TL Advisor Blog

5 ideas for helping students fund their dreams

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June 19, 2012 By: Lisa Nielsen

Jun 19

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6/19/2012 3:53 PM  RssIcon

There is perhaps nothing more important in the work of a teacher than to help students achieve real-world success. Unfortunately, many public school teachers' hands are tied because mandates give students no choice and they are forced to sentence their students to days filled with drill, kill, and bubble fill under fluorescent lights and behind closed doors where they're denied such basic freedoms.  Fortunately, by June, much of test prep, test, and field tests are behind them and teachers can help prepare their students for some meaningful learning as they escape into the summer months.  

Blake Boles who coordinates teen adventure trips has some great advice for teens who are interested in funding their dreams.  Doing this is perhaps one of the best ways to teach students math (business, finance), writing, communications, digital literacy, entrepreneurship, social literacy, independence, and empowerment. 

Boles recommends teens use IndieGoGo, which lets anyone start a project. Over the past year he's used IndieGoGo to raise $2,370 to build the Zero Tuition College social network and $9,200 to publish his new book, Better Than College.


He provides five ideas for teens who want to fund their dreams. 

  1. Milk your age.
    When crowdfunding, youth works to your advantage in two ways. First, it implies that you’re broke. Unlike a 25-year-old who’s had a fighting chance to earn money, you’re a poor impoverished 16-year-old who deserves a little help toward that big trip/project.
  2. Match efforts.
    Don’t rely only on your crowdfunding campaign to provide the funds you need. Get a part-time job, sell your art or services, mow lawns…just dosomething that shows that you’re working hard for this goal and not relying entirely upon other people to make it happen. Be sure to mention these efforts on your campaign page.
  3. Emphasize learning.
    No matter what your project/goal is, think of it as a learning experience—which it surely will be. On your campaign page, emphasize that donors will be contributing to your education, whether it’s a cultural education, entrepreneurial education, creative education, or all of the above. Adults love supporting an enthusiastic, self-directed young person’s education.
  4. Tap communities in which you or your parents are involved.
    There’s a giant online community out there that’s ready to help promote and contribute to your campaign. I’m hugely indebted to communities in which I'm involved for my own fundraising successes. Get in touch with a few community organizers to start—they’re often well-connected and willing to help you get the word out.
  5. Get an editor… or three.
    Please, please, please don’t just write up a first-draft project description and then launch it. Have a different set of eyes read your page (and your perks, and your personal bio) and give you constructive feedback. Do this two or three times. Really. Ask these friends/family/mentors/grammar-nazis to help you craft a compelling, compact, and typo-free proposal. (This advice isn’t teen-specific, by the way. I still recruit multiple editors for my fundraising campaigns and other important writing pieces.)
For more information from Blake visit his article here where you'll find more ideas about how to raise money for your travels, projects, and education. 

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

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