Intimidating. Laborious. Confusing. Embarrassing. Complicated. Futile. There are many descriptions we might use to describe the process of finding funding for a design education project. As designer educators, we can dream up all kinds of rewarding and ambitious projects for our students, and funding can make a significant difference in terms of output options, scale, number and types of collaborators, duration and visibility. The difficulty occurs when when these require funding that is insufficient or unavailable, making such projects seem untenable. In addition, even when you can identify promising funding sources, those might have a daunting application process, fierce competition or deadlines that are incompatible with project timeframes. How can you find the money to afford rewarding-but-costly design endeavors?
This workshop will address the pros and cons of different types of funding, strategies for getting funding, ways to facilitate repeat funding, and best practices for writing funding proposals for design education projects. During this two-hour workshop, we will cover:
• What are pros and cons of different funding sources?
• What are best practices for writing successful funding proposals?
• What are possible workarounds for reaching out to “untouchable” donors who are already designated to other campus units?
• What are good outreach, communication and research funding strategies?
• What are best practices for securing and sustaining funding from private donors?
• What are best practices for receiving continued or future funding?
• How can you use your design skills to your advantage?
If possible, participants should bring either in-progress project funding asks or ideas for a prospective project in need of funding. During the workshop we will brainstorm ways to frame these prospective proposals and workshop language on proposal drafts.
Workshop facilitator Audra Buck-Coleman has lead numerous on- and off-campus design education projects and frequently creates collaborative projects with campus units and outside organizations, including national and international venues and community stakeholders. These projects have required small to significant amounts of money. She has secured funding for them and her program through grants, non-profit organizations, foundations, on-campus resources, private donors and other sources. During this workshop, she will share lessons she has learned about finding and securing funding, both the successes and the shortcomings. Participants will come away with an enriched understanding of different funding options, ways to leverage existing funding, best practices and strategies for securing and encouraging funding, and feedback for crafting individual funding proposals.
I. Introductions (10 min.)
I. Pros and cons of different types of funding sources: (20 min.)
II. Strategies for securing and encouraging funding including outreach, research and communication (20 min.)
III. Individual proposal brainstorming and feedback (30 min.)
IV. Groups share of strategies and options (30 min.)
V. Takeaways and wrap-up (5-10 min.)
Associate Professor Audra Buck-Coleman, University of Maryland, College Park