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Defining Your Project
No matter what financial aid need you have is the one trait that every ScholarshipProz campaign shares and that is that it’s a project. Defining what your ScholarshipProz project is is the first step for every creator.
What are you raising scholarship funds to do? Having a focused and well-defined project with a clear beginning and end is vital. There is no end, just an ongoing effort. ScholarshipProz is open only to finite projects.
With a precisely defined goal, expectations are transparent for both the creator and potential scholarship donors. Scholarship donors can judge how realistic the project’s goals are, as well as the project creator’s ability to complete them. And for creators, the practice of defining a project’s goal establishes the scope of the endeavor, often an important step in the creative process.
ScholarshipProz thrives on these open exchanges and clear explanations of goals. Make sure your project does this!
Setting Your Goal
ScholarshipProz projects must set a funding goal and a length of time to reach it. There’s no magic formula to determining the right goal or duration. Every project is different, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Your Financial Aid Need
How much financial assistance do you need? Do you want to raise the full amount or a portion of it? Have you factored in the cost of producing rewards and delivering them to scholarship donors? Avoid later headaches by doing your research, and be as transparent as you can. Backers will appreciate it.
Spreading the Word
ScholarshipProz is not a magical source of money. Funding comes from a variety of sources — your audience, your friends and family, your broader social networks, and, if your project does well, strangers from around the web. It’s up to you to build that momentum for your project.
Choosing Your Goal
Once you’ve researched your financial aid need and considered your reach, you’re ready to set your funding goal. You can always raise more than your goal. Figure out how much money you need to complete the project as promised (while considering how much funding you think you can generate), and select an amount close to that.
Setting Your Project Deadline
Projects can last anywhere from one to 60 days, however a longer project duration is not necessarily better. Statistically, projects lasting 30 days or less have our highest success rates. A ScholarshipProz project takes a lot of work to run, and shorter projects set a tone of confidence and help motivate your scholarship donors to join the party. Longer durations incite less urgency, encourage procrastination, and tend to fizzle out.
Perks: What to Offer
Every project’s primary rewards should be things of translatable value by the project owner. For example, if the project is to fund a gap in tuition costs associated with a study-abroad program, then rewards should include a synopsis of your travels to include documenting real-life experiences of the learning achieved. Be creative in your approach! E-mails or video emails detailing your travels are great ways of making your supporters feel part of the journey.
Strive to create value in your rewards, because unlike tangible rewards, donors who support education causes 1) support the individual, 2) acknowledge a need for quality higher learning, and 3) trust that their support is building a better and stronger future for all. They are supporting you because they believe in your project, not because they are expecting a tangible reward. Be creative!
Additionally, if you are studying music, video production, the arts, etc., consider your own works as possible (tangible) rewards. These may include:
Copies of the thing: an album, the DVD, a print from the show. These items should be priced what they would cost in a retail environment.
Creative collaborations: a supporter appears as a hero in the comic, a character in your play, everyone gets painted into the mural, two supporters do the handclaps for track 3.
Creative experiences: a visit to the set, a phone call from the author, dinner with the cast, a concert in your backyard.
Creative mementos: Pictures sent from location, thanks in the credits, meaningful tokens that tell a story.
More simplistic rewards may be offered in the form of personal and/or professional social acknowledgments, both on- and off-line; mentions on Twitter; gratuitous appreciation on Facebook or a Blog;
In short, there are no limits, minimums nor maximums on the real or perceived value of your rewards. Regardless of the rewards you deem appropriate, prospective donors will ultimately decide their inherent value, which will likely be translatable to your discoverable credibility.
Price your Perks appropriately. We encourage every fund raiser to be as creative and true to itself as possible. Put yourself in your supporters’ shoes: would you drop the cash on your cause? The answer to that question may tell you a lot of things, but what you want it to convey is the integrity of your character and humbleness of your spirit. Asking for help is indeed hard.
Promoting Your Project
An exceptional project can lead to outpourings of support from all corners of the web, but for most projects, support comes from within their own networks and their networks’ networks. If you want people to back your project you have to tell them about it. More than once! And in a variety of ways! Here’s how:
A nice, personal message is the most effective way to let someone know about your project. Send an email to your close friends and family so they can be first to pledge, then use your personal blog, your Facebook page, and your Twitter account to tune in everyone who’s paying attention. Don’t overwhelm with e-blasts and group messages, but be sure to remind your networks about your projects a few times throughout the course of its duration. Take the time to contact people individually. It makes a big difference.
Offline Works Too
Don’t be afraid to take your ScholarshipProz project out into the real world. Nothing connects people to an idea like seeing the twinkle in your eye when you talk about it. Host funding raising parties, create posters or flyers to distribute around your school and community to educate people about your endeavor, goals and needs. Be creative!
Stop the Presses
Contact your local newspaper, TV, and radio stations and tell them about your project. Seek out like-minded blogs and online media outlets to request coverage. Writers are always looking for stories to write about, and the media has a big soft spot for DIY success stories.
Keep it Real
Whatever channel you use to tell your project’s story, don’t spam. This includes posting your link on other ScholarshipProz project pages, @messaging people to beg for money on Twitter, link-bombing on Facebook, and generally nagging people you don’t already know. Over-posting can alienate your friends and fans, and it makes every other ScholarshipProz project look bad too. Don’t do it!