Exploring beyond scholarships and tuition awards.
We’ve already told you about our Needs-Based Scholarships and our Merit-Based Tuition Awards worth up to $1000, but today we are talking about how to get additional funding for your Quarter Zero experience. We are highlighting two main routes: personal crowdfunding and local scholarships.
Crowd Funding Options for Quarter Zero
Finding the Right Platform
The idea of crowdfunding is popular in the startup world, but many people don’t consider it for personal ambitions. There are various platforms out there that you can consider depending on how much you are trying to raise & what your situation is. Some good places to start looking:
Questions to ask yourself when picking a platform:
- Is this platform mainly for developing products or reaching personal goals?
- What types of fees are involved? There may be both platform fees and credit card processing fees.
- Are there parameters around when and how you can receive the money? Some websites are goal-oriented and are designed to be all-or-nothing models.
- What is the most user-friendly option for your community?
- Is there a certain platform that is already familiar for your community?
Focus on storytelling to get someone to join you in your journey!
Storytelling is one of our main pillars at Quarter Zero. The way that you communicate your goal is going to make a difference in how your story resonates in people’s hearts. Here’s how you can get people to “join you on your journey”:
Give them background:
Don’t frame this as just a fundraising opportunity for “yet another summer program.” Explain your overarching entrepreneurial ambitions and how Quarter Zero offers real-world experience you can’t get elsewhere.
Explain what you will be doing:
Focus on explaining what you are going to be learning, doing, and experiencing. Tell them the hard work you have done to get accepted and the amount you will pour yourself into your future venture. If you are attending the Catapult Incubator, highlight your role (Founder or Free Agent)!
Paint a picture of your future for them and invite them to join you:
What do you want to do after your QØ experience? Tell them how you will be joining a cohort of strong young entrepreneurs. Explain how QØ alumni have raised over $3million and counting and how 70% go on to explore a new startup idea. Point to them other stories of incredible QØ alums to let them see what your own potential is. Help them see your future dreams of growing your existing business or launching your own startup.
Take advantage of your age and your unique ambitions:
In case you haven’t realized, young entrepreneurs are not common! You will be surprised at how many people will admire how early you are diving into the world of business & entrepreneurship in such a tangible way. Invoke a little inspiration in adults who are far older than you who wish they had an opportunity like this in their youth.
Give it personal flair:
This campaign is ultimately about your journey, not anyone else's. Let your personality shine through and include photos or videos that will help bridge a personal connection.
Fundraising Far & Wide
Once your campaign is ready, the next part is sharing your story to potential funders!
Don’t be afraid to ask:
The worst someone can say is “no.” It may seem scary, but you’ll never get a “yes” if you don’t try.
Don’t be afraid to fail!:
Another one of our pillars at QØ is “failing fast.” The more you ask, the more you will learn what resonates and what doesn’t. Every time someone says no, take a note of what you could have said or written differently.
Don’t be afraid to step beyond your immediate circle of friends & family:
Ask your own friends and family to share your page as much as possible on social media. If someone can’t contribute, you can always ask them to share the page instead to see if anyone in their network might be interested. Ask them to include a personal note of why you are deserving of support to help emphasize the cause.
Use resources that have already been created:
Most crowdfunding platforms will have a resource center with recommendations and statistics of how to create a successful crowdfunding campaign. Take the time to read their tips and incorporate it into your plan.
Think through the best medium for your community:
There are many different routes you can take to spread the word of your campaign. Email might be best for working professionals, direct messages or texts may be best for friends you know personally, and social media may be best for branching beyond your immediate circle. This may be extremely different for each person, so take the time to evaluate your own network and what makes the most sense.
Local Scholarship Funding Options for Quarter Zero
Beyond crowdfunding within your personal network (and beyond), don’t forget that there are plenty of local scholarships available. Most people think scholarships are only available for college tuition, but there are many local foundations or nonprofits (neighborhood, city, or state) that are willing to fund incredible summer enrichment opportunities.
Start your search at the local level:
One of our biggest recommendations here is to begin your search early! Many foundations are on a pre-planned schedule with application deadlines. Make sure to do your research and submit your application in time.
It may make sense to start your search at a local level and see what is available nearby that you weren't aware of. While there are many nation-wide foundations and nonprofits that are well-known, these may have long application timelines or thousands of applicants competing for a few scholarships.
Key words will especially help to find scholarships which can be applied to 3rd party organizations like Quarter Zero. Try a few different combinations with these variables:
- High school
- "summer enrichment"
- "special activities"
- "educational program"
- "out-of-school programs"
- Key Words:
To help you get started, below is a list of various local scholarships that focus on summer enrichment opportunities.
Local Scholarship Recommendations
This information and links are valid as of February 2018. Please pay attention to any deadlines and changes.
Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) – Student Enrichment Scholarship
If you live in Arizona, the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) is picking 40 students per year to fund up to $200 for enrichment activities. Note: The deadline is April 15, 2018 for applications.
Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation (Chicago Area) - Educational Enrichment Grants
There are a variety of grants available to students participating in enrichment programs during the summer. While each grant has different criteria, many are available to residents of Chicago, IL.
Ohio Association for Gifted Children – 2018 Student Scholarship
Each year the Ohio Association for Gifted Children offers scholarships to K-12 Ohio students for special activities that extend their special talent/interest areas. Note: The deadline is February 15, 2018 for applications.
Support for Talented Students (Central Ohio) – 2018 Scholarships
Support for Talented Students provides scholarships for gifted and talented Central Ohio students currently in grades up to 11th grade whose families could not otherwise afford the costs. These scholarships are specifically for summer enrichment programs. Note: The deadline is March 9, 2018 for applications.
Tennessee Association for the Gifted – Educational Programs Scholarships
The Tennessee Association for the Gifted (TAG) offers scholarships to Tennessee’s gifted students for educational programs that provide enrichment, acceleration, or independent study. Scholarships are available up to $200. Note: The deadline is March 31, 2018 for applications.
Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented – Summer Enrichment Scholarships
The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented offers summer enrichment scholarships for gifted students grades K- 12. The maximum summer scholarship award is $400 and can be used for academic, fine arts, or performing arts programs. Note: The deadline is February 23, 2018 for applications.
Wisconsin Association for the Gifted and Talented – Out-of-School Enrichment Scholarships
The Wisconsin Association for the Gifted and Talented provides out-of-school enrichment scholarships for students in K-12. Note: The deadline is April 1, 2018 for applications.
While a bit more formal, the tips of how to write a successful scholarship application are largely the same as the themes we highlighted above on how to write your crowdfunding story. Keep in mind that there is a human on the other end of the application and you want your story to resonate in their hearts as well. Let your passion come through and get them to see the same vision for your future.
Now that you have a good starter guide to additional funding, get cracking..and good luck!