A very common question from student leaders is, “How will we pay for all the programs we have planned?” You may need funds for a lunch or dinner meeting or for advertising, audiovisual support, or other event service costs. Multiple funding opportunities exist through the AAFP, your medical school, and regional groups and programs.
The AAFP and AAFP Foundation have partnered to provide expanded funding to medical student groups that promote expanding and diversifying the family medicine workforce.
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.
Any fundraising activity your group plans needs to have five elements:
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, and talent shows – all of which collect admission fees. These events usually require advertising, broader student-faculty involvement and even non-school sponsorship.
At the beginning of the school year, request a meeting with the department chair to report on the group’s achievements from the previous year, discuss a proposed annual program for the upcoming year, and request support for specific activities. Requests for support may include direct funding, secretarial support, printing and copying services, or 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.
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 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.
Residency program(s) in the area may 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.
Some state chapters can provide funding, connect you with potential speakers, and assist in locating informational resources. A few large chapters provide more extensive resources, including annual budgeted funding, dedicated staff support, student scholarships for regional and national meetings, and organized meetings for students. Aim to connect with your chapter on an annual basis.
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.
The most common organization in this category would be a state AHEC (Area Health Education Center). These are organizations 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.