Suggestions to Obtain Financial Support for Speaking Engagements
We take great pride in our talks. They are always well-received and should serve as a powerful catalyst for how your audience thinks, feels, and acts when it comes to cyberbullying, sexting, digital dating abuse, and other social media issues. Many organizations require funding to help underwrite these speaking engagements, and listed below are some ideas we’d like to share.
We can provide letters of support and guidance as you pursue these funding streams to support efforts to work with us. From our experience, the funding is there – it just takes diligence and determination to find it and land it. Let us know how we can assist you towards this end.
- Check with your school administration for support from the Associated Student Body fund, or a similar account that is generally used for such events. You may be able to use Title I funds for certain programs geared to students. For educator workshops and seminars, check into Title II (Staff Development) and Title IV (Safe and Drug Free Schools) funding for staff development.
- Plan to integrate and highlight the speaker into a major theme such as Kindness Week, Anti-Bullying Week, Internet Safety Week, or Conflict Resolution Week. Depending on your theme, federal, state, and local grant money might be available. For example, Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities sections within Departments of Education, as well as State Departments of Health are now providing funds for speakers to address youth use and abuse of the Internet and new communications technologies. Also try the Executive Office of Public Safety or a Criminal Justice or Social Work department may have funds for mentoring youth. Check with your school district or federal government office to find out who is dispensing these funds in your state.
- Apply for other grant monies from your state by contacting your State Department of Human Services and State Department of Education. They can direct you to the correct office — for example, the Educational Technology division. Contact other local agencies in your county that already have grant monies from state agencies. For example, the Criminal Justice Department or Department of Public Safety might have distributed funds into mental health agencies or programs for mentoring youth, etc.
- Visit the resource desk at your local library. Ask about directories which include grant information. An example is “The Action Guide to Government Grants, Loans and Giveaways,” by George Chelekis, The Putnam Publishing Group. Apply far in advance because it takes several months for a grant to come through.
- Contact your school’s PTO/PTA. Share your plans with them. They are more likely to contribute funds if your plan is well conceived and fleshed out. Also, find out when their monthly meeting is and be sure to get on their schedule to present the details about your event. You will likely discover that they are excited that you are bringing this to your community and hopefully happy to contribute/raise funds for it.
- Contact local business organizations, especially those related to youth and youth development: Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Lions Club, Elks, Jaycees, American Legion, Junior Leagues, United Way, Chamber of Commerce. Try to find a local member of each of these clubs and schedule a presentation at one of their weekly meetings. Most of these organizations are proactive in supporting the community. Allow them to have marketing materials present at your event in exchange for their sponsorship. Like with the PTO/PTA, be sure you have ready a clear presentation of why your program this is going to benefit kids, educators, parents and the community.
- Contact several of your larger local businesses, especially those related to Internet and cell phone technology, child safety, youth development, and adolescent health. Ask to speak with the owner, CEO, or Community Services Liaison. If they are willing to help sponsor the speaker, you can exchange the favor by announcing and publicizing their products or services to your colleagues, parents, and youth.
- Identify private foundations and private donors in the community. Cyberbullying and Internet safety issues garner much attention from the media and the general public, and are often viewed as top priorities to address when compared to other topics. Strongly consider creating a website that will showcase the businesses and individuals that are contributing to your event. Always mention them on all print and online materials. Create sponsorship levels related to visibility of advertisements and mentions. For example, a $5,000.00 Speaker Sponsor might have their logo featured on the back of all t-shirts or materials packets given to all attendees, and mentioned in newspaper, online, and radio interviews.
- Contact your local Sheriff’s Department – You will find they sometimes have funds to contribute and also appreciate being invited. You might feature their Cybercrime Unit as part of the event, which will also help get the word out to residents about what the community already has in place.
- Consider allowing vendor/exhibitor tables for local businesses and organizations that want to showcase their resources and services. Generally, no one is “selling” anything at these tables; rather, they are giving out free information, handouts, advice, and stuff (“swag”). Those interested might include banks, dance studios, daycares, children’s museums, etc. Perhaps charge $150+ a table. Those who attend will enjoy going from table to table before and after the event –
- Invite multiple clubs on campus to participate and help in a fund-raising project. A cooperative effort helps students collaborate and learn about the realities of time and effort in acquiring funding in the real world.
- If at all possible, share the speaker with another school on the same day. The fee and travel can then be split. Or, if two schools use consecutive days, at least the airfare can be divided equally. We can also work with you to create a tour in your state, where the speaker stays for several days and goes from school to school.
Below is a list of Foundations that provide support:
Let us know if you have had success with any of these, or any others we should include on this list!