Leah Sheldon shares tips for going beyond bake sales to build a sustainable fundraising model that can support a vibrant music program.
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03:28 What does the fundraising landscape look like these days?
04:00 Traditional fundraising: Sales and Raffles
06:00: How to choose the right time and the right things to sell
08:10 Challenges of sales-based fundraising
10:30 Build a strong team of parent volunteers
11:37 Passive Income Fundraising Sources: online donations/crowd-sourcing/project funding
14:30 Know the policies of your school for fundraising, handling money, and restrictions on uses of various accounts
16:37 Getting creative on fundraising: Sponsorship ideas
19:45 It doesn't hurt to ask -- you never know who's just waiting to help out.
20:45 Sponsoring Students: "Make it possible for a student to join band"
21:30 Creative raffles: parking space raffle, seating raffles, "band on demand" raffle
23:45: Shoe drives
25:15 Grants: What they are, where to look for them, how to get them
27:30 Finding a match between the granting organization and your program
29:00 How to work with your administration on funding
31:30 Covid Relief Funding: CARES & ESSER
35:11 Last thoughts: Build a core group of parent volunteers, know your school policies, send thank you notes. And, above all else, don't do nothing: even if it's one little thing, your students and families will see your own investment in the program and it will be reflected in their attitudes.
0:00:21.6 Gregory Ristow: Welcome to Notes from the Staff, a podcast from the creators of uTheory, where we dive into conversations about music theory, ear training, and music technology with members of the uTheory staff and thought leaders from the world of music education.
0:00:37.0 Leah Sheldon: Hi, I'm Leah Sheldon, Head of Teacher Engagement for uTheory.
0:00:40.7 GR: And I'm Greg Ristow, founder of uTheory and Associate Professor of Conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory.
0:00:46.9 LS: Before we begin, we want to thank our listeners for your feedback and episode ideas. We love hearing your thoughts. Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
0:00:55.9 GR: Our topic today is Funding Your Classroom. And we're again turning the tables. I'll be interviewing my co-host, Leah Sheldon. Leah is Head of Teacher Engagement for uTheory and an experienced public school music educator, having served as a middle school and high school band director, assistant marching band director, and kindergarten through fourth grade elementary music teacher. A recipient of the Teacher of the Month Award through Partners in Education, Leah is passionate about helping teachers meet the needs of today's learners. Leah, thanks for joining us.
0:01:27.6 LS: Thanks for interviewing me.
0:01:29.2 GR: So Leah, for our listeners who may not know you in this context, how is it that you have wound up having so much experience in this area of fundraising and funding a classroom?
0:01:39.9 LS: Well, when I taught, I taught in a wonderfully supportive district. The administration and the community were both very supportive of music programs and arts programs in general. I was very, very lucky in that sense. But the district as a whole did not have the means to create an appropriate budget that is required by an instrumental music program, or even a choral or elementary program, for that matter. It was very fairly allocated across the district, but it just didn't leave me with enough to, say, purchase or maintain instruments. And we had a large percentage of each class in the programs, so we're talking about a lot of students, a lot of kids. So I just often had to turn to outside sources of funding to meet their needs.
0:02:27.8 GR: So are we gonna be talking about bake sales today?
0:02:30.8 LS: [chuckle] We'll touch on bake sales a little bit, but we're also gonna talk about getting creative and what else you can do if you're not into selling items.
0:02:38.7 GR: Yeah. I think probably this is a challenge that a lot of us are familiar with around the country, around the world. That it is expensive to run a high quality music program, whether that's, as you said, elementary, chorus, orchestra, or band. And when you look around schools, it seems to me that everyone is selling something, right? It's like, "Oh look, here come the cheerleaders selling their chocolate. Here come the whatever selling their candy-grams," and all that. So I'm glad to hear that there are other things beyond that. Maybe can you introduce us a little bit to what the fundraising landscape looks like these days?
0:03:20.7 LS: Sure. So it's still really popular to sell things, and I think that's because it's familiar and it's safe, in some way. Students are the ones going and selling items, or sometimes the students' parents, let's be honest. And parents are familiar with it too. You look at an order form, or you go online and place an order, and it's... Almost guarantees a profit. So it's just... It's familiar. It's easy to turn to. There are lots of companies that provide fundraising for selling things, whether you're selling wrapping paper or candy or... I mean, uh... Candles. There are just so many things. And then we've got big ticket items too, right? Like, now it's getting more and more popular to sell Christmas trees and mattresses, and even a local district where I live right now, they're actually selling mulch. You can have it delivered by the yard or you can have the boys' lacrosse team come and spread it for you for an additional fee. But so that... I thought that was a creative take on selling things. But I think... Yeah, it's just... It's readily available, everyone knows what to do with it, and it's usually profitable.
0:04:33.0 GR: Yeah. So what else is there beyond sales, in the big picture of things?
0:04:37.3 LS: Yeah. So sales, and I'll kind of put raffles in under that as well, just selling tickets either for a 50-50 raffle, or selling tickets to win something like a gift basket, and even just selling tickets to concerts. I know that's a hot topic. Sometimes should we be asking parents to pay to come to concerts? And I think the answer is maybe sometimes. But yeah, so selling things and raffles. And then we're also gonna talk a little bit about some passive income options, some creative options, like I said. And then we're also going to touch on grant funding and COVID relief funding.
0:05:24.5 GR: Great. Great. So maybe what should we start with?
0:05:28.4 LS: Let's keep going with the sales and raffles, because I think they're... Probably everyone's familiar with it. And if you've already heard this before, I hope that maybe you hear something that gives you a new idea or reminds you of something that you do like to do.
0:05:44.1 GR: So I think about when we're at music educator conferences, like OMEA or TMEA, and we see all sorts of companies with ideas for selling things. And what would you say are some of the most successful ones in this area?
0:06:00.8 LS: Well, I... It's hard to define success, because it's gonna depend on your community. It's gonna depend on other groups in your district. If there's already another group that regularly sells chocolate-covered pretzels, and everyone knows to go to them at a certain time of year for chocolate-covered pretzels, you're probably not gonna have as much success if you try to jump on that bandwagon, and might even create some tension by maybe kinda stealing their thunder a little bit. So you don't really wanna get yourself into competing with another local group or group within your district. So look for something that's different. If you can find an item that you think that the community would have a need for or be interested in and would be willing to purchase it through the school or through your program, then that's what you should go for. And I can't necessarily tell you what that is.
0:06:52.7 GR: It's great advice, yeah. You mentioned a number of creative ideas already, and I see in our outline, you've suggested a few others that I hadn't thought of in a long time. What is a spirit wear.
0:07:07.9 LS: Oh yeah. So a spirit wear sale is you're literally selling t-shirts, sweat shirts, with the school logo on it, and then usually also something that denotes that it's from the music program. So maybe you get a logo drawn up or you have your students design a logo with the school mascot and marching band or choral department, something along those lines. The nice thing about those now is that mostly everything is done online, so parents can go online, look at all the products that are offered, and maybe even have the option of customizing, so getting a student's name also printed on the clothing item. I think spirit wear sales can be replicated across the district, so it's okay if your soccer team is doing it and the football team is doing it and the band is doing it, because they're all gonna be just a little bit unique, and parents and students want something that represent what they're in, so that's usually a pretty successful and easy thing to pull off.
0:08:14.1 GR: What are some of the challenges of doing sales-based fundraising?
0:08:17.9 LS: So the challenge, like we've already mentioned, that sometimes you find yourself selling things that other groups are already selling, or the students are just tired of selling things. They do it all the time, or their parents... Parents are tired of either helping their students sell it, or they're tired of buying it. [chuckle] So the students and parents kind of lose motivation, maybe, and then if there is product involved and if you are... If you're gonna need to be distributing that product at the end of the sale, then you've gotta have a group of volunteers to help with that, for sure, parent volunteers, because it's often too much for just one single teacher to manage on their own. It can be done, but it's a lot easier with volunteers.
0:09:06.2 GR: And I'm thinking about return on investment too. How much are you putting out monetarily to get the product versus how much it costs for these kinds of things.
0:09:18.2 LS: Right. So all companies will take a percentage of the sales, so the school will make... They'll tell you up front what it is that you're gonna make, and I think it's really important to look into what company you're going to use to sell things. And it's okay to reach out and sort of interview lots of companies before you pick one for this kind of sale, because you wanna see who has the highest percentage of profit that will come back to you, and also look for other things, like, do they require a minimum amount of product? Or a minimum threshold of money to be reached? Some of them do have a minimum, and if you don't meet the minimum, then there's an additional fee, or they take a higher percentage of the cut. So that's always something to look out for it, especially if you've never done it before and you're not sure what you're going to be making. Maybe look for a company that doesn't require a minimum to start.
0:10:14.2 GR: It also sounds like a lot of organizational work and coordination of people. Yeah?
0:10:21.4 LS: It is. It definitely is. And I was gonna touch on this later too, but one of my biggest tips for fundraising, whatever fundraiser you do, you have to have a solid group of parent volunteers. It's just... There's so much demand on teachers already. We have so much that we're doing, and this could turn out to be a large investment of time, unless you've got some people that you can trust and delegate it to. So whether that's your booster group, or you just reach out and you have a group of parents in charge of fundraisers for the year, as much of the fundraising that you can turn over to them as possible. Let them look for ideas, let them look for things to sell, or companies, or things to come up with. Really give them some room to make some decisions, and with your approval on everything, of course. But the more that you can hand over to them, the better it will be for you. [chuckle]
0:11:16.3 GR: So with some of those challenges you've outlined, if I as a teacher starts to realize, "Okay, so maybe sales isn't the strategy we wanna use, or maybe it's part of our overall strategy," what are some other things we might look at?
0:11:33.1 LS: Yeah, so I always say that the best place to start is just find some passive income. It's gonna be the least amount of time investment, least amount of work, physical work and preparation work, and anything compared to a selling type of fundraiser. So when I say passive income, I'm talking about using something like GoFundMe or DonorsChoose or even just seeking donations.
0:12:03.3 GR: Can you... For those of us who haven't heard of those, what's GoFundMe? What's DonorsChoose?
0:12:09.1 LS: Yes. So let's talk about DonorsChoose. So donorschoose.org, that's a website, it's an organization that lets teachers post usually, like, a specific project that they're trying to fund with some explanation. They let you post it on their platform, and then anonymous donors who are browsing the site for projects that align with their mission will choose to make donations to your project. This is free, free for teachers. The only thing that you need to be able to do is define your need and define your project and what your goals are and how much money you're looking to raise.
0:12:47.1 GR: It sounds great. And so then let's say I posted a project, right? Let's say that I wanted to get all of our school-owned instruments worked on because a technician hadn't touched them in however many years, then what do you do? Do you then reach out to parents? Or do you just sort of hope that the broader world sees it and says, "I wanna support this," or...
0:13:11.8 LS: I think social media is huge here. This is something that if you have a social media account for your music program, it gets shared there. If you can get your district to share it from any of their social media accounts... Alert the parents, too, and ask for them to share it as well. The more it is shared, the more people who will see it, and more likely that someone will say, "Oh, I support that. Let me make a donation."
0:13:38.0 GR: Awesome. So that's DonorsChoose... And you also mentioned GoFundMe. I think a lot of us have seen GoFundMe campaigns, but tell us a bit about those.
0:13:46.5 LS: Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about. The thing about GoFundMe, it's not specific to education. DonorsChoose is just for teachers, and I think teachers are gonna have a lot more success on there. But if you wanna post your project in both places and... You never know, right? It doesn't hurt to try. But yeah, GoFundMe is open to anyone for any idea, any product, anything... So I would definitely start with DonorsChoose.
0:14:17.5 GR: So DonorsChoose, GoFundMe, any other sources of passive income we should look at?
0:14:21.6 LS: Don't be afraid to ask for donations, even if it just means printing a little blurb in a concert program about, "We're always looking for this," or, "We'd like to increase our instrument inventory," or, "Music is expensive. If you'd like to make a donation... " And just simply put how or where they can make a donation of any amount.
0:14:43.1 GR: Speaking of that, I'm just imagining I finished conducting a concert. A parent comes up to me and hands me a $100 bill...
0:14:48.2 LS: Yes.
0:14:49.8 GR: I'm suddenly very nervous about that, about the implications of money coming in, and it's gonna be true for all of these fundraising things. What sorts of things do we need to be aware of there?
0:15:00.7 LS: Yeah, absolutely. You need to know the policies for money and for fundraising, and if you don't, please ask your administration or whoever it is in your district that handles that. Know what the rules are. Know what the policies are. Know where the money is going to go. You can ask them that, "Hey, if someone wants to make a donation, even if they just give us a cash donation, what do I do with that? Where does it... " Most schools are gonna have some sort of form that gets filled out or a special safe that things like that go into until it's deposited appropriately. But know exactly what account it's gonna go into. Make sure it's not gonna just go into some district general fund. You wanna know that that's gonna actually come back to your program, and it's more likely to do that if you know the process and you take the appropriate steps.
0:15:48.5 GR: Awesome, awesome. Passive income sounds great. I have to say the effort of all the sales stuff is not something I love, but... Yeah, but the idea of sharing, "Hey, these are some things we need," and making it possible for people who do have the means to support that, to support that. Really sounds great.
0:16:08.5 LS: Right.
0:16:09.1 GR: It probably depends a lot on your community.
0:16:10.9 LS: It absolutely does. That's just what I was gonna say, and sometimes it's just a matter of making your needs known. People don't know that there's a need, and the nice thing about passive income, you're not putting something else on top of the students, or asking parents to do any additional work for some profit. It's just a simple ask.
0:16:30.7 GR: Great. So what else? We've talked about sales, raffles, we've talked about passive income...
0:16:38.2 LS: Okay, so let's talk about getting creative. So what of your parents and students in the community are losing motivation to participate in the traditional fundraising? Sometimes it's a matter of just a slight change of wording. So continuing on the donation request, if asking for donations is not working, then try asking for sponsors. The thing about asking for a sponsor is usually right up front, you're saying exactly what you need a sponsor for. So, like, "We're looking for a sponsor for this concert," or, "We're looking for a sponsor for a student." Say, for example, a student who isn't able to afford the fees for the program. Then the person who's making the donation knows exactly what their money is going for, or even exactly who it's going to. And that's a huge difference. If someone knows exactly that, "Oh, this $50 that I'm gonna donate is going to buy a piece of music that I'm gonna hear at the next concert," they might be a lot more willing to give that up versus just, "Oh, here's $50 for the program?" So yeah, just changing the wording a little bit.
0:17:48.9 LS: And some more ideas to go along with that. So asking someone to sponsor a concert. This might be something that you go to a local company for or a well-known restaurant in the community. And you explain what it is that you're gonna do, and you offer to, of course, put an ad for them in the program, or if they would like for you to hang a sign somewhere at a concert, you offering to do that. They like that.
0:18:21.7 GR: And can I ask, like, what... Sorry. Can I ask how much would you ask to sponsor a concert?
0:18:29.0 LS: Again, the 'how much' questions, this always is going to depend on your district, your community or what your needs are, you might go out and get multiple sponsors for $100, you've got five sponsors for $100 each, and they've sponsored the concert by providing money to buy music with, you're gonna have to... You really have to know your community, know what people are willing to support. And also know your program needs. If you do have, like I had, an extremely supportive community, you may be able to find companies that will... Or even individuals, not really, not individuals, but you may be able to find someone who will sponsor a season, so for example, an entire marching season, a company that will say, pay for all the snacks for the marching band students, or pay for the dry cleaning of the uniforms twice a year. So again, it's gonna depend on what your need is, but you can kind of sit down, prioritize your needs, break them up into create three levels, like a big need, a medium need, and a small ask, and then decide what you want those amounts to be from there.
0:19:49.1 GR: Yeah, and I think back to when I was starting teaching too, and I was frankly just so afraid to ask, but especially companies, a lot of them are looking for ways to be visible in the community, and they're used to being asked these things and it's not abnormal. It doesn't bother them. They're happy to say no, if they're not... If they can't do it.
0:20:12.1 LS: Right. Yeah, it does not hurt to ask, you may also find out that parents within your program have connections either because they work for a company or a local corporation that is willing to donate or they know someone who is, so just by putting the need out there and asking you never know what you might end up with.
0:20:34.1 GR: Yeah, that's great. Sponsorship. That's a great creative idea. Yeah.
0:20:40.0 LS: And sponsoring students too. That's one that... I didn't do that right away. I didn't do that until later in teaching, till I figured out really how to word it, and once people realize that they could make a donation that would go directly to allowing a student to be in band, it was very successful.
0:20:58.2 GR: So what wording did you use to invite parents to make that kind of donation?
0:21:03.7 LS: Yeah, so it ended up being as simple as just saying, Make it possible for a student to join band, we had such a big alumni base in our community that they knew what joining band meant and what that would mean for that student, and so they were happy to make that possible.
0:21:20.6 GR: Great. So yeah, other creative ideas?
0:21:25.8 LS: So we talked a little bit about raffles, which usually look like buying tickets to win a basket or 50-50 raffles, but again, know your community and find something that you think they would say, "Oh yeah, I would buy a ticket to that." So for us, parking was an issue, it was always an issue because we just had small parking lots, and that meant the concerts... People had to park very far away and walk a lot, so we tried raffling off a parking space real close up front, and that was very successful, so that was something that we decided to continue with. But yeah, so parking spot raffles, you can do concert seating raffles, again, that's gonna depend on what that looks like, is it a matter of raffling off a really good seat or is it mean raffling a padded folding chair versus the bleacher, the concert seating was a good one, and this is my favorite concert on demand raffle. Again, it worked for our community because it was a small community, but we called it Band-On-Demand, and parents could buy tickets to you have the band show up in their front yard and play a concert or on their street if there wasn't room to fit the whole band in, but that was wildly popular.
0:23:00.7 GR: That sounds amazing.
0:23:01.4 LS: It was fun.
0:23:03.5 GR: Awesome. Yes. Okay, so sponsorships, raffles, these are just great creative ideas and also it seems like not as frankly much work as say, selling mattresses or whatever.
0:23:18.8 LS: Right. There's still... I don't wanna say that it doesn't require any work, it might just be a little bit of work upfront to create a flyer that you're going to take to businesses to ask or putting that wording together. But then once you've done it, it's done, and you don't have to keep recreating the wheel. And there's one other thing I wanna bring up. It's been popular, and I've even done it myself, shoe drives are gaining popularity, and there are a lot of organizations now that will do this, but I worked specifically with Funds2Orgs, that's funds number two orgs. And it was a very profitable fundraiser. You ask for the community and parents and students to donate shoes, and then they at the end, they come with a grappling giant truck and you load up all the shoes onto the truck and they take it and they weigh it. And your profit depends on the poundage of shoes that you were able to collect, and they take nearly all types of shoes from used to gently used to even new. The challenge of a shoe drive is there is some physical work involved, all the shoes need to be tied together or rubber banded together and put into plastic garbage bags, and you need to have somewhere to store that, you might think that you know what 100 bags of 25 pairs of shoes looks like, but then you see it and you realize, "Oh, this is a lot of shoes."
0:24:52.0 LS: And then you get 500 bags and then it's really so the... Yeah, the challenge with the shoe drive is making sure that you have students and parents who will volunteer to help put things together for it and make sure that you have the room to store it but very profitable.
0:25:07.8 GR: That's great, that's great. Okay, so we have sales, fundraising, we have these wonderful creative ideas, passive income ideas, and then probably the big area that we haven't talked about is the area of grants. Can you talk a little bit about that?
0:25:24.4 LS: Sure, so grants are... A grant is money that you receive from an organization, it does not need to be paid back, and usually they'll board money for a project that aligns with their mission. The thing about grants is that they... Yeah, I'm not gonna lie. Grants are a lot of work. When you're writing a grant, the grant application itself does require a bit of writing, companies who typically receive grant funding generally have a staff person dedicated to grant writing, and your district may have someone dedicated to grant writing, but funding the music program may not fall under their umbrella of responsibilities. So if you might be interested in looking into a grant, just know that you're going to need to be prepared to write a project summary, you're gonna have to write about how you're going to evaluate it, because grants do require evaluation and reporting because they wanna know that the money that they're giving is having an impact.
0:26:38.4 GR: So meaning, let's say I receive a grant from our local arts council, but at some point in the year after I receive that grant, I have to provide back some kind of report?
0:26:48.7 LS: Yes. And even in the initial application, you're gonna have to talk about how you plan to evaluate for that, what you think the impact will be, what the community need is, your current strengths and challenges of your program and future sustainability without the grant funding. So those are just some things that you'll need to prepare to write about up front and then again throughout the year, be collecting the data on that evaluation and then submit an evaluation at the end of the life of the grant.
0:27:25.2 GR: I've worked with a community chorus for a number of years, and part of my responsibility there was being involved in that grant writing process, and one of the things that I found, and I know that you and I have talked about this as well, is how important finding a good match between the organization and... The organization that needs the money and the organization that is making the grant, how can you know if you're... If the organization you're looking at who's giving grants is the right organization to approach?
0:27:55.3 LS: Call them and ask. Do not be afraid to reach out to them, to email or call and say, "Hey, here's what I'm doing. Does this align with your mission?" They'll be happy to answer questions, in most cases.
0:28:10.5 GR: Yeah, yeah, and where even do I begin to figure out what grants are available?
0:28:16.1 LS: So this may require a little bit of research on your part, but we will provide a couple of links in the show notes that are a good starting place. A couple of organizations that either provide grants for music teachers or provide a list of other organizations that provide grants for music teachers. And also in the show notes, we'll also put a link to a website that helps you develop a needs statement. A need statement is very important for your grant application, and honestly, it can be used for all fundraising, especially if you're planning to be requesting donations or looking for sponsors, check that out, check out this website, read through how to develop a needs statement because that will help you clearly define your needs, no matter who you're asking for money from.
0:29:11.8 GR: Great, great. I think also speaking about that, maybe... Especially for teachers who are just getting started. One thing we haven't mentioned is, you can certainly start by going to your administration and saying, "Hey, we have these needs to make the program really successful, to be able to provide the experience that students need, we need these specific things. Is there funding for that?" And I think that's a lot of times, just that organization, as you're talking about, making a need statement, but also taking the time to actually just make a budget and say, this is what running a top level program for the course of the year really costs, and how much of that can come from the school's budget, and how much of that do we have to be more creative about finding ways of funding.
0:30:08.3 LS: Yes, absolutely, that's a great point. Don't be afraid to ask administration, but if you're planning to do that, yes, absolutely, prepare to do that. Like you said, and I wanna add to that, also prioritize the needs, because very frequently the administrator's gonna say then, "We can't do all of this, but if we can do some of it, what would you like us to do?" Come prepared, have the numbers, have your need clearly defined and prioritized and just make it easy for an administrator to look at and say, "Okay, I understand."
0:30:43.2 GR: Yeah, yeah, I've always found with the administrators that if I say I need 20% more money, they say no, but if I bring them a list of like, Okay, here's what we need, and here's why we need it, their response is, we may not be able to do it, but let's see what's possible. And that makes for a much easier starting place for a conversation.
0:31:02.1 LS: And back it up as much as you can with the student achievement, if you can tie it into state standards on why we need this particular new method book, or why we need to be purchasing new music, and again, make it show how it applies to the students learning as much as possible.
0:31:22.9 GR: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Great, what else should we know? This is just such good stuff, Leah.
0:31:29.9 LS: Well, we haven't talked yet about the newest available category of funding, which is a COVID relief funding. If you wanna touch on that.
0:31:37.2 GR: Yeah, please.
0:31:40.3 S12: Yeah, so the CARES Act in 2020 brought this new level of funding for schools, that is now the most recent bill of this is the America rescue plan, but this all falls under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. The thing about this money is that the federal government distributes it to states, and then the states distribute it to the districts. Some districts may get a lot, some districts may get none, so the first thing that you need to find out is, did our district receive any emergency relief funding? And then if your district did, then I suggest just like when talking to administration, you pull together your needs and prioritize your needs, and then you present this to administration. To receive this funding, a teacher cannot go and request it or fill out an application for it. Again, the state gives the money to your district, so you need to talk, you need to find out who it is in your district that handles this. Is it a principal, is it the superintendent. Is it the head of the LEA, the Local Education Association.
0:33:00.2 LS: So you need to find out who to talk to and then come prepared to discuss your needs and what you're looking for, the funding is available for anything related to creating safe learning spaces due to COVID or addressing any learning lost from remote instruction when schools were closed for COVID. So for example, technology and software for virtual learning or remedial instruction, additional instruments and equipment to avoid students sharing supplies for cleaning and sanitation, materials for social distancing and PPE, facilities improvements and even extra-instructional support, so even hiring a private lesson teacher could all fall into that.
0:33:50.2 GR: And as I recall, with the ESSER funding and specifically, kind of the big catch-all is that idea of remediation, the idea that there was learning lost because of remote learning, and we need to make the current situation better to make up for that, and that opens a lot of possibilities for requesting funding there.
0:34:10.6 LS: Absolutely, so if a teacher wants to use uTheory to address remedial or to provide remedial instruction, then that absolutely falls under that category.
0:34:20.1 GR: Great. So yeah, so CARES Act, ESSER and these things. Can you remind me when does ESSER expire? When's the last chance people can get funding for that?
0:34:29.7 LS: So the first round of funding actually expires, I believe this coming September, September 30th, 2022, there will be money available until 2024 for this, so it doesn't hurt to ask now.
0:34:44.0 GR: Great, great. Well, I have a lot of ideas now. This is certainly exciting, ideas other than calling up my boss and saying, "Hey, I need more money," although that's not an awful thing to do. Is there anything that we've missed or is this a good place to wrap things up?
0:35:04.2 LS: We can wrap it up. I just wanna reiterate that, you know, no matter what fundraiser you decide to do, I think it's really important to have a strong group of parent volunteers to help with some of this, and again, knowing the school policies and knowing the rules for allowing students and parents to handle cash. Even if you do have very trustworthy parents or students, always have multiple adults present if there's going to be cash being handled, and definitely have supervision over students collecting cash, and please remember to say thank you and send thank you notes. Thank you notes to donors or sponsors or those parents who are volunteering their time a little thank you note will go a long way because then they will know that they're appreciated and that they've been seen and they'll be more willing to come back and help again.
0:36:03.3 GR: And even administrators who are able to up your budget ever so slightly, they appreciate those little thank you notes too.
0:36:10.8 LS: And one final tip here is, don't do nothing, do something, even if it's one little thing, one little fundraiser, one little request for donations, start somewhere. By doing nothing, you're showing your administration that, Oh, you're fine with whatever funding you get, if you get any. And you don't really have any needs or anything like that, and it won't be on their radar for next year that I need to consider what the music program needs, and also if the parents and students see you going above and beyond to give them the best possible program then, that's gonna be reflected in their attitude and their effort as well, so don't do nothing.
0:36:54.1 GR: Awesome, that's great. It's great advice. Leah, thank you for that. Thank you for all these wonderful ideas. And thanks for joining us.
0:37:04.2 LS: Absolutely. Any time.
0:37:08.8 Speaker 3: Notes from the staff is produced by uTheory.com.
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0:37:15.6 S3: With video lessons, individualized practice and proficiency testing, uTheory has helped more than 100,000 students around the world master the fundamentals of music theory, rhythm and ear training.
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