SAA chapters around the country are involved with fundraisers. After all, money makes the world go ‘round, right? Seven years ago, the students at the University of Iowa (UI) decided to put their money where their mouths are and give back to the patrons of the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic. On October 26, 2019, the tradition continued as costumed students, family, and friends came out to volunteer for and run in the 7th Annual Haunted Hustle for Hearing. This is a 5k walk/run fundraiser that takes place every October, and all the funds raised go towards an SAA hearing aid fund that provides financial support to those needing to purchase hearing aids and other assistive listening devices that will improve their quality of life. Since the first race, the UI chapter has raised between $500-$4,000 annually to fund these patients. In other words, two to eight patients are given financial assistance each year. Over the past academic year, the chapter has helped fund devices for four patients ranging in age from 5 to 38 years old.
Of course, this is not just a giveaway, and there is some patient responsibility involved. UI follows this model for applications, and it’s certainly something that can be adapted and implemented in clinics everywhere:
- Patients interested in this source of funding submit a brief application including their family’s financial situation, history with hearing loss and/or hearing devices, as well as what devices they are seeking funding for and why.
- A fee reduction application to our clinic is also required as part of the application process. This is related to the clinic rather than SAA and helps cover the cost of services, not devices. If your clinic has this type of documentation, it can be of assistance to your organization if there is a great pool of applicants and you are making decisions based on financial need.
- Once the application is complete, it is submitted to the SAA President, where application approvals can be voted on at the next meeting. Patients generally know in about two weeks if their funding application has been approved or denied, which is typically before their next appointment at our clinic.
If you’re interested in creating a similar fund for your patients, here are some steps you can take:
- Contact your university’s student organization business office and ask about creating a separate fund for your organization aside from the general fund used for dues, merchandise, etc.
- Contact your in-house clinic director about the possibility of this type of funding to be used as payment in the clinic. If your clinic doesn’t have any fee reduction application process in place already, establish some sort of financial vetting process.
- Create the application and publicize its availability to the student clinicians so they can make their patients aware of this opportunity.
If a 5k isn’t your thing, take a look at these other fundraising ideas from the SAA. These, too, can be used to build your own SAA hearing aid fund.
Abigail is a third-year audiology student at the University of Iowa. She is serving as the SAA State Ambassador for Iowa for the first time this year in addition to being President of her local SAA chapter. Abigail enjoys public outreach and working with geriatric diagnostics and intervention.
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