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Queer Disability Conference

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Powered by the Disability Social History Project (pchad@dnai.com)
Last revised: 30 Jan 2002


Thanks for your interest in attending the Queer Disability conference! This message will offer you some good ideas for raising the money you need for your travel expenses and conference registration fees. The Queer Disability planning committee is working on fundraising with the aim of offering some scholarship money to people who need it -- BUT we expect the need will be greater than the funds we will have available. Therefore, you are much more likely to have the funds you need if you seek out local resources. There are organizations in your community which have money to give to qualified individuals pursuing worthy projects. If you start now, you may find that it's easier than you think to secure the necessary funds.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when you approach these groups for money:
  • Start now! Some of the funding sources described below give out money until they run out. Others have to plan ahead to budget for special projects. Either way, you'll have a much better chance of getting funding if you apply well in advance of the June conference.
  • Think about this conference as an important community event, in which you have the opportunity to participate. You will learn lots of new information, make contacts with people from different communities, and bring home a great resource guide. This is not only a conference, it is also a catalyst for leadership development, networking, resource development, training, and diversity education. Use all of these concepts when asking people for money. Focus on the outcomes of your conference experience. Remind your potential donors that you will return to your community with lots of new information and resources that you will be sharing.
  • Work out a budget, figuring in your conference registration fee, airfare or train fare or mileage, housing costs, food and miscellaneous expenses. Once you have an idea how much you will need, decide which of the funding sources described below you might want to approach. You may have to request contributions from several or all of these sources in order to secure all the funds you need. Developing a budget is a good start, because it will help you plan your fundraising strategy. Also, some potential funders may want to see your budget. If you want to see a sample budget, write to qdconference2002@hotmail.com.

  • Always be courteous and respectful, and project confidence that your participation in the Queer Disability conference will benefit your community in concrete ways. Talk about your commitment to these issues, and how you plan to implement what you've learned at the conference after you return home.

  • When asking organizations for money, offer them something in return. Think you don't have anything worthwhile to offer? Think again! By attending this conference, you will gain new knowledge about queer/disability issues. When you approach a group to request funding, propose to share some of that new knowledge with your community after you return home from the conference. Perhaps you could write an article about the conference, and/or about queer/disability issues, for the organization's newsletter. Or you could make a public presentation and facilitate a discussion about queer/disability issues.

  • When you approach and organization for money, you may be asked for some written information about the conference. Feel free to take some information from the conference website at http://www.disabledwomen.net/queer.

  • LGBT organizations should be entirely supportive of Queer Disability conference, naturally. On the other hand, you may find that some disability-specific or other organizations are unwilling or unable to fund participation in a queer-related activity. If you encounter this problem, you may want to consider registering to attend the Society for Disability Studies conference, which will take place in San Francisco right after the Queer Disability conference. That way, you can apply for funding to attend that conference.

  • Have you considered submitting a proposal to present at the Queer Disability conference? Being a presenter might make you more eligible for funding from some of the sources described below. NOTE: The deadline for proposals is February 1, 2002. You can get the Call for Presenters from the Queer Disability conference website, at http://www.disabledwomen.net/queer, or by writing to qdconference2002@hotmail.com.

  • Some of the suggestions below involve asking individuals or businesses for financial contributions. You may be more successful at soliciting donations IF you have a 501(c)3 non-profit organization willing to collect funds for you. That way, donations can be tax-deductible, which gives potential donors one more reason to consider giving! You might ask your local LGBT community center, or your local independent living center, or some other non-profit organization, to be your "fiscal sponsor," and to set up an account to cover your conference-related expenses. Then be sure you have the organization's exact name, and its tax-exempt number, so that donors can write checks, and get credit for their contributions.

NOW, start looking around in your community for possible sources of funding. Here are some possible fundraising sources for you to try --


Almost every U.S. state and territory has an agency called something like "Developmental Disabilities Council," "State Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities," or a variation on that theme. Almost all of these councils have a fund from which they can award small grants ($400 or so, depending on your state) to enable disabled people to travel to conferences. These funds are often not well-advertised, but if you contact the agency, you may be eligible to apply for a grant. It's usually a very simple application process -- just filling out a short form with your name, address, the name of the conference, and specifying what you need money for (i.e. registration, plane fare, hotel, personal assistance, etc.) NOTE: Many DD agency funds have a policy of doing reimbursement only. This means that you will have to pay your costs when you travel to the conference, and then submit your receipts after you return home, and wait for the agency to send you a check. If this is a hardship for you, you might consider asking a friend, a relative, or another organization to loan you the money up front, with the promise that you will repay them when you receive your reimbursement check.

Be sure to ask your state's DD agency for information about their maximum grant amount, application guidelines, and eligibility criteria. To get the name, phone number, and address of your state's DD agency, go to http://www.cddc.com/cnclcon.htm


While some local LGBT community centers are small and struggling and underfunded, others are larger, well-established, and have some discretionary monies which may be able to support your participation in this conference. Call your local LGBT community center and ask to speak with the director. Tell them briefly about the Queer Disability conference, and explain that you are seeking financial support to attend. If you are disabled and/or LGBT, be sure to mention that! Ask whether it would be possible for the center to help sponsor you, and suggest that you could make a presentation regarding queer/disability issues, or lead a community discussion about these issues. (HINT: If you suggest doing this presentation during June, as part of your local Pride month activities, the center might be able to draw some additional funding from its Pride budget.)

To find your local LGBT Center, look in the telephone book; or look in the online directory at http://www.lgbtcenters.org/directory.htm


Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a national organization with chapters throughout the country. These groups do a lot of grassroots advocacy and mutual support with/for the LGBT community and family members. Local chapters usually have meetings once or twice a month. This could be a good source of financial support for getting to the Queer Disability conference. Go to the next local PFLAG meeting, and ask to speak briefly to the group. Explain a little bit about the conference, and why you wish to attend. Ask the PFLAG members to make contributions toward your travel expenses. (Many people will write personal checks, which will have their home address. Be sure to write down these addresses, and write thank-you notes to those who contribute money!)

To find your local PFLAG chapter, look in the telephone book, or check the online directory at http://www.pflag.org/chapters/find.html


If you are a person with HIV or AIDS, or if you have been involved in advocacy issues related to HIV/AIDS, you may be able to get some financial support for traveling to the conference from organizations dedicated to HIV/AIDS services and/or issues. Look in your local telephone book under "AIDS." When you call, introduce yourself and briefly describe the Queer Disability conference and why you would like to attend. Ask for financial assistance. As when approaching other organizations, tell a bit about yourself and about the conference, and offer some kind of presentation, community discussion, or newsletter article.


If you are a college or university student, faculty member, or staff person, you may be able to get funding from your campus LGBT group. You should be able to find this organization in your campus directory. Contact the director of the campus LGBT organization, offering information about yourself, about your involvement in queer and disability issues, and about the conference and what you intend to do there. Information about the Queer Disability conference has already gone out over a listserv for administrators of campus LGBT groups, so your group's director may already be aware of it.


Most larger campuses have an office for students with disabilities. Some of these are merely service providers; others engage in advocacy and education. The latter type of organization is more likely to provide funds for participation in this type of event. If you are a college or university student, faculty member, or staff person, you may be able to get funding from your campus disability services office, or from the disabled students' group if there is one . You should be able to find these organizations in your campus directory. Contact the organization, offering information about yourself, about your involvement in queer and disability issues, and about the conference and what you intend to do there.


College and university faculty and graduate students can often obtain conference travel funding, especially if they are presenting. Ask your department about these sources. Undergraduates can sometimes get funding from certain student organizations which they belong to, student services offices, and perhaps from the fellowships/scholarships office.


There are some LGBT business owners in your area who want to give back to their communities by making donations, or holding fundraisers, to support worthy projects. Start by contacting businesses that you patronize -- perhaps your hairdresser, your favorite lesbian or gay bar, the local women's bookstore, or your neighborhood gym. Give them some information about the conference, and ask them to consider making a contribution to help cover your costs. If you have a fiscal sponsor, be sure to let the businesses know that their contributions will be tax-deductible. Also, be sure to write personal thank-you notes to each contributor after you receive their check.


Ask a friendly business, an organization, or just a group of friends to help you organize a fundraising event. First, find an accessible, preferably free location -- perhaps a church, the community room of an apartment building, or a conference room in an office building. Or, you might try asking a friendly business owner to make their space available to you after hours. This work especially well with a spacious art gallery, bookstore, or restaurant. Ask several people to help prepare food. If you have a friend who is a talented musician, poet, or magician, ask her/him to perform. Or if you have a friend who has a great CD collection, and a portable stereo, ask her/him to play DJ. Print up some flyers advertising the event's date, time, address, purpose, and admission cost. It's a good idea to set a sliding scale for admission, so that more people will be able to afford to come, and some will be encouraged to give more. You might advertise the event cost on a scale ranging from $5 to $20.

If you don't have the space or resources or time to organize a large event like the one described above, you might consider doing a smaller-scale fundraising event in your own home. Of course, if you do this, you probably won't want to advertise publicly. Instead, just invite your friends and colleagues, and ask each one to make a contribution of any size.

Either way, you should plan to make a short (five- or ten-minute) speech, acknowledging those who performed and helped, and thanking everyone for attending and donating, and talking a little bit about the conference and the importance of queer/disability issues.


Last but not least, don't forget about your most valuable resources -- your friends and family. Think about writing a letter to selected individuals whom you feel would be supportive of your work on queer/disability issues. Tell them about the conference, and the issues that you plan to focus on there, and/or how the conference relates to your work in the queer and/or disability communities. Briefly describe the expenses involved in participating in the conference, and ask them to help you by making a contribution. Again, if you have a nonprofit organization sponsoring you, make sure to provide the organization's name and tax-exempt number.


email: QDConference2002@hotmail.com


email: QDProgram@hotmail.com

On the web at www.disabledwomen.net/queer
REGISTRATION INFO: Available on website after February 1, 2002.