by Marsha Rakestraw
Many a great changemaking idea has been stifled by the challenge of finding funding.
In the past, options were limited and often a bit complicated.
But with the exponential growth of our digital world, it’s becoming a bit easier to gain traction in financing smaller projects.
Here are three sources to help you fund a humane education project.
While grants are a traditional means of funding projects, the types of grants available are becoming more unique and focused, offering the creative changemaker more opportunities.
One noteworthy source is The Pollination Project. Several of IHE’s students and graduates have each won $1,000 in seed money to help fund their projects, and it’s a bonus that the program has a comprehensive focus, seeking projects that help people, animals and the planet.
More and more changemaking organizations are looking for projects to fund. For example, organizations like Ashoka Changemakers work with a variety of partners to offer funding opportunities.
You can also find grants that target specific categories of changemakers, from classroom teachers, to social entrepreneurs, to citizens working on a particular global issue, to artists, writers and filmmakers passionate about a cause.
Finding these kinds of grants for individuals can be a bit trickier, but web searches often reveal opportunities.
You can also acquire printed directories of grants for individuals, many of which are available at public libraries. Need help with where to start? Try resources such as the Foundation Center and its daily e-blasts that you can customize to your area of interest.
More people — everyone from activists to artists to entrepreneurs — are turning directly to citizens to fund projects and ideas, and are having great success.
Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are more popular than ever. Even scientists, such as this chemist who successfully crowdfunded his air-quality research on coal trains, are turning to the public to fund research.
IHE M.Ed. graduate Christopher Greenslate successfully crowdfunded a trip to Uganda to work with youth.
Ali Berman of HEART crowdfunded a donation to the organization she so proudly serves.
Author and artist Innosanto Nagara crowdfunded a social justice-themed ABC children’s book.
There are hundreds of crowdfunding platforms. Whether you’re a classroom teacher or inspired citizen, you have plenty of options.
Although there are quite a few grants and other funding opportunities for individuals, the majority of financing options are targeted to organizations. So, if you’re an individual with a great project idea, what do you do?
One option is to build a coalition with one or more like-minded organizations. They serve as the umbrella for your project, providing the nonprofit status, legal support and infrastructure, and you provide the amazing changemaking project that will add to their credibility and give them something new to share with their supporters.
Proposing this kind of relationship requires a great deal of organization and preparation, though, so it’s essential to be able to follow through.
Whatever your funding needs, remember that you’re not alone.
You’ll find numerous resources online about funding, and more people are reaching out through social media platforms to their friends and family for ideas, support and contacts.
To get the funding you need, it’s essential that you have a well-crafted plan. But it’s also just as important to bring your creativity and perseverance.
Are you ready to bring your changemaking project to the world?