Funding Your Way
As you navigate your path in STEM, attending a conference is a critical component of your academic and professional development. Students (and professionals) are encouraged to be strategic, resourceful, and creative when securing funding support to attend SACNAS’ National Diversity in STEM Conference. We want you to be set up for success — and that means making a plan now. Use these resources to help you create a budget, find funding support, and save on your own.
Together we… PREPARE
Understand/Create Your Budget
All costs below are estimated and subject to change depending on dates, airlines, hotels, and other factors. Our biggest tip is to book EARLY when possible to get the best possible rates!
Now that you know your costs, calculate your budget/fundraising goal!
3 Steps to Save
Using the budget table above as a guide, research what your specific costs will be for the following:
Divide your savings goal from step 1, by the number of months you have until you need to register. (Remember — the earlier the better!)
The goal you created here can be used for your personal savings goal as you manage your own budget, but also as a metric to measure your success as you seek alternative funding support (grants, scholarships, donations). Use it to create a plan about how much you can save on your own and where/when/who will seek alternative funding from. (See following sections for more information).
Do your best to set aside your goal from step 3, each month. Track your progress on a white board, notebook, or whatever will help you stay accountable (sample succes tracker provided below). As you seek alternative funding support, you can add this to your success tracker and adjust as necessary.
Simple #Save4SACNAS Success Tracker!
Instructions: Print this page or make your own, to track your progress securing funding from your own savings, your institution, fundraising campaigns, and more. Keep it somewhere you can see it every day.
Ask Your Institution Or Company
Use the following tips and suggestions to guide you through the process of requesting funding support from your institution or employer to attend the 2020 SACNAS conference. Please note: These guidelines were written with students in mind, however you may consider these recommendations when preparing to ask your employer (professionals), or when preparing a crowdfunding or other fundraising campaign.
- Conference registration
- Travel costs (hotel, airfare, meals, etc.)
- Sponsorships/Partnerships with 2020 SACNAS
- Recruiting (exhibiting at the 2020 SACNAS Graduate School & Career Expo)
Do Your Research!
- Find out if and how your institution has been involved with SACNAS, the SACNAS conference, or other similar events in the past.
- Consider different on-campus options such as college/department specific funds, ethnic resource centers, presentation funding (if you are applying to present your research), research program funding, etc.
- If you have a SACNAS chapter at your institution, connect with them to see what kind of support/fundraising they have done in the past or are planning for this year.
- Visit sacnas.org/what-we-do/conference/ to identify how the SACNAS conference would be beneficial to you and why it is important for your specific education/career/goals to attend.
Create Your Support Materials
- Make sure you include description of SACNAS and the National Diversity in STEM Conference.
- List any relevant prior experience you have had with SACNAS or other similar organizations/volunteering/service experiences.
- Consider asking your professor, mentor, or SACNAS Chapter advisor for a letter for support, in addition to your own letter.
Prepare Your Ask
Note: In these tips, an “ask” is a letter or written document. However an ask can be in many forms, i.e. video, powerpoint, oral presentation, a GoFundMe campaign page. Explore all your options!
- Provide 2-4 specific examples of what you hope to gain from attending the conference, AND how each example is relevant to your specific education/career path.
- Explain how your institution’s support will help you achieve your personal, academic, and/or career goals. Be specific!
- Propose opportunities where your institution can also get involved with the 2020 SACNAS conference and get exposure to thousands of STEM students through partnerships, exhibiting, and/or scholarships.
- Use the budget tables provided above to calculate how much support you need and include a clear budget in your ask.
- Make sure someone else reads your ask for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- Make sure your proposal/ask includes the essentials: your goals, reasoning, and budget.
- Practice a short presentation/pitch with a peer, mentor, advisor, or friend — Practice will help you be clear and confident!
- Be ready to negotiate and/or be flexible with your ask.
- If and WHEN you are successful, share your success story with us on social media using #Save4SACNAS
Click here to view a template letter for support which can be used by students and professionals!
Instructions & Checklist:
- Copy & paste the text into your own word or google doc.
- Modify and customize for yourself (use your personal voice) and your audience (Are you writing to a PI? To a dean? To your boss?)
- Make sure you ask someone to review your letter for spelling and grammar.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask your professors, chapter advisors, or mentors for help!
- Send to your institution or employer via the appropriate channels
- If you can, request an in-person meeting to discuss your request. Be sure to bring a printed copy of your letter with you to the meeting.
More Ways To Fundraise
In addition to requesting funding support from your home institution, there are many external options available. SACNAS-provided travel scholarships are one option for undergraduate and graduate students to consider, but there are others out there — You’ll just need to do your research!
Below are some tips to get start your search:
- Ask your PI, professor, mentor, or advisor for their ideas
- Research opportunities through other groups/societies/clubs you can or should be a member of
- Search the SACNAS Opportunities Board or other similar opportunity sites
Crowdfunding (using platforms such as GoFundMe) and fundraising as a group can be an excellent way to invite your networks to donate toward your savings goal. If you have social media, you can leverage your fundraising page by sharing the link regularly and using relevant hashtags. Be SURE to use #Save4SACNAS so that the SACNAS National Office can find and share your crowdfunding page as well.