Help SSA create new resources and tools for your group:
Project Grant Application
The Secular Student Alliance has a grant fund through which we can provide financial assistance to our affiliates' projects. Grant applications are reviewed by a committee of staff and members of our board of directors, and awards are determined to maximize your group's benefit from the project.
Typical grants from the Secular Student Alliance are amounts up to $250. Grants are intended for specific projects, rather than operational funding. We have awarded grants for groups to go on service trips, bring in speakers, providing capital for future fundraisers, charity auctions, renting tabling space at community events, rights for public movie screenings, large events and more. We welcome creative projects and unique funding requests! (However, as the Secular Student Alliance is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization, we cannot provide funding for projects that endorse a political party or candidate.)
Secular Student Alliance project grants are intended as a supplement to funding from your institution (university, college or school) and local fundraising efforts, or for situations where these funding sources may not be available. Your group should always investigate sources of institutional funding for its projects.
Please submit your application no less than 30 days before you need the money. We like to provide hands-on advice, not just the check - we would rather receive an incomplete request sooner than a complete one later, so we have more time to help you fill in the gaps and build your plans.
Are you filling out the right form? We get a lot of project grant applications for funding that should be done through the Speakers Bureau or Leadership Travel Aid. Usually those applications are much shorter and easier than this one, so don't waste your time here if it's not the right form. Not sure which funding type is right for your event? Use our Funding Finder.
There are some basic requirements for all grant applicants. Please review these requirements before submitting your application. If you do not meet one or more of these requirements, please tell us and we will be delighted to assist you.
- Your group must be an affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance.
- Your group must have a constitution, charter or bylaws.
- Unless you are at a parochial school, your group must have official recognition by your school.
- Your group must have a bank account in your group's name so that we can write the grant check to your group.
- If you are awarded a grant, you must acknowledge the Secular Student Alliance in all publicity about the project being funded, and submit a project grant report within 30 days of the event or the conclusion of the project.
- Unused Project Grant funds shall be returned to the Secular Student Alliance or, with specific permission, allocated to a new project. If your project is a fundraiser for your group or a charity, you must return any portion of the funding that isn't used for documentable expenses directly related to the project: Project Grant funds cannot be held in your group's cash reserves or passed along to the charity.
For additional funding beyond institutional sources and the Secular Student Alliance, we encourage students to apply for grants from national freethought organizations, local off-campus organizations, and supporters in your area. If you would like help getting access to any of these organizations, please let us know. We want to help you.
Please review our mission, vision and minimum standards of affiliation. The more in line with our mission and values a project is, the more likely we are to fund it.
Large Grant Guidelines
We do occasionally award grants up to $1,000 to groups with outstanding projects that meet the following criteria:
- The grant committee has determined that the proposed project can only reach its full potential with additional funding.
- Student group demonstrates exceptional planning for the event. (Examples include obtaining estimates for costs, drafting a publicity plan, etc.)
- Student group has previously held at least one event (or project) that was successful.
- Student group has sought other sources of funding regardless of whether they were received. Overall, the student group has made a reasonable attempt to minimize expenses.
- The Secular Student Alliance has a pre-existing relationship with the group.
- The grant committee reasonably anticipates the event, project, etc. will be successful.
- As a condition of being awarded the grant, the student group is required to submit a publishable event evaluation and/or resource for other student groups. (This could be a longer article, handout, activity packet, etc.)
Project grants can be used to help members of your group attend regional or national conferences and other freethought events. The following guidelines apply to requests for this kind of "travel" funding.
- Funding for event travel is limited to one such grant per group per academic year.
- The SSA will fund up to two students' expenses.
- Funding for each student's travel and lodging expenses will not exceed $125.
- Project Grants for event travel are not eligible to exceed the $250 typical grant amount.
- Project Grants are not intended for travel to Secular Student Alliance conferences or leadership summits, nor any national conference for which the SSA is administering travel grants. Travel grants for these programs are issued through a separate process. (Contact us if you have questions!)
We offer funding for student group-run conferences and conventions. To apply for such funding, please click here.
- This funding draws on both Project Grant funding and your group's annual Speakers Bureau event funding.
- at least one member of the SSA Speakers Bureau must be involved to obtain the funding.
- More funding is available to events that have more than one SSA affiliate involved. This is meant to encourage cooperation between geographically close affiliate groups.
The Secular Student Alliance requires that all grant recipients submit a written report to the Grant Committee. These reports must be submitted no later than a month after the date of the event, and should be written in a manner such that they may be published on our website. Your report must include the following information:
- Your group and school name
- A description of your project, including project dates.
- A 400-700 word summary of the event or project. This summary should include how the funds were allocated and the benefit of the project to your group. (High event attendance, increases in membership, increased visibility, awards, and other results are all things we want to hear about!)
- Copies of all fliers, advertisements, and other publicity with the Secular Student Alliance acknowledgment clearly visible.
- Pictures: although not required, providing pictures is strongly encouraged for publication along with your report.
Ask Us For Help!
We want to help you with your project. If you have questions or concerns about the application or grant process, please don't hesitate to contact us. If you need some direction as you put your grant application together, we encourage you to check out our Sample Grant Application.