Fund Your Way

Need funding to attend NDiSTEM?

Use this guide and our video, SACNAS - Funding Your Way to a Conference, to help you create a budget, find funding support, and save on your own. There are many options to look for funding, and we encourage you to be creative, flexible, and resourceful. Don't be afraid to ask your professors, chapter advisors, or mentors for help! 

Our guide includes information on the following topics:

  • Estimating Costs

  • Building Your Budget

  • Preparing a Written Proposal

  • Making the Ask: From Your Department, From Your Advisor/Mentor/PI

  • Crowdfunding & Online Fundraisers

  • Fundraising as a Group

    If you have any questions/suggestions/additional resources, please contact us at

Quick Tips: 

  • For the best rates, book as early as you can! 

  • Do your research about the conference and all associated costs! 

  • Stay committed to your desire to attend the conference! 

  • Be flexible! Understand that all the costs may not be covered in full by the sources you’re requesting funding from. 

  • Make an outline of your request and practice presenting it out loud! You may be asked to prepare a formal proposal for your request 

  • Apply for a Google Conference Scholarship for the 2023 SACNAS NDiSTEM Conference! Applications are due August 30th!

Estimating Costs

There are 5 main areas to consider when creating your budget:
  1. Airfare: Keep in mind, costs will vary depending on your departure city.
  2. Lodging: Consider cutting down on this cost by finding a roommate for your stay.
  3. Registration: Check the conference website for any special rates or discounts! (visit for current pricing)
  4. Ground Transportation: Look into ridesharing or public transportation.
  5. Meals: Although some meals might be provided at the conference, you will still be responsible for some meals and snacks.

Creating Your Budget

When creating a budget for yourself and/or including in a request for support, consider the following tips from SACNAS members and advisors:

  • Do the work to determine the cost of the specific areas you need funding for so that when you are requesting financial support you have a concrete amount of how much you will need. 
  • You can ask for a range of amounts in your request – let the source you are requesting funds from know if you anticipate any fluctuation.
  • Create a document to explicitly detail the categories and costs you are requesting (make a table that lists each category you’re budgeting for and the specific costs per category, including any specific notes).
  • Creating a document and table lets those you are requesting funding from know that you have taken the time and understand the costs involved in getting you to the conference.
  • Consider cushioning your budget by ~$100 in case there are any “surprise” expenses (i.e., you need to purchase toiletries when you get to the conference, food options in some areas are pricier, etc.)
  • Put your name next to the costs in the table you’re willing to fund on your own – this shows your commitment and willingness to invest in yourself.

Preparing a Written Proposal

When preparing a written proposal to request support, consider the following:

  • Do your research – provide background about the conference you wish to attend.
  • Has your institution been involved with this conference before? If so, what has their involvement been like? 
  • What is the conference agenda going to look like? What sessions do you wish to attend? Be specific about how the conference will help you achieve your goals.
  • What are you hoping to gain from these sessions? Share the professional development, networking, etc. you wish to experience at the conference. 
  • Be transparent in your needs.
  • Include if you will be presenting your own research. Detail if you have already applied for other scholarships or funding opportunities, and what your funding status is.
  • Consider requesting a letter of support from your PI or mentor. 
  • Have someone proofread! 
  • Be flexible – understand that your entire trip may not be fully funded. 

Making The Ask: Your Department

  • Does your institution or department have funds allocated for students to travel and attend conferences? Is there funding for students who will be presenting research at a conference? 
  • Does your institution have any specific associations that can help with funding? 
  • Some institutions have associations that can help fund students’ conference travel.
  • See if your institution has services for transfer/re-entry students.
  • Check if your institution has any university clubs or ethnic resource centers that may have funding.
  • Reach out to other students who may have secured funding for their conference expenses.
  • Look into any other scholarships your institution may offer!

Making The Ask: Your Advisor, Mentor, or PI

Seek out mentors, advisors, or PIs who have supported you throughout your academic career. They may know or be connected to faculty or other resources that can support and encourage students’ attendance at conferences.

Crowdfunding & Online Fundraisers

Whether or not you're successful in getting funding support from your institution or employer, you may want to consider additional methods to ensure you can cover all costs related to the conference. When creating a GoFundMe (or other crowdfunding tool), consider the following tips from SACNAS members:

  • Be transparent in your campaign about what the funds will be used for.
  • Get potential donors excited about your interests! Share a picture of you presenting research, working in a lab, etc. to share your interests! 
  • Explain how you will be personally impacted by attending the conference.
  • Consider sharing how others have benefited from attending the conference or how the conference has helped them achieve their goals. 
  • Ask family members or friends to consider donating.
  • Share on social media – the sooner the better! For the 2023 NDiSTEM conference, be sure to tag @sacnas and use the hashtag #2023NDiSTEM.

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