I’ve had plans for some time to start a crowdfunding campaign. The idea showed up last year, when I wished we had funds to cover more pricey field trips so that all students who wanted to go could do so easily. Since we’re a private school, we don’t receive state funding and so are dependent on tuition from families to keep the school open. Keeping things thriving on such a lean budget isn’t too difficult with all the free resources in NYC and online…but it does mean our facilitators don’t have extra time to add “grant writing” to their kanbans. It also means we don’t have much of a budget to, for example, cover train fare upstate or help a student visit another ALC or buy multiple students’ tickets into the Frick Museum.
When this conversation first made it into an Assembly meeting last year, @geva suggested that we focus on raising “scholarship” funds. If we think in terms of all families not paying the full tuition possible on our sliding scale as receiving financial aid, the aid has so far been in negative terms…as a discount. One possible approach to fundraising would be to raise enough that the donations would cover the difference between what each family actually pays and the possible full tuition. This would be pretty great, since it would give the school more financial stability and access to more resources while also shifting our approach to financial aid from subtractive (a discount) to additive (a scholarship).
I’m present to the goal of raising enough to bump us from the-budget-we-have to the-budget-we’d-have-if-we-cared-less-about-accessibility-and-only-accepted-full-paying-families is a huge goal. I’m also painfully aware that we have a couple of families who are struggling to afford the base tuition amount and would appreciate a scholarship that translated into lower payments for them. These knowings have been on my mind for a while…but I’ve decided to put off worrying about how to most effectively disseminate a scholarship fund until we have established one. Which means…until I’ve build a fundraising page that people can and are using.
@tomis shared a fundraising plugin with the Fundraising Working Group from ALC-NYC a few weeks ago, but it seems like everyone in the community has been too busy to make moves since then. After a brief check-in with @drew and with @tomis about his test run of the plugin, I sat down today to play with it myself.
I decided to test the plugin by making a page from my personal account–attached to my blog instead of attached to the main nyc.agilelearningcenters.org website–and it took me about two hours of poking around. It was pretty easy…I think it’ll go much faster when I make the scholarship fund page, because I won’t have to spend so much time looking up programming definitions and color codes.
Please comment here if you have feedback (if it doesn’t require sophisticated coding skills, I’ll revise the page accordingly). And keep an eye out for the Scholarship Fund-Raising page…Coming soon!