Guide to Finding Funding
Why do I have to find funding?
WSU-GU NEWL wants to make sure that all can attend, regardless of their individual effort to pay. Instead of requiring students to pay directly for our program, we ask students to come in with the financial sponsorship of a campus or community backer. The $250 funding we ask each participant to bring in actually covers only a small portion of the program expenses. The WSU-GU NEWL directors and staff work each year to raise the majority of the funds to run this important women’s leadership program. This year we are funded by a generous grant from the Seattle-based Women’s Funding Alliance.
Advocating for yourself may feel scary but it is a necessary skill to cultivate in order to be effective in public and professional life. Consider this the first skills building exercise of your participation in WSU-GU NEWL!
Where do I look for funding?
Start on your campus. Many colleges and universities have offices that seek to promote student civic engagement, career readiness, leadership skills, or other co-curricular activities and they may have funds to support your participation in WSU-GU NEWL. Other campus possibilities include: the chair of your major or minor department, a dean or administrator, your campus work supervisor, the student government association, or your academic or athletic advisor. Every campus is different, so spend some time thinking about your campus resources and look around on your school’s website for funding opportunities you might not be familiar with yet.
You can also look within your community. Organizations that might be willing to sponsor leadership and skills training include: your employer, large local businesses, civic organizations, women’s leadership organizations, elected officials, and community activist groups, to name just a few.
If you have made many attempts to find funding and are still not able to secure the entire $250, contact us and we can try to help you find the funding you need.
How do I secure funding?
You need to develop a persuasive pitch to convince people to support you. As you begin to prepare your pitch, think about why participating in this program is important to you. What will you gain from it? Familiarize yourself with the program and its approach so you can tell your potential supporter why this is a great opportunity for you and what you plan to take away from your participation.
Promote yourself. Tell your potential supporter why you deserve to be supported. Have you taken a course that gives you some background knowledge about political leadership or engaged in leadership or activism on campus that has gotten results? Make sure that your potential supporter knows about your accomplishments and senses your confidence that you are worthy of their investment.
Finally, think about how your participation can benefit your institution. For instance, your employer may stand to gain from the skills you gain and the networks you develop at WSU-GU NEWL or your college may benefit from being able to say it supports women’s leadership. Your pitch should touch on all these aspects: what you will gain from WSU-GU NEWL, why you are worth the investment, and what benefit the sponsor will gain from your participation.
Ready to pitch? If you don’t know your potential sponsor well enough to simply stop by their office and begin your pitch, send them an email with a brief version of your pitch and conclude with a request for a meeting. Show up at the meeting ready to make the full pitch professionally and enthusiastically.
One final tip: do not take “no” for an answer—at least not the first time. If your potential sponsor says they would love to help but they just do not have $250 in their budget, ask if they will partially fund you. If they say yes, move on to other campus or community offices to find the rest. If they still say no, thank them for their time and ask them if they know of any other departments, offices, organization or people that might be willing to fund you.
Once you’ve found a person, office or organization willing to sponsor your attendance, you are ready to apply. You will record your sponsor’s name and contact information on the application form.