5 Ways to Find Funding for Leadership Development

Leadership development is an integral part of improving your skills, talents and strengths to become the best leader you can be. There are plenty of great leadership development opportunities in Central Indiana, such as United Way’s own Leadership United. But how do you find funding for your leadership development?


Here are 5 ways to find funding for leadership development, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.



Look to your employer

Many employers now budget for professional development of their employees. Meet with one of your team members in HR to learn about your company’s policy. If you do have a budget for development, ask if there is an application process and what steps you have to take to ask for the funding. It may be helpful to write a letter to your boss and/or HR team describing the program, how it will benefit you and what it will help you achieve in the workplace. The program you’re applying for might even have some sample letters you can work off of to make it an easier process.



Start a (digital) fundraiser

Luckily you don’t have to go door-to-door anymore to facilitate a fundraiser. With a plethora of simple to use online fundraising tools, like GoFundMe and Facebook Fundraising, you can run a completely digital fundraiser to help you secure the funds for your leadership development. All it takes is a little bit of set up time, then you can begin sharing with friends, family and colleagues.


How to make your digital fundraiser successful

  • Share your story! The better people understand the reason for your fundraiser, the more likely they are to give.
  • Include important information about the program: What will you get out of this program? How will it affect your future and improve your career?
  • Make personal asks. Don’t just rely on throwing it up on social media and expect it to work. Make personal calls, send out emails and share on social.



Consider your board

Are you a board member? Lots of organizations have funding available for board development. Make the case to why it’s an important program and how it will make you a better board member. Strong leadership is a must for any board to be successful, so it’s more than likely that your organization will support your endeavor if leadership funding is in their budget.



Ask for a sponsor

Whether you ask for the full funding amount or a portion of it, asking people to sponsor you can help you find funding for leadership development. Think about people who have been your biggest cheerleaders and supporters: friends, family, a mentor or a teacher perhaps. Invite them to coffee or lunch to discuss a potential opportunity you’ve been presented with. Have an open dialogue with them about what the program is and how it will help you progress, plus why you’re in need of help with funding.



Research grant options

Did you know there are grants available to fund leadership development? It’s true! Although not a common type of grant, there are leadership development grants available for a wide variety of people and programs. Take some time to research grant options and apply to what you qualify for. Leadership development grants vary widely, so search for a variety of terms.


Leadership grant terms to search 

When doing your research on available leadership development grants, use the search term “leadership (or professional) development grants” plus the following:

  • Your alma mater
  • Personal information, such as age, race, ethnicity, gender etc.
  • Location
  • Sector (nonprofit, tech, healthcare etc.)


Good luck on your journey to securing funding for leadership development! It’s important that community members continue to strive towards becoming community leaders to find new ways to solve age old problems. By partnering with strong leaders, United Way of Central Indiana can continue to fight for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of every person in our community.


If you’re interested in leadership development, consider applying to United Way’s Leadership United program. Learn from experts in the field of leadership and board development and add an impressive 75 hours of leadership and board development training to your resume.



Apply for Leadership United