Build Your ACM-W Student Chapter: 6. Funding

The Ohio State University Student Chapter of the ACM-W was chartered on May 13, 2003 and is one of the oldest continuously operating ACM-W Student Chapters. This chapter annually hosts 40+ events that include trips to the Grace Hopper Celebration, the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing, company visits, tech talks, socials, and workshops. They have around 50 active members, and they serve a total community of about 200 students. They often send more than 50 Ohio State students to the Grace Hopper Celebration, and can provide financial support for travel and registration costs to 35 of these through chapter fundraising efforts.

Learn how to build, maintain and grow a strong ACM-W chapter from The Ohio State’s ACM-W Chapter Leaders.

In this segment, ACM-W OSU Chapter Officer, Mary Catherine, talks about how to raise funds for your chapter’s activities. As Mary Catherine says, you can totally run your chapter for free. If you have a few members, your goals might be modest: to have regular meetings and occasional faculty-led tech talks. But if you want to grow your chapter, it really helps to have financial support.

Often your school will have a group that helps student clubs. They might have places for you to meet, to make copies of your posters, and they might have drinks and snacks. They may even have small grants that you can apply for.

Mary Catherine says your school may also have a diversity and inclusion committee that can connect your group with funding resources.

One of the best ways to get support is to develop relationships with companies. For example, when you invite them to talk to your members about careers, ask if they can provide refreshments. Once you have some history and trust, you can ask for bigger donations, to help send a group of members to a conference, for example.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for donations. All of these organizations have been asked for funding many times. They won’t be surprised to get an ask from you. And even if they can’t help you themselves, they can often put you in touch with someone who can.

What has your chapter done to raise funds? Have you ever had a bake sale or pet wash or other kind of fundraiser? What was something that you found surprising or interesting about asking people for money?

Let us know by interacting with us on Twitter, Mastodon or Facebook. Use #BuildYourACMWChapter and our handle @OfficialACMW Want to know more about how to start an ACM-W Student Chapter at your school? Here’s the quick-start guide.

This series continues. Please read the other tips in this series:

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Goal Setting
  3. Executive Board
  4. Event Planning
  5. Member Recruiting
  6. Funding
  7. Company Relationships
  8. Community Involvement
  9. Sustainability

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