Funding Process

In a Nutshell

Tips for how to obtain the funding you need to make the trip affordable for participants

Every funder that might subsidize the costs of a student-led trip to Israel has its own criteria and procedures for applying for those funds. Most will at least require a written overview of the program and a detailed budget.

Trip leaders need to articulate their funding needs, identify potential funding sources, request funding, and set up a mechanism for managing those funds.

Lay the groundwork

Program overview

The trip leaders should put together a basic program overview summarizes the trip for potential funders. The overview should include:

  • Need (why we need support for an Israel trip on this specific campus)
  • Trip goals and objectives (the trip’s focus; what the leaders hope that participants take away from the experience)
  • Target audience and selection process (criteria by which participants will be selected)
  • Preliminary budget (including projected number of participants and unit costs)
  • Draft itinerary (major themes and broad activity overview)
  • Leadership bios (bios of student leadership team and why they are positioned to lead the trip; may include links to LinkedIn profiles)

A fiscal agent

Meanwhile, set up a mechanism for accepting and dispensing funds. Many trips partner with an on-campus group like Hillel or Chabad or another 501(c)(3) to act as their fiscal agent.

The only role of the fiscal agent is to process the funds (accepting them from funders and disbursing them to vendors and participants). It should be made clear to the fiscal sponsor that it does not have a programming role.

Identifying funding sources and asking for funds

Applying to Israel & Co.

Israel & Co. administers funds to subsidize student-led trips to Israel. Trip leaders can apply for a range of funding subsidies. Funding applications for business student trips, law student trips and policy student trips are available.

  • Public policy or law student trips may qualify for these funding subsidies:
    • Participant travel, some or all of the ground costs
    • Trip leader, ground costs and airfare
    • Pre- and post-trip activities
    • Add-ons like t-shirts or books for the trip
    • A mifgash (encounter) with Israeli peers in Israel
  • Business student trips may qualify for these funding subsidies
    • Trip leader, ground costs and airfare
    • Pre- and post-trip activities
    • Add-ons like t-shirts or books for the trip
    • A mifgash (encounter) with Israeli peers in Israel

Funding decisions at Israel & Co. are based on evaluation of:

  • The program overview that includes a trip description, trip goals, and a preliminary itinerary and budget
  • An application (Funding applications for business student trips, law student trips and policy student trips are available.)
  • An in-person interview with the trip leader (in some cases)

Approaching on- and off-campus groups and individuals

Brainstorm with other team leaders and identify funding sources with interests that align with yours, taking into account any personal connections that you or anyone on your team has:

  • On-campus groups, university centers, and Dean of Students
  • Local nonprofits and community groups
  • Philanthropists and influential members of the Jewish community
  • Alumni of the college program

Be specific about how much you want and how the funds will be earmarked.

Always ask for a specific dollar amount but be prepared to negotiate. Make sure you understand whether funds are unrestricted (can be used for any part of the trip expenses) or restricted (can only be used towards particular expenses.)  Be sure to include contact information for the fiscal agent in the program overview so funders know where to send the funds.

Tips for working with funders

  • Research prospects and estimate a reasonable level of funding to request.
  • If you are having trouble securing unrestricted funds, try to isolate specific expenses that align with the funder’s goals and ask for a restricted gift (e.g., asking an alumni to sponsor and alumni event in Israel).
  • Put together a formal or informal proposal, depending on the funder’s process.
  • Be persistent. Send letters, call, send emails, and follow up emails.
  • Don’t forget to say thank you! A picture from the trek or handwritten letters from participants make for a nice thank-you gift.
  • View your funders as partners. They can make connections, suggest speakers/content, and add value to the itinerary. Chances are if they’re funding you, they’ve funded other trips in the past and have knowledge to share. Involve them early in the planning process and keep them apprised of major updates (both positive and negative). If something doesn’t go as planned in Israel, make sure your funders hear it from you first.