SmartMusic Funding Options
April 20, 2015 | by Giovanna Cruz
Educators who are most successful in using SmartMusic with all their students typically share one thing in common: They buy SmartMusic for their kids. This approach ensures 100% implementation, and with all students using it regularly, SmartMusic becomes part of “how they do” band, orchestra or choir.
Perhaps you’re already convinced that SmartMusic would truly benefit your students, but don’t know where the money will come from. Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?
- Your school/music program has a large percentage of students on free or reduced lunch, therefore they can’t afford the cost of the yearly subscription
- You think it will be hard to sell the idea of a yearly subscription to parents/administrators
- You are reluctant to ask parents to pay
- The school/music program does not have the funding to pay for an annual subscription fee
If you see your situation reflected on any of the statements above, I hope you see some potential solutions in one or more of the following SmartMusic funding options.
Option 1: Built-in Fees
The easiest solution is when parents can pay for the $40 yearly student home subscription. Some programs already have “fees” they charge at the beginning of the school year to cover program expenses that are otherwise not covered by the district/school budget. In these cases, the $40 subscription could be built into that fee.
Option 2: District and School Funds
Many schools and/or districts have technology departments for which funds may be available. Check with your local technology department and consider becoming a member of the technology committee to have a voice on what is purchased by your school/district.
Option 3: Fundraising
If fundraising is allowed at your school, this is another way to raise money to fund your purchase of SmartMusic subscriptions. There are multiple ways to fundraise which include traditional door-to-door sales of anything from candy to magazine subscriptions, to online fundraising including crowd-funding and donations.
MakeMusic, Inc. has partnered with CafeGive to provide teachers with an online fundraising platform that can be personalized. The platform comes with a website that allows the music program to raise funds towards the purchase of SmartMusic. Teachers and students can then leverage their social media contacts and the community to donate money online towards their cause. At the end of the fundraising period, CafeGive cuts a check to the school. Any money exceeding the original goal is kept by the music program. Learn more from this CafeGive page.
Option 4: Title I Grants
If you teach in a school where a large number of students are on free or reduced lunch, your school may qualify for Title I grants. You may want to check with your school administration to see if any of those funds could be available for purchasing technology for those students, or for school-wide programs that would benefit your music students. The Department of Education offers additional information on this page.
Option 5: Other Grants
Another option is to write a grant. There are multiple local, state and federal agencies as well as private foundations that have money available for educational grants. One initiative at the federal level that comes to mind is the President’s ConnectED initiative, unveiled in 2013, which “will provide high-speed Internet to every school in America, and will help to make affordable computers, tablets, software, and other digital resources widely available.” The 2016 fiscal year proposal includes a request of $200 million dollars for Educational Technology State Grants program that would “fund State subgrants to model districts to support teachers and leaders in using technology to improve instruction and personalize learning.” Learn more at http://tech.ed.gov/eett and/or download this letter to help you understand how to use federal grant funds that are part of the ConnectED initiative.
Option 6: Awards
Here’s an example of another type of possibility you might find through a web search: “GRAMMY Signature School awards are given to high school music programs that are keeping music programs alive and well despite budgets and school politics.” In this case, these cash prizes can be as much as $10,000 per school, and to date approximately $800,000 in grants has been distributed to approximately 421 schools in almost all 50 states. Find additional information at GRAMMY Signature Schools.
I hope this list inspires you to explore some of the many options available.
Ready to get started with SmartMusic? Contact us for a free trial.