Fundraising for a university speaking engagment?
December 6, 2005 7:12 PM   Subscribe

University fundraising for speakers - please help!

I have the opportunity to bring a foreign former head of state (but one that isn't, or popular for that matter) to Canada for a speaking engagment through the University of Toronto. The University is supportive and will provide the forum, however they are begging poor on the ancilliary fees (about $10,000 for flights, accomodation, etc). I've exhausted most of the ideas I've had for coming up with the funding (mostly university sources) and am stuck. In this case, going to the diaspora probably won't help. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of fundraising? Any ideas as to who else (private sector in Canada, government) I can go to for a chance at getting some money?
posted by loquax to Education (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe you could get a corporate sponsor. They often donate large sums of money to student organizations
posted by lpctstr; at 7:25 PM on December 6, 2005

Any chance the Political Science, Public Policy, relevant language etc departments would be willing to jointly co-sponsor the event? Most departments have some funds for bringing in speakers. Maybe you could combine those sources to help cover the expenses.

Could you sell tickets to a VIP reception before/after the event?
posted by i love cheese at 7:34 PM on December 6, 2005

yes, corp sponsorship. Look for the big recruiters from your Uni - usually management consultants, law firms etc. They usually have a budget for this sort of thing. Tell them you'll put a logo on the handouts.
posted by blag at 7:41 PM on December 6, 2005

Find out how much the student goverment/student union has in its coffers. You might be surprised.

The SG at my alma mater gets over 7 million dollars a year to spend on...well, whatever they want. Make nice with the wannabe politicos. They're all Poly-Sci majors who would love to take partial credit for bringing some big name to their school.
posted by SassHat at 8:01 PM on December 6, 2005

Also talk to the U's development office. Some alumni might pay 10k for a photo op and dinner with a favorite head of state.
posted by jmgorman at 8:06 PM on December 6, 2005

Can you hit up the Alumni Association?
posted by oddman at 8:06 PM on December 6, 2005

Upon a little more inquiry, try the Graduate Students' Union or the Student Council. If they think students will benefit from this person's appearance in some way, they'll probably be eager to assist you.
posted by SassHat at 8:10 PM on December 6, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks a lot for all the answers, please keep them coming, some good ideas I hadn't considered...
posted by loquax at 8:12 PM on December 6, 2005

have you looked into whether there are any campus interest groups that are affiliated with this person's nation or ethnicity?

you didn't say who it was or what nation they were head of, so i'll use an example. if it were e.g. a former israeli prime minister, hillel @ u of t could possibly be convinced to chip in. similarly, muslim students' association, black student union, or what have you.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 9:07 PM on December 6, 2005

Maybe (long shot) the Admissions/Recruitment office could help some. It would make the school more attractive.

Also, if you have an Honors Progam/College, sometimes those are into that sort of project. The one at my uni is probably one of the best-funded arms of the school and is very big on international programs.

Oh, speaking of, do you have a department for that? Like either an International Affairs academic dept, or an International Education program that might run study abroad type things? They might be interested.

Come to think of it, those are all within the university and you might have already gone to that well. But I'll go ahead and post because, well, maybe you haven't.
posted by SuperNova at 9:10 PM on December 6, 2005

Response by poster: I think I've covered most of the official university resources (though I hadn't thought of the student or alumni groups). I like the idea of a reception, as well as looking at who does the corporate recruiting (law firms are a great idea I hadn't thought of). Any other ideas would be most welcome, as well as any personal experience!
posted by loquax at 9:27 PM on December 6, 2005

Be careful with SG if there is any controversy around this person's country or self! Things went haywire at my school when someone approached SG about bringing in someone from the P.L.O.
posted by Goofyy at 4:51 AM on December 7, 2005

Name the event after the corporate sponsor--"The First Annual Bob's Pornshack Lecture Series in Public Policy." And ask the CEO to introduce the event.
posted by LarryC at 5:34 AM on December 7, 2005

When we needed to import a random Canadian from Vancouver to New York, we ended up getting the Canadian embassy to cover her airfare. So you might try this person's embassy, if you're not already going through them. Or even some other country's embassy, for all I know...
posted by xueexueg at 6:19 AM on December 7, 2005

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