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Securing Funding for STEAM Programmes: Top 5 Tips

STEAM education is essential for preparing our young people for the jobs of the future. Unfortunately, it can also be expensive and time-consuming to introduce STEAM learning into classrooms, especially for schools with limited resources. That's where external funding comes in.

STEM Alliance manager, Ying Yang, recently presented at the 2023 STEAM Education Summit in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, where she shared her insights on identifying and securing external funding to support the delivery of STEAM programmes in schools.

Ying's top tips for securing external funding for your STEAM programmes include:

1. Have a clear vision. Why are you doing this? What do you expect to achieve with your programme? How will you deliver it? Once you have a clear vision, you can start to develop a compelling proposal that will resonate with potential funders.

2. Get senior leadership support early on. Senior leaders can help you to develop a strong proposal and navigate the funding process. They can also help you advocate for your programme to the community.

3. Find a team to support you. Applying for funding can be a lot of work, so it's important to have a team of people who can help you. This can include senior leadership, fellow teachers, administration staff, whānau, and community and business contacts.

4. Leverage what you can to create long-term change. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your community. Businesses, organisations and individuals may be willing to donate money, materials and/or expertise to support your programme.

5. Understand your constraints. Before you start applying for funding, it's important to understand your constraints. This includes understanding your budget, your staffing levels and the needs of your students. Once you’ve got a handle on these, you can develop a proposal that is realistic, achievable and sustainable.

The 'why, how, what' framework can help you create a clear vision and pitch for funding

There are many different sources of funding available, and it pays to do some research into which grants or funds may be best suited to your needs. Once you have identified the right funding sources to apply for, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Start early. The funding process can take time, so it's important to start early. Give yourself plenty of time to develop your proposal, gather your supporting materials and submit your application.

  • Do your research. Not all funding opportunities are created equal. Some funders focus on specific types of programmes or regions. Some ask for detailed quotes or timelines. Take some time to research the fund and prepare an application that meets the funders' requirements.

  • Write a strong proposal. Your proposal should be clear, concise and well-written. Be sure to highlight your programme's goals, objectives and intended outcomes.

  • Don't waffle. Funders want to see that you have a clear plan and that you're confident in your ability to execute it. So avoid using vague language or making promises that you can't keep.

  • Be prepared to follow up. Once you submit your proposal, be prepared to follow up with the funder. This may involve answering questions or providing additional information.

And a bonus tip: Have fun! The funding process can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Enjoy the process of developing your proposal and sharing your story with potential funders. While securing external funding can be challenging, it's worth it. With careful planning and execution, you can secure the funding you need to support your STEAM programmes and give your students the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

Find out more:

Download Ying's full presentation (including a list of common STEAM-related funding sources in Aotearoa New Zealand), or contact the STEM Alliance team for more tailored advice for your STEAM programme.

Ying Yang - Education Summit slides final
Download PPTX • 11.75MB


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