Determine likely expenses.
This exercise will have to follow the start-up conversations. Our experience is that the costs do not have to be substantial. That is one of the beauties of reflecting initiatives. But it is important to consider staff organizing time. If an FTE already has a full job, what is now not going to get done or will an extra stipend be necessary? Are you going to pay the facilitators (not done in many instances)? Will there be extra expenses tied to materials (like flipcharts or journals)? If food is going to be offered (always a good idea), how much should be budgeted? These are important questions to address.
Write a proposal.
If your own budget cannot accommodate what is imagined, then creating an “ask” document will be necessary. This should include a rationale, what exactly is planned, and how the expected costs break out. It might also be a good idea to explain efforts made to find current resources to support the plan you have in mind.
Determine what sources are best to tap.
It will be helpful to examine what parts of the institution are likely to have interest in the project. If budgets are being constrained, then talking to the Development office about special fundraising for new dollars may be appropriate. It will help your cause to see how your ideas align with the institution’s mission or current priorities. It may be that seeking funds on the outside – with permission from campus leaders – will yield the best results. An on-line search can show you, for instance, what Foundations are interested in reflection. Outside funders are most likely to be interested in providing seed money only, expecting that if a pilot is successful, the institution will in time pick up the costs.
Decide about the person asking.
Of course the higher up you can find “allies” the better off you will be. Figures emerge on campuses who seem to have moral suasion. Enlisting their support and being sure to make student voices front and center will help to get people’s attention.
Have an assessment plan in mind.
Anyone considering your request for money will want to know that you have a plan to determine the impact of what you are organizing. Serious consideration should be given to what questions you will want to ask, how soon after the conclusion of the program you will want to ask them, and who you will want to have conducting the assessment. The more objective researchers you enlist, the better. Some schools have had great success using graduate students in education or psychology to lead the review efforts. They do not have to be paid necessarily, especially if they can get credit for their work.