Fundraising Tips for #HIV2020

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While the HIV2020 co-organizers are working hard on fundraising for the community scholarships fund, we recommend that people who wish to attend think about fundraising for the costs they need to attend the conference. HIV2020 cannot provide a scholarship for every attendee, but we encourage people to creatively and collectively fundraise to ensure they can participe.

Below are some tips and strategies on how to fundraise for your participation at HIV2020.

Calculate your budget

It is important to know exactly how much you need to raise in order to attend the conference before making your ask to funders or starting your own fundraising campaign. It could be helpful to create an itemized list of your expenses for yourself and to present to potential funders, if they ask. Consider a variety of costs which may come up, including:

  • Airfare

  • Visa costs

  • Travel insurance

  • Conference registration fees

  • Accommodation (include an extra day on either end for recovery if you are coming from far away)

  • Local travel to and from the airport and conference venue

  • A daily budget for food, in addition to what is provided by the conference

  • Costs of creating/printing materials you want to bring and share at the conference

  • Incidentals to cover expenses during flight layovers, WiFi access if needed, and anything else which will make you more comfortable throughout your trip.

When calculating your costs, factor in what you can contribute yourself, if anything. It can be compelling to donors to state what you can take of on your own, as well as what you need help with.

Reach out to your current network

Fundraising is always more effective with people you know. Check in with your current donors or those who have supported your work in the past, friends & family, and others who you believe may be sympathetic to your ask. If you are fundraising for a group or organization, include your conference expenses in your next funding proposal.

One effective way to fundraise through your network is through an online crowdfunding campaign, such as gofundme, indiegogo, plumfund, or kickstarter. You can also start a donation page for a personal cause on Facebook. Be sure to check the fees associated with each platform before starting your campaign.

Make sure to do all of this in advance, as early as possible. This not only ensures you can meet all your fundraising goals in time but gives you more time to seek other donors if necessary.

Seek out new funders

If you are unable to find support from your current network, consider reaching out to potential new donors. Here are some recommendations on where to look:

  • Alphawood Foundation

  • AIDS funding collaborative

  • AIDS United

  • Amplify Change

  • American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)

  • Comic Relief

  • Conrad N Hilton Foundation

  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Elizabeth Taylor Foundation

  • Elton John AIDS Foundation

  • Firelight Foundation

  • Ford Foundation

  • Foundation for a Just Society

  • Funders Concerned About AIDS

  • Global Fund for Women

  • Hivos

  • Kaiser Family Foundation

  • Levi Strauss Foundation

  • Mama Cash

  • Open Society Foundation

  • Red Umbrella Fund

  • Rockefeller Foundation

  • San Francisco AIDS Foundation

  • Sidaction

  • Southern HIV Impact Fund

  • Third Wave Fund


  • UNDP



  • Until There’s a Cure

  • ViiV Healthcare Positive Action

  • Women’s Fund Asia

If you are a student, your university or department may also have funding available for you to attend conferences relevant to your studies. Check in with your academic advisor, department head, or someone else who may know if such funding is available.

Grant funding process can take many months. We recommend starting as soon as possible!

Additionally, you could consider hosting a fundraising event, especially if you are raising money for a group of people. Some event ideas include:

  • Benefit concert and dinners

  • Bake or craft sale

  • Dance party/ “Fundrager”

  • Game night/tournament

  • Reaching out to other social justice and community groups to do joint fundraising

Developing a compelling ask

No matter who you ask, it is important to clearly express why it is important for you to attend HIV2020 in a unique and persuasive way. Fundraising is all about storytelling, and the best way to ensure you present the best case possible is to present a compelling story about yourself or your work. Make sure to keep it short and to the point, keeping in mind that donors are likely to be hearing other pitches as well and will not have time to read or listen to a long ask. Always end your pitch with a specific money amount, i.e. “thank you for listening, will you consider sponsoring my attendance at HIV2020 with $300?”

For some simple tips on developing a compelling fundraising ask, check out this 2015 article from Nonprofit Hub Magazine.

To describe HIV2020 to your potential donors, consider taking language directly from the conference website or from the Key Populations Talking Points document.

For more information, contact us at

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