How Financial Education Programs are Funded
Per the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as a nation we spend about $670 million per year on financial education. A growing demand for such education is being spurred by regulatory pressures, increased funding, social interest groups, and increased competition among various corporate and nonprofit stakeholders.
These financial literacy funding opportunities are available to organizations through various channels. The chart below outlines how organizations can fund their continued involvement in financial education:
Dollar Amount Requests
Just in the last quarter, several hundred organizations approached the NFEC with funding requests. However, a problem with most of these requests (83%) was that they were asking for too much money for the impact they were likely to create.
The NFEC evaluates programs – and suggests you do so as well – based on Cost per Impact. What is the cost to create positive impact in the target group? Here’s how we calculate Cost per Impact:
- Establish clear barometers and benchmarks that allow us to quantify impact. For short-term measures we conduct comprehensive testing, surveys, and interviews and evaluate the results against higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and Bloom’s taxonomy. For longer-term measures of behavior molding or modification, we locate those items that can be measured. Examples include credit score improvement, debt reduction, and savings rate – any financial behaviors that can provide clear data.
- Measure the number of people influenced. These measures include number of participants in a financial education program, secondary education markets (i.e. family, friends), the general public, etc.
- Weight each group of people affected. Your primary market will have the highest weight, and typically the general public will be weighted lowest.
- Determine a value for your Cost per Impact calculation.
4 Essential Qualities to Funding Your Program:
NFEC Financial Literacy Funding Support
All NFEC clients have access to funding, grants, and revenue models. From grant providers to sponsorship forms and client acquisition funnels, we provide the resources needed to help fund your program. Our goal is to ensure that your program is sustainable and scalable, and can continue to have positive impact among the people you serve for years to come.
No matter the size or scope, we value your passion and interest in promoting financial education. Complete the short survey below to gain immediate access to your custom financial literacy presentation.
Most people agree that the financial capability of individuals directly affects the strength of our country as a whole. Ben Bernanke, current Federal Reserve Chairman, had this to say about the importance of financial literacy in the U.S.: “We are reminded of how critically important it is for individuals to become financially literate at an early age.”
Although the recent recession put people in challenging financial positions, one positive thing arose from those problems: there is more financial literacy funding available. For example, financial literacy grants, sponsorships, and funding through collaborative efforts have increased. Every man, woman, and child needs to learn about money at some point in life. In the past, most people picked up financial skills through trial and error—but now there are organizations all across the country helping people learn vital money skills.
The recent focus on the economy has highlighted stories about people living with financial struggle. This increased attention has led to increased awareness about the need to expand financial literacy programs. To accommodate such expansion, we’ve seen a sizeable boost in financial literacy funding sources.
It is important for your organization to focus on maximizing financial literacy funding, especially when you receive a financial literacy grant. Many organizations waste a lot of time and money when they receive funding for financial literacy classes because they recreate products and services that are already on the market. We recommend that you locate financial education resources already on the market and proven effective. That way you can maximize your program’s reach and have greater impact in your community. And when you apply for funding next year, your grant application will be that much stronger.
While many organizations wait for financial literacy funding to make it through the grant pipeline, others pursue alternative funding methods. One method that has become increasingly popular is forming relationships between corporations and nonprofit organizations (including schools).
Hosting financial education workshops can be a great way to draw attention and attract the interest of the community and potential sponsors. If you are hosting a typical financial literacy class, begin planning how you might turn that class into a unique experience for both participants and sponsors.
The NFEC has also noted that many organizations focus attention on developing financial education resources, but forget about the instructors. The quality of the educators makes a tremendous impact on program effectiveness, so make sure a portion of your financial literacy funding goes to “training the trainer” programs.
Teaching people money skills is different from any other subject. Why? Because there are so many emotions tied to money. So when providing financial education instruction, delivering the material in a way with which the audience can relate emotionally becomes critically important. Having trainers who are skilled in teaching kids about money will be vital to your financial education program’s success.
Another idea to stretch your financial literacy funding dollar is matching your presentation to the target group. For instance, you teach kids about money differently than you would seniors. Your financial education program should match the taste and style of the participating group. Tailoring each presentation ensures that participants retain the information, and makes your financial literacy funding dollars go farther.
An important factor to consider when you apply for financial literacy funding is the reach and frequency of your message. That is, how many people will you serve, and how often will you reach them? The conclusion may be obvious; you will probably receive more financial literacy funding by reaching more people, increasing message frequency, and demonstrating program effectiveness.
Successful financial literacy funding initiatives deliver a true ROI (return on investment). But return on investment doesn’t have to be financial. It can take the form of media coverage, community goodwill, or building relationships. When you seek financial literacy funding, always consider what you can do to support the donor—and then over-deliver on your promises.
Fortunately, expansion in the financial education services industry means that many groups have stepped up to provide support for such programs and thus financial literacy funding options have increased. These opportunities can help your organization build sustainable financial education programs to serve people for many years to come.
Whether you receive financial literacy grants or other types of funding, your goal remains the same: to reach as many people as possible and truly inspire them to take positive action toward improving their financial futures.
Help Funding Your Financial Literacy Program
Fund your financial literacy program or idea – The NFEC is now accepting applications for our 2011 financial education sponsorships.
This opportunity is open to all types of organizations (nonprofits, schools, for profit, etc) that are looking to empower people with practical financial skills while raising awareness about the issue. Funding may include monetary sponsorship, in-kind donations and other forms of support (volunteers, awareness, etc).
Visit the Financial Literacy Funding page to apply. The deadline this year is February 4th at midnight, however we strongly encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Also be sure to pick up your financial literacy grant guide complimentary.
The NFEC is seeking financial education programs that are: practical in nature, can be sustained, involve collaboration, raise awareness for financial literacy and have a lasting impact on those you serve. Please make your application concise and directly answer the questions being asked on the application.
Good luck and we look forward to helping your new or existing financial education program expand.
Complimentary Material – Instant Access
The National Financial Educators Council is committed to helping organizations fund their financial education programs. The NFEC provides information about financial literacy grants and funding opportunities designed to help organizations develop sustainable programming.
Our goal is to provide your organization with tools and information to help you reduce the costs associated with researching funding opportunities and streamline the process.
Program Designed with Sponsorship in Mind
Designing an educationally effective program is important, but creating a sustainable program is equally important. When developing a program, you also should consider the benefits you can offer to your potential funding sources. A well-funded program reaches more people and makes a longer-lasting difference in the community.
Sponsors, patrons, and other funding sources seek to fund programs with demonstrated empirical evidence that the program improves financial capabilities of participants. Thus programs that measure participants’ long-term success toward forming positive financial habits have a greater chance of receiving funds.
Take part in the next Certified Financial Education Instructor professional development course to gain the knowledge you need to conduct the empirical measurements sought by potential funding sources. At the same time, you’ll improve your ability to teach financial literacy effectively.
NFEC Financial Literacy Funding
The NFEC provides funding or in-kind support to organizations that deliver measurable changes in the participants behavior while raining awareness for the financial literacy movement. The NFEC’s social enterprise business model makes funds and product donations available through their Financial EduNation Campaign.
We’re looking for organizations that can provide the following benefits in consideration for funding or in-kind donations: media outreach, database outreach, collaboration with community influences, online placement, event placement, and other benefits that will help us spread the message of financial literacy.