INDIVIDUAL FUNDRAISING FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE QUEER DISABILITY CONFERENCE
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:
NOW, start looking around in your community for possible sources of funding. Here are some possible fundraising sources for you to try --
DD AGENCIES "CONSUMER INVOLVEMENT FUND"
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
LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER
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
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.
CAMPUS LGBT ORGANIZATIONS
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.
CAMPUS DISABILITY ORGANIZATIONS
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.
OTHER COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY FUNDING SOURCES
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.
LGBT COMMUNITY BUSINESSES
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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO VOLUNTEER:email: QDConference2002@hotmail.com
FOR PROGRAM INFORMATION:email: QDProgram@hotmail.com
On the web at www.disabledwomen.net/queer