Funding Sources

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Some groups get a certain amount of funds “automatically” every year, such as how the EUS and departments receive student fees. Virtually all groups bring in revenues through fundraising initiatives, like running a Blues Pub or charging event tickets. But there are also sources of funding that fall more along the lines of a “donation” from organizations that wish to promote student life. The following are a few of these organizations, and some first steps in applying for funding from them.
Note that some of these groups often send a cheque directly to the EUS Office if you are successful in your application. If this is the case, you must inform Dianne in the EUS Office how much you are expecting, and from who. (see Receiving Revenues)

EUS

If you are a committee, you receive funds from the EUS automatically if it is approved in your budget. For other groups, you must apply to one of several EUS funds and meet its criteria. Here are the funds which are currently in existence:

Departmental Trips Funding

Departmental Trips Fund for more info
This fund is for trips taken by departmental societies that are beneficial to students. The trip may be a conference, a sports trip, a day trip industry tour, or an overnight industry tour. The details can be found in the Departmental Trips Funding Bylaws, but the short story is that you must apply in writing to the EUS Executive Committee prior to the trip, including a detailed itinerary, budget, and list of attendees (with their departments indicated). The maximum per-head supplement which may be received per student is:

  • Conferences: $75 per student
  • Sports Trips: $5 per student
  • Industry Tours (day-trip): $5 per student
  • Industry Tours (overnight): $15 per student

Keep in mind that these are maximum values. Depending on how full the fund is and how beneficial your trip is to students, the amount given may vary. Be reasonable when asking for support and indicate other funding sources when applying – the departmental trips fund is relatively small and does anticipate that students will still have to pay out of pocket for some expenses. This fund is only helpful in reducing but not eliminating trip costs. Apply early because MESC may require your attempt to get this funding before you request MESC funding.

Design Team Fund

Design Team Fund for more info
Recognized design teams may apply to this fund. The value of the fund varies year by year and depends on available EUS funds. Distribution of the fund is according to the Design Team Funding Committee (DTFC) Bylaws, and the DTFC meets once per semester. Your design team will be notified prior to the meeting.

Clubs Fund

Clubs Fund for more info
EUS clubs may apply to this fund. The value of the fund varies year by year, and depends on available EUS funds. Distribution of the fund is according to the Clubs Funding Committee (CFC) Bylaws, and the CFC meets once per semester. Your club will be notified prior to the meeting.

Student Space Fund

Student Space Fund for more info
This fund, formerly known as the Space Improvement Fund (SIF), is a resource funded by student fees to improve the quality of student space. Up the a fifth of the fees collected every semester may be used for small projects, including improvements to the Common Room, the McGill Engineering Design Network Workshop, the Clubs Hub, lounges of Departmental Societies, and other student space. Application instructions will be made available prior to the SSFC (Student Space Fund Committee) meeting to discuss proposals. Bylaws can be found here.

Equipment Fund

Equipment Fund for more info
This fund is generally not applicable to EUS groups, as its purpose is to provide students with additional laboratory equipment supplemental to that normally supplied by the university. In some cases, this has included purchases made for design team permanent equipment, but is up the Equipment Fund Committee to decide what it considers to be purchasable under the fund. Bylaws can be found here.

MESC

MESC is a major contributor to many student initiatives, including design teams. There is a standard application form which can be filled out and submitted to the MESC. Information can be found here.
For regular applications, the maximum amount which may be received is $1,000, but do not ask for more than is needed, because it may not be granted and may potentially be at the expense of other groups if it is. MESC will request copies of all your receipts - however they are usually content to receive a print-out from the EUS accounts of the expenses that you submitted and the revenues received for the trip.
Approach EUS and your department (if applicable) for funding before approaching MESC. They want to see that you’ve exhausted other sources of money immediately available within the faculty of engineering.

Departments

Departmental administrators may have funds available for student projects. This varies greatly between departments, and departmental societies are generally the ones most likely to be able to benefit. Departmental representatives should approach their departmental chair (or potentially other officials in the department) about initiatives which will benefit students from that department, and see if the department is willing to make any contributions.
In many cases, your department may be in the habit of making an “annual” contribution to certain activities of your group. This sort of funding source is usually pretty reliable, but you should talk to the department every year to ensure that nothing has changed.
In some cases, groups that are not departmental societies receive funding from departments. The onus is on these groups to find ways to reach out themselves and convince departments that their activities are valuable to the students of that department.

SSMU Funds

SSMU-Logo-Red.png
The SSMU has a variety of funds available to student groups. Each fund has a different set of criteria, and it is highly recommended that you check them out, because many of them actually have excess funds at the end of the year, meaning that they would have been able to provide funding to more applicants. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, so apply as early as you can! You can submit one application per event/initiative, and select one Fund to apply to. All funding decisions are made by a central Funding Committee, and they may decide to allocate funds to you from a different Fund, or from more than one Fund - basically whatever they can do to help fund you!

Over the 2017/2018 school year, one of our SSMU Reps sat on the SSMU Funding Committee. They (I) have written the following guide based on this experience.

0. Check out SSMU's Funding page for a far more aesthetically pleasing guide. Then come back here for tips & tricks.

Available Funds

Fund Apply For... Do... Don't...
Ambassador academic conferences and competitions, including design team competitions - include any costs paid by participants in your budget, even if they're not paid through you
- ask participants to contribute a reasonable amount to the cost
- ask for funding for food/alcohol
- remove food/alcohol form your budget just because it can't be funded
- apply for funding if the costs can be covered by other revenues in your annual budget
Campus Life pretty much anything that happens on campus - social events, networking events, cool initiatives, workshops, guest speakers, etc. - include projected attendance/involvement
- make your budget very clear, so that it is easy to tell the difference between food & alcohol expenses and everything else
(same as above)
First Year anything targeted at first year students (same as above) (same as above)
Equity equity initiatives (same as above) (same as above)
Mental Health mental health initiatives (same as above) (same as above)
Environment sustainability initiatives - my example is using it to cover the difference in cost required to make your activity more environmentally friendly - include the costs of both the original and more sustainable options (same as above)
Space improvements to student spaces, similar to the EUS Student Space Fund
Community Engagement charitable events / fundraising events for a charity
Club ONLY AVAILABLE TO FULL STATUS SSMU CLUBS - - apply for this fund if you're not a SSMU Club

General Rules for all Funds

  1. Funding can only cover a deficit, and only if it carries over to a deficit in your annual/operating budget.
  2. Funding cannot cover the cost of food or alcohol, but can be selectively applied to cover all other costs.
  3. Funding is allocated only for events/initiatives in the current semester. Exceptions include:
    - Anything you have to pay for in the current semester (ex. booking fee/deposit, plane tickets bought early, etc.)
    - Funding for the Summer - apply in the Winter if possible, or retroactively in the Fall
    - Some retroactive funding, but generally only for Summer expenses
  4. There is no official limit on the amount you can apply for. Apply for as much as you might reasonably need.
  5. You can reapply for more funding if something goes wrong. Although not ideal, the Funding Committee has granted funding increases to groups where their budget has changed significantly since the original application (ex. failure to secure expected sponsorship).

The Application Process: Step-by-step

  1. Register your student group - Do this NOW, even if you won’t be applying till later! It will take time to process your registration. Registration is done once per group, ideally by the person who will be applying for Funds. You would likely be a “Departmental Association” or “On Campus Student Group” or perhaps “Special Event”.
  2. You’ll get login instruction for the online Application Portal. All Funding applications are submitted here. The link to access the Portal is not posted anywhere, so here it is for convenience.
  3. Prepare an event/initiative budget and an annual/operating budget such that the amount of funding you are requesting and which expenses it will cover are clear. Your EUS budget(s) are great for this, if you've filled them in correctly. Key points are:
    - Making sure each expense has a clear title/description. Since SSMU can't fund food or alcohol, any vague expense that might contain either will not be funded.
    - Having a deficit in your annual budget. If you are an EUS Committee, consider splitting your deficit between EUS and SSMU Funding requests.
    - Including all the details! Don't remove food/alcohol expenses from your budget because they can't get funding. If participants are paying their own conference fees, even if it's not through your Group, add lines in revenue and expense for this. The Funding Committee needs to have a full overview of the cashflow to make a decision.
  4. Gather any receipts, invoices, quotes, etc. that you have for your expenses into a single pdf. The more information you can provide, the better, especially for large expenses.
  5. FILL IN THE APPLICATION WOOOOOO. Here's the info they ask for:
    1. Name & student number of your Financial Officer (or whoever is submitting the application)
    2. Description of your club / group
    3. Name, date, and description of your event/initiative/project
    4. How much $$$ you want, from which Fund, and why that Fund
    5. Budgets & other relevant documentation (if applicable)
  6. Wait. Hopefully only around a week. For 2017/18, the Funding Committee meets every Tuesday to review all applications submitted by the previous Thursday. You may be asked to provide more information or some clarification to the Funding Commissioner/Committee
  7. You will receive your funding decision through email. If you feel the decision is not fair, or if you don't understand why you have(n't) been given a certain amount, you can respond to the Funding Commissioner's email. If you're reading this before the end of April 2018, you can also email Vivian at ssmu.rep1@mcgilleus.ca, as they sit on the Funding Committee.

McGill Alumni

The McGill Alumni Association awards money to student groups every year, and because it is not well known to everyone, it is an excellent group to apply to. They ask that the project be for the benefit of McGill students and the funds should be beyond the means of the general operating budget of the group. You can find the form here.

LOJIQ

Les Offices Jeunesse Internationaux du Québec is an organization which supports a variety of projects undertaken by young adults in Quebec. Design teams often apply for funding from LOJIQ, and are often very successful. For more details, approach design team members with experience applying for funding through LOJIQ, or visit their website

Sponsorship

This may be the best form of funding. There are tons of companies that want to get access to talented McGill engineering students, and are willing to pay top dollar to get some exposure. To put things in perspective, companies pay a combined $15000+ for ads in the EUS Handbook. In the case of a Handbook, a professional company obtains the ads and takes a cut, but this shows the potential of sponsorship when done right.
Finding sponsorship is a big topic, and will not be covered in detail by this report. However, it is a potential gold mine for your group, and often all you need to do is include a company logo on some promotional materials. Considering that companies are often looking to hire students, giving them access to students is often something you WANT to do, regardless of the sponsorship money. If you want to find out more about sponsorship, contact corporate.relations@mcgilleus.ca.