Make your case! Top tips for digital leads.
It’s been a privilege over the years to meet and work with enthusiastic, passionate people who are trying to create digital transformations in their schools. These are change makers, equipping students across Aotearoa with the skills they need for a digital future.
A common question that arises, of course, is that of funding. Enthusiasm will get you far, but at a certain point it will become necessary to secure financial resources to continue the journey.
While each situation and funding request is unique, there are some approaches that can increase your chances of success. Here are a few ideas from those who have been there, done that!
Strong relationships provide support
A strong relationship with both the decision makers at your school and your teaching colleagues is an asset when it comes to seeking funds for any project. We’re not saying you should build relationships just for what you can get out of them, but with people on your side you will have more support in any pitches or funding requests.
Your peers can be advocates for your projects, adding their voices to the cause if they’re excited about the opportunity to upskill and provide more value to their students. Remember the Kotter change model, particularly the “create your coalition” step, and start reaching out to those who will be on board with your vision. Rogers’ diffusion of innovation theory is also relevant here. It’s likely that you’re amongst the early adopters—now you need to identify the other early adopters and innovators who will be willing to experiment, and the early majority who will build momentum.
Presenting two options will clarify needs and wants
When the time comes to present a proposal for funding, do it strategically. We suggest outlining one very simple proposal that would be a great start in your digital journey, then another one that’s your ideal “Rolls Royce” proposal. This will highlight the potential and possibilities (which they can keep in mind for future requests) as well as making them much more likely to say yes to your compact “Suzuki Swift” option at the least. It’s about providing clarity around both what you really need and where you’d like to go if possible.
Overcommunication keeps your project front of mind
It’s important to keep all stakeholders up to date with your ideas, the progress of your project, and your dreams for the future. In fact, we’d say you should OVER communicate—be a consistent voice in their ear!
While they may not pay attention to (or even read) every update, it will keep the journey visible. Out of sight, out of mind. You want your project to be on their minds so future funding requests will not feel without context or out of the blue.
At a school where our director Stephen previously taught, there was a committee of teachers that would review the funding requests each year and participate in the decision making. Maintaining relationships and keeping people informed would pay off in this situation! Even without a formal arrangement, it's valuable to have teachers on your side. Make sure everyone knows what you're trying to do, why you’re trying to do it, and how amazing it could be.
ICT leaders and change makers, we wish you all the best in your fund-hunting! If you’re looking for mentorship, workshops, and other guidance for your mahi in the sector, get in touch with Think e-Learning. We’d love to walk alongside you and equip you to bring digital technology to life in your school.