Note: In the United States, most universities provide funding for student activities paid for by a student activity fee. This blog post is written for our US chapters on how to apply for funding from these pools. If you are outside of the US, funding structures vary from institution to institution. Contact your Global Program Coordinator (email@example.com) for advice.
1. Research sources of funding.
Universities in the United States will usually offer multiple pools of funding for students to use to finance academic endeavors or extracurricular activities. Make sure you are seeking the right one for conference funding or event/program funding. If your chapter is chartered or accredited by your university, you may be able to use funding through student government. If your chapter is not chartered by your university, there may be a general activities fund available to you regardless. Do some Googling with the keywords “[your university],” “conference funding,” “student activity funding.” Check with the office of student activities or student life to find out how to apply for conference funding or general club funding. Check with your academic advisors if there are conference scholarships available through your departments.
2. Estimate your budget.
For conference funding, come up with a budget that includes the estimated cost of lodging, travel, conference registration, and meals. If you’re holding an event, come up with a budget that includes advertising and promotion, food and beverages, any speaker honorariums, or program materials. Be conservative but realistic. If you show your school that you are being frugal, they may be more inclined to grant you funding to cover most or all of your expenses.
3. Write a proposal.
In order to receive funding, you will likely have to submit a proposal or give a presentation in front of a student government committee, university administrators, or faculty. Prepare yourself as much as possible. Make sure all logistical needs are accounted for. If you’re applying for funding to attend a conference, write a brief 250-500 word statement on the conference content, what you want to learn and what skills you want to build, and how attending will support your academic and personal growth. Be prepared to provide items such as a copy of past conference programs, a printed copy of the conference website, quotes from rental car agencies or airlines, receipts, a print out of the hotel website, and estimated costs of gas prices. If you’re applying for funding for an event, write a brief 250-500 word statement on the program content, what you plan for attendees to take away from your event, and what you aim to achieve with this event. Be sure to create an itemized list of expenses, attaching quotes, invoices, and receipts from whatever materials you bought for the event.
4. Submit it as early as possible.
The earlier you submit your proposal, the more likely you will be granted funding to cover all or most of your costs. Also, if you submit early enough, your school can cover the costs outright instead of providing a reimbursement after the event.
5. Follow up.
After you’ve submitted your proposal, make sure to follow the necessary steps to complete the process. Check back in once a week to make sure you’ve completed everything you need to receive funding. School bureaucracies can often be disorganized, so it is in your best interest to take initiative and stay on top of your request yourself. For more fundraising resources, check out our student fundraising events guide or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Adapted from: https://ssdp.org/blog/getting-to-ssdp2017-on-your-universitys-dime/