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5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Fundraising

Posted by Amielle Major on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

AH0A6489RAW_1Before you start raising funds to implement a new or existing STEM program in your district or school, you'll need to identify your needs, priorities, and goals. To help make this process easier, we're here to help! The planning questions below will help you focus and organize your efforts.

What is your goal?

Every successful fundraising endeavor begins with a clear and direct goal. Lay out realistic goals and aim for measurable results. To create an achievable goal, first outline your school or district’s needs and priorities:

  • Do you have a high population of English Learners and you need a program with proven success of engaging all learners?
  • Did your state recently implement NGSS and you need to meet those standards with a robust engineering curriculum that fits into your existing structure?
  • Do you need professional development that will improve educators’ knowledge of engineering/STEM and empower them to teach it?
Over the years, we’ve learned it’s helpful if a district starts with a small cohort (a school, one unit across a grade level etc.) then looks to expand to every grade/the entire school over subsequent years. Before ever setting a monetary goal, answer these questions and have a clear idea of how the program will help you address your needs. Having a clear purpose and solid objectives underpinning your fundraising efforts will enable you to share a richer and more effective vision with potential funding partners.

How will you measure success?

Before you begin the application process, determine how you will measure success. How will you know that the new curriculum you implemented made a difference? Higher student test scores? An improvement in post-implementation vs. pre-implementation assessments? Throughout the fundraising process, be prepared to describe the assessment tools you’ll use.

What do you need to accomplish your goal?

Money, people, time, equipment, supplies...these are all resources that you can leverage to accomplish your goal. Don't forget to consider local businesses, which may have resources to offer. Identifying potential resources available to you (and what your fundraising efforts will require) can help you develop a plan that is measured and achievable. 

Should you hire a grant writer?

If you plan to apply for grants, you'll want a strong and efficient writer. Before you begin this process, it’s helpful to identify whether you should hire a grant writer. There are a few factors that can affect this decision:

  • Do you have a great writer within your community willing (and able) to dedicate time to your grant applications?
  • How many grants will you apply to?
  • What’s the cost of hiring a grant writer?
  • Are there grant writers with previous experience in writing for educational purposes?
Remember even if you do hire an external grant writer, you’ll want someone to work with the grant writer to make sure the writer has the information they need to write an effective grant application.

How much do you need for successful implementation?

Having as accurate an idea as possible of how much you will need to raise will help you focus your efforts. Research what the program needs for successful implementation. There should be information available online. For example, our budget calculator can help you calculate how much you need to buy EiE curriculum, and our professional development page lists our various workshops that we conduct locally (in Boston) or upon request in your home city with one of our approved facilitators.

Throughout your fundraising journey, you'll want to ask and answer many more questions. We've seen time and time again the better you plan, the smoother the process will be. These questions are a good starting point, and we'll be sharing more resources to help with fundraising over the next few months because securing funds to implement high-quality STEM programs should be the least of your worries. Questions about how to raise funds to implement EiE curriculum? Ask us! We want to help! 

Written by Amielle Major

Topics: Implementing EiE, Funding

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