Basic Endowment Proposal Development

Developed by Jim Hanson and Abby St. Lawrence for the CEDA Cost Committee

Updated June 20, 2005 and July 27, 2013

Your input and comments are much appreciated. Write to

Develop an Endowment. An endowment will provide a stable source of funding for a speech and debate program at your college.


A. Identify how much money you need. Be thinking about developing an endowment that can fund your program completely. It should generate twice what your budget needs are for each year so that the excess goes back into the budget; etc.

B. Identify the concept and theme behind the endowment. Is it related to rhetoric, philosophy, communication, politics, or . . . ? Consider links with different people from these different areas. Is it focused primarily on debate travel, technology like computers, scholarships, or . . . ?

C. Identify the people you want to contact and involve. Develop a list of former team participants, majors in your department, people in related departments, etc. Look into their wealth, philanthropy, etc. (though, don’t be intrusive; just find out about public information, etc.).

D. Establish the geographic parameters of the project. Consider where you want to concentrate your efforts. Consider where alumni from your school/program live. Consider where you can do activities, presentations, etc.


A. Consider how your endowment fits in with your school’s long term plans. Does your department or division have a long-term plan? How does and how can your program's plan fit into that long-term plan?

B. Consider what resources your school has. Does your organization have essential support systems for the project? Find out what programs are available. Identify what kind of outreach your school has for developing an endowment. How much help can you get to develop this fund raising effort. Will the school pay for phone calls? What kind of letter writing campaigns can you develop?

C. Consider Alumni and Team Resources. Do you have a student assistant that can help? Can you get alumni to help with the fund raising efforts?


A. Gather necessary data for the Endowment Proposal.

B. Select a Funding Source (Refer to institution's development office and/or funding resource books in library and on the Internet)

C. Integrate your proposal with other campus efforts. Are there are any other organizations on campus that work on the same issues? Will your effort conflict with other endowment efforts? Is the need a top priority in your institution’s strategic plan? Overall, be thinking about how your project integrates into your school's overall plan.

D. Plan the Proposal

1. Title page with name of project

2. Abstract of intention of project and means to reach that intention

3. Purpose of project

4. State the specific needs the project addresses. Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Consider listing the following: scholarships, funding for travel, funding for technology, funding for furniture, building, etc., funding for a permanent position. Justify these needs. Explain why each of these needs is justified and be ready to defend forensics generally. Is the need especially important to the groups and/or organizations whose support and/or involvement is critical? Be thinking about how your program and fund raising efforts help people. State what benefit will they get out of it.

5. Procedures (steps of project)

6. Evaluation (how will you evaluate the project after it's over)

7. Dissemination (how will the project be publicized, if necessary)

8. Qualifications (why should you get the grant)

9. Budget (specific budget breakdown)

E. Submit the Proposal to appropriate agency


A. Build support and involvement within your institution. Talk with your alumni office. Talk with others who are developing similar and perhaps competing projects; etc.

B. What constraints and/or difficulties should be anticipated? Start thinking about problems: time needed; costs in reaching out; groups looking for the same kind of investment; etc.

C. Fulfill the proposal. Work toward achieving the goals of the proposal; etc. this needs development.


1. Hall, Mary. Getting Funded: A complete Guide to Proposal Writing. 1977. Portland: Continuing Education Publication.

To order, contact: Continuing Education Publications, Portland State University, P.O. Box 1491, Portland, OR 97207; (503) 464-4891.

2. Rowland, A. Westley, ed. Handbook of Institutional Advancement. 1978. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

To order, contact: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 433 California Street, San Francisco, CA  94104.

3. White, Virginia, ed. Grant Proposals that Succeed. 1983. New York: Plenum Press.

To order, contact: Plenum Publishing Corp., 233 Spring St., New York, NY 10013.

Additional Resources

          On your own campus, contact the college relations office, research department, and/or development office in order to make connections for future reference in promotion, school committee contacts, and grant availability.

          Also, contact CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) for help in developing public relations, finding and writing grants, and learning the "ins and outs" of the intra-institutional financial network. In order to get in touch with CASE, write them at: Suite 400, 11 Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036-1261; or phone them at (202) 328-5980.