The Course of Reason

Advice from the Student Group Receiving $67K in Funding

November 28, 2012

You probably heard the news in last week's Affiliate Group of the Week announcement, but in case you missed it: here's the announcement from the Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics of University of Wisconsin—Madison about their big victory. We asked group member Chris Calvey to offer his advice to other groups looking to obtain funding from their student government. Here's what he had to say.

It's tough to offer any specific advice to other student groups, since every university has a different funding system, and the opportunities we have in Madison probably don't exist at a lot of other schools. Still, here are a few suggestions that could be helpful:

  1. Be prepared: It is essential to open a bank account for your organization, and to have a group treasurer who can diligently keep track of all your finances.
  2. Do your homework: Usually there will be some sort of central agency that is in charge of funding student groups. Look into what kind of grants are available, how to apply for them, what deadlines exist, and so on. Often there will be an immense amount of online material which describes all kinds of rules and regulations: READ IT. Ask a lot of questions.
  3. Grow: Wherever you're currently at, do better. Once you get a few grants under your belt, you'll have a much better idea of how to navigate the peculiar bureaucracies of your own university. Make it your annual goal to have a bigger budget than you did the year before.
  4. Copy: Sometimes the greatest source of inspiration can be other groups on campus. Find out what the biggest, most organized, and highest funded groups on campus are doing, and emulate them. You may even be able to request their completed applications and budget documents. And remember: if religious groups are getting lots of funding, so can you!
 

About the Author: Chris Calvey

Chris Calvey's photo
Chris is the President of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics.

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