time as possible to complete your fundraising. You might be able to sign up for a sail training voyage at the last minute, but unless you can cover your own costs, it’s best to plan ahead.

Ask yourself how long you expect your fundraising to take. Next, plan a schedule that gives you enough time to organise everything you need to do. Tip: it always helps to give yourself a little more time than you think you need.


Here at Sail On Board, we know just how fantastic you are, but it isn’t always easy to do everything on your own. Do you have family, friends or local businesses who can help you on your journey? If you’re planning a specific fundraising event, is there anyone who can help with the set up? Do you have a local newspaper or radio station that could help promote your fundraising? What about local businesses that might be interested in sponsoring your trip? (More on this one later.)

How Many?

Arranging one big fundraising event can be a quick and effective way to raise the money you need. However, it can also be a bit daunting and involve lots of planning. Breaking down your target into smaller milestones might be a better option.

For example, if you need to raise €500, try planning five activities and aim to raise €100 at each one. This is much easier to achieve. It’ll also keep you motivated because you’re more likely to hit your targets.

Support Fundraising Content Block


One of the easiest ways to raise funds is to approach local businesses and organisations. Would they be willing to sponsor your adventure?

Firstly, put together a list of organisations that might be able to help. Think about companies where your friends, relatives or even you work. You could also consider your town or city’s biggest employer, or your local authority.

Aim to give your funding requests as much credibility as possible. You can do this by writing to each organisation and explaining what you plan to do. Talk about why sail training is important to you, what you’ll learn on board, and how this will have a positive impact on society. There have been numerous studies highlighting the benefits of the sail training experience, and you’ll find that many organisations really are willing to sponsor you.

Check out our example template letter to help you get started.

Sail On Board fundraising letter template.

Sponsored Fundraising Challenges

Sponsored challenges are a great way to help you reach your fundraising target. You could take part in a sponsored run at the weekend, a bake sale at school or college, or give up something that you really love. You’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to support you when they see you putting in the effort to raise awareness for your cause.

Take a look at our branded sponsorship form that you can download and print out.

Sail On Board fundraising form.

Publicity and Social media

It’s important to publicise your fundraising challenge as much as possible. So, be sure to let your local radio, TV and newspapers know about your story.

Don’t forget to use your social media channels to tell friends and family about your efforts. You can also join the Sail Training International Facebook group for inspiration.

You can use our example news release to help you.

Sail On Board guide to writing a news release.

Gifts and Presents

By creating a fundraising plan in advance, you can share it with your family and friends and ask for contributions instead of gifts. If you leave yourself plenty of time, you could always ask for donations instead of Christmas, birthday, Ramadan, or Hanukkah presents.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

When was the last time you played on that old Xbox 360®? Do you really watch all those DVDs now that you have Netflix®? We all have unwanted items clogging up our homes and bedrooms… which you can sell for a profit. Try setting up an Ebay® account, visiting a car boot or a yard sale, or arranging a garage sale to turn all that clutter into valuable cash towards you target.

Another great way reach your target is to do small jobs for other people. For example, gardening, dog walking, car washing, or even making tea are all great ideas. There are lots of things you can do for others that will help raise vital funds.