Magazine article Technology & Learning

Eight Great Ways to Fund Multimedia

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Eight Great Ways to Fund Multimedia

Article excerpt

Funding your technology plans takes some imagination. Here is a sampling of the best educator-tested ideas to get you started.

Once you've made your plans and picked out the multimedia equipment you'd like to have for your school, you face the challenging task of finding a way to pay for everything. It's true that multimedia is becoming much more accessible to schools and that prices on all kinds of components are likely to drop as time goes by. But that investment in multimedia technology is still going to be a significant amount. Will your educational technology budget stretch to accommodate your plans?

The good news is that there are many ways to supplement your existing budget--to find, raise, or free up funds that you can channel into your multimedia project. Here are just a few suggestions:

1. "Traditional" Fundraising. Just because your annual school candy sale usually goes toward band uniforms doesn't mean it must. At one school near Buffalo, NY, spring candy sale proceeds are always earmarked for a particular school project. One year the chosen item was a Writing to Read lab for the kindergarten. The school's principal admits that she had to give quite a bit of thought to whether an all-school fundraising drive should go for a program that only the youngest grades would use. But in the end, the whole school benefited as the children from kindergarten and first grade moved on to become middle schoolers. Your multimedia project can likewise be an asset that will benefit class after class of kids for years to come.

If your computer club or class is too small to undertake a massive fundraising drive, try to enlist the help of the student council, pep squad, or other schoolwide organization. And don't forget that candy isn't the only fundraising tool available. Your community may be tired of perpetual candy sales and may respond better to another product such as cheese, fruit, popcorn, wrapping paper, seasonal items, or goods personalized with the school logo.

2. IBM K-12 Matching Grants. If any parents from your school work for IBM, there's a simple way to multiply your spending power and get more technology for the money. The company's Matching Grants program allows IBM employees, retirees, and spouses to contribute to the donation of PS/2 equipment and courseware to schools. The donor contributes 20 percent of the purchase price; IBM makes up the remaining 80 percent.

There are some guidelines to follow (the maximum an eligible donor can give per school per year is $5000, and while a group of eligible donors can pool their contributions, money gathered from regular fundraising efforts cannot be used), but the primary result is $5 of purchasing power for every dollar contributed. So far the program has been an overwhelming success; at the end of 1991, more than $2.1 million in employee contributions had been received, including funds for over 2,300 PS/2 computers, 780 printers, 750 courseware licenses, 40 Writing to Read labs, and more.

For information about the K-12 Matching Grants program, call 1 800 426-6771.

3. Other Grant Programs. IBM has other grant programs as well, including the Classroom Technology Centers grant program and local IBM community grant programs. (For information, write to Corporate Support Programs, IBM, Old Orchard Rd., Armonk, NY 10504.) And other companies besides IBM have employee matching grant programs. For example, Microsoft Corporation, publisher of the MS-DOS operating system, also has an employee donation matching grants program that accounts for about 60 percent of the company's cash giving. …

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