Obtaining Funds for Your FMIG
Finding Money for Your Family Medicine Interest Group
A very common question from student leaders is “How will we pay for all the programs we have planned?” Funds may be needed for the food being ordered for a lunch or dinner meeting, but may also be needed for other costs, such as advertising, audiovisual support, or service costs if the event is held off campus.
Multiple funding opportunities exist through the AAFP, your medical school, and regional groups and programs.
The AAFP and AAFP Foundation have partnered again to provide crucial financial support to campus-based FMIGs at U.S. allopathic medical schools in order to enhance student interest in family medicine.
Students who are AAFP members can sign up to be the designated Student Membership Coordinator for their medical school. In doing so, your FMIG will receive numerous materials from the AAFP and earn incentives for increasing AAFP student membership.
Planning Fundraisers for Your FMIG
Any fundraising activity by the students needs to have five elements:
- A specific purpose for the fundraiser, either for FMIG expenses or for a community organization
- An item or service that is wanted by others
- A group activity that is suggested by or has the buy-in from many student members
- A business plan with a realistic financial target to achieve for the specific purpose
- Student(s) who will take leadership
The most common fundraisers are t-shirt sales or sale of food items to other students (such as breakfast rolls on exam mornings). If raising funds for a community organization, students have sponsored running/walking events, faculty-student basketball games, talent shows which all involve admission fees. For these events advertising, broader student-faculty involvement and even non-school sponsorship are usually needed.
The Academic Department
At the beginning of the school year, the FMIG advisor and the FMIG student leaders may meet with the department chair to give a report on their accomplishments from the past year, discuss their proposed annual program, and request support for specific activities. This may be in the form of direct funding, but could also include other services, such as secretarial support, printing and copying service, and provision of space for meetings. Faculty speakers are commonly used in presentations and the FMIG may ask that this be considered as department teaching credit.
If the department does fundraising, the FMIG can request to be included as a named group to receive funds from alumni and department donors. The advisor can give the chair a list of formerly active FMIG students who have finished residency. These alumni may make a monetary donation to the FMIG as a gesture of their appreciation for the support they received while in medical school. In some cases, particularly grateful alumni may endow a fund to support student travel to the state or Academy meeting or National Conference.
Student Government/Dean's Office
In some schools the student government will have a budget that includes funding for student interest groups. They also may have funding for students to attend national medically-related meetings, such as the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students.
Some Dean’s offices will pay for the creation of a poster being presented by a student at a national meeting. The Dean’s office may also provide an access number for the copy machines at the school to student interest meetings.
Funding from Residency Programs
The residency program(s) in the area can contribute as well. Usually assistance comes in the form of resident or faculty speakers or materials for a workshop. Residency programs also sponsor dinners at their sites to recruit students to apply to their programs.
AAFP State Chapters
The AAFP has a chapter for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Uniformed Services, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Some chapters can provide funding, suggest speakers and help connect with them, and assist in locating informational resources. A few large chapters provide more extensive resources including budgeted funding annually, dedicated staff support, student scholarships to regional and national meetings, and organized meetings for students. Connecting with your chapter on an annual basis will keep you and the FMIG in the informational loop. View chapter contact information.
Regional Residency Programs
Depending on your school’s location, there may be other residency programs nearby. If so, these programs may be interested in providing speakers, sponsoring an event, or providing other resources.
Other State Organizations
The most common organization in this category would be a state AHEC (Area Health Education Center). These are organizations begun through federal grants to states, that are designed to provide health care to underserved areas. An AHEC can typically provide preceptors or presenters in family medicine, information, and occasionally funding for a meeting or program that addresses underserved practice within your state.