Magazine article Technology & Learning

Great Funding Ideas

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Great Funding Ideas

Article excerpt

Creative tips for raising multimedia funds for your school

Effective multimedia programs require two critical elements for success: a vision of the technology's role in your particular educational environment, and the funds to achieve that vision.

Addressing the first point, it's important to realize that no matter how "snazzy" the technology, its usefulness can be dereed only by its relevance to the education of students. It's not enough to promote technology for technology's sake; you must have specific goals in mind that clearly show how technology will further a particular educational mission.

That's not to say that your vision must be grandiose -- often, successful multimedia projects are limited in scope. But if you can articulate your vision to yourself and to others ahead of time, you are in the best position to show clearly defined results in the future.

The funding challenge Hand-in-hand with your educational vision, you must have the funds to achieve it. In this age of cash-strapped educational budgets, the funding question can be the most daunting hurdle you'll face. If you've outlined your project goals ahead of time, you'll be able to champion a specific proposal to others and increase your odds of good funding. But the real key to great funding is great creativity in drumnung up dollars.

Here are a few pointers:

* Before going to the community, remember that school districts have existing money that might be diverted toward multimedia. Many districts, for example, are tapping their existing technology and books budgets for multimedia funds.

* Perhaps the most powerful way to raise new money is through a bond issue. Bond issues frequently raise millions of dollars at a time, allowing districts to plan ambitious multimedia rollouts in their schools. And with multimedia making headlines in major national publications, schools already have a base of public curiosity to aid them when it comes time to raise community money.

* Another good source of substantial funding may be the many public groups, businesses and foundations that boost community relations through direct injections of funds into local school systems. Remember, many of the employees of these organizations have children who attend the very schools receiving money; it's in their vested interest to see to the success of their schools. In addition, such commonly funded programs as driver's ed and drug and alcohol abuse prevention can be channeled for multimedia delivery, allowing schools to gain the multimedia hardware as a by-product.

* Parents are another powerful source of support. The first step is to drum up large-scale interest; multimedia fairs and multimedia showcases at PTA meetings are a great way to start. Once parents are persuaded by the advantages of multimedia, they can provide both direct support and indirect support through such events as sponsored breakfasts and dinners, car washes, and the like. Alumni associations can also be a good source of funding.

* Students themselves can take an active role in fund raising. Walk-a-thons, candy sales, wreath sales and similar fund drives can be earmarked for multimedia. School organizations such as the student council and pep squad can organize drives of their own.

* Another innovative source of funds might be to use existing or planned computers as revenue producers. Existing computers can be tapped for the sale of word processing services by students; at night, keyboarding and computer lessons can be offered for adult education. What's more, these same adult education groups might directly co-fund planned multimedia computers, with the understanding that they could use them at night for new classes.

Finally, many companies have employee matching grant programs that can be tapped for multimedia funds; typically, these grant programs can greatly continued from previous page multiply the effective power of individual donations. …

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