SmartMusic Funding Options

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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.

Websites such as www.donorschoose.org  and www.gofundme.com  can help you raise the necessary funds to bring SmartMusic to all your students.

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.

If you need some guidance in writing a grant proposal, these pages from the Minnesota Council of Foundations and Learner Associates are just two of the many sites that walk you through the process.

Other sources of grants available can be found in many places on-line including these pages from technologygrantnews.com, Calcasieu Parish Public Schools, grantgopher.com, and weareteachers.com.

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.

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