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Funding for a college math club

  1. Aug 22, 2012 #1
    Does anybody have advice on how to get funding for a College Math club from sources outside the university? I know our physics club was able to write letters to various organizations requesting for donations and they got incredible results. I am going to check with them (though I hope we are not competing!) but I was wondering if anybody had advice on the following:

    General format for the letter
    Finding what companies might be interested (Companies who do math and science in our case)
    Addressed to whom? Departments? Individuals?

    I suppose we could also do fundraising, but I'm not sure what kind of things a math club can do that actually has added value for the students. (Meaning, we don't want to order whole pizzas and re-sell it by the slice).

    Ideas? Thanks,

    Dave K
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 22, 2012 #2

    Dembadon

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    Hi Dave,

    I was elected treasurer of the Math Club at my university for the upcoming fall and spring semesters. Fortunately, I was able to obtain most of the funding we needed internally, so I haven't had to go outside of the university yet. However, we're hoping to tour the Googleplex later in the semester, so I'm pretty sure I'll need external funding for that. My plan of attack is to write to local businesses and ask them if they would like to contribute to the success of our state's future employment base. I will explain how the club has contributed to the social and academic success of its members. I will also inform them of the write-off benefits of a donation, in hopes to appeal to the business aspects of such a decision.

    Fundraising idea: Depending on the structure of academic services at your university, there might be a market for tutoring students. I would find out how much funding you need in order to do the things the club wants to do, then you can audit the tutoring idea against your needs to see if it's even practical and/or sufficient. If it looks like it will work, you can ask members for their schedules and assign them time slots that will work for them. Figure out a structure for the tutoring service: regularly scheduled sessions at specific times each week where members are available to walk-ins, or "upon request" sessions in which a student contacts the club and sets-up a session with a member who's available during the requested time(s). Find out what will work best for the majority of the club and print out some simple fliers to post around campus.

    I also suggest a meeting; get the club together and ask for ideas. Make them contribute! A good brainstorming session can illuminate avenues you haven't explored or didn't know existed. Hint: I've found that if you provide food1, attendance skyrockets. :wink:

    1 nothing fancy, cheap pizza has always been sufficient

    Best of luck in your fundraising endeavors! :smile:
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  4. Aug 22, 2012 #3
    IMO, when in doubt, call math and science department alumni. Look for those that have obtained more significant positions in their companies, and ask them if they'd mind helping to sponsor the math club. Give them a realistic dollar number you'd need for startup and ultimately what you'd like to get to in club capability with multiple contributors and where the money will go. Tell them you hope to be able to obtain folks like them to speak, which would potentially require the club to at least pay their way. Additionally, you'd like the club to be able to take field trips to companies like theirs to see math in action. e.g. See what math majors do in the real world. As you can probably tell, stressing the connection with the donor's company (involving the company in more than writing a check, public relations, prospective employees, etc.) can help them see a benefit.

    FWIW, I write a check every year to my college Engineering Physics Club, and I've been invited to speak a few times.
     
  5. Aug 22, 2012 #4
    Which business are you targeting? I'm not sure which ones are "mathy."

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) our school offers free tutoring to all students, so we'd have a hard time making money off this one. In fact in addition to math club I will be tutoring this semester.

    [QUOTE
    I also suggest a meeting; get the club together and ask for ideas. Make them contribute! A good brainstorming session can illuminate avenues you haven't explored or didn't know existed. Hint: I've found that if you provide food1, attendance skyrockets. :wink:

    1 nothing fancy, cheap pizza has always been sufficient
    Best of luck in your fundraising endeavors! :smile:[/QUOTE]

    Yes, our typical meetings (every two weeks) consist of pizza, soda, and a speaker or some other activity, plus whatever announcements need to be made. I suppose we could ask there, though I was trying to keep it the concern of the officers and advisors. hmmmm

    -DaveK
     
  6. Aug 22, 2012 #5

    Dembadon

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    There are a few software companies, of varying size, in the area. They provide internships for math majors at the university, so I figured they'd be a good place to start. GE also has a location not far south of the campus ('bout a 30 minute drive) and I've been told they might be willing to throw some money our way.

    My university offers free tutoring as well, so this wasn't a viable option for us either, but I figured I'd throw it out there just in case.

    It might be interesting to contact your tutoring center and try to get some data from them regarding math tutoring service usage. If there are people waiting in line for tutoring, you might be able to snag some of the students who've procrastinated to the point of needing help right away.

    I'll ask about funding ideas at our first meeting, if I can remember. Our president has been involved for a few years and might have some ideas for you.
     
  7. Aug 22, 2012 #6
    Thanks. Some good ideas here. I didn't even think about software companies, for whatever reason... At our campus, the math and compsci departments are kind of in different worlds, which I think is unfortunate.
     
  8. Aug 28, 2012 #7

    Dembadon

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    Any ideas yet? :biggrin:

    Here, the CS dept. is under the college of engineering, and the Math dept. is under the college of science.

    That said, even with the segregation of departments, there are a few professors in the math department who do research in computational mathematics (flow through porous medium, etc.), so they collaborate with some of the professors in the CS dept. who're doing theoretical computer science. There are also a few upper-division CS courses that count as applied mathematics electives (compiler theory, automata, algorithm analysis, numerical methods I & II, etc.).
     
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