The financial capability of individuals directly relates to the strength of our country. The former Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, had this to say about the importance of financial education in the country, “we are reminded of how critically important it is for individuals to become financially literate at an early age”.
For many, the recent recession put people in challenging financial positions. The silver lining is that has arisen from the problems is that there is more funding available for financial education programs. This includes an increase in financial literacy grants, sponsorships and funding through collaborative efforts. At some point in their life every man, woman and child needs to learn about money. The average person picks up financial skills through trial and error; but fortunately today there alternatives. With the increase in financial literacy grants available, there are organizations helping to provide money skills to people across the country.
The recent focus on the economy has highlighted stories of people living in a financial struggle. With this added attention there has been an increased awareness about the need to expand financial literacy programs To accommodate the expansion there has been a boost in financial literacy funding sources.
It is important for organizations to focus on maximizing financial literacy funding; this is especially important when you receive a financial literacy grant. A lot of time and money is wasted by many organizations that receive funding for their financial education program. They end up recreating products that are already on the market. Most organization would save time and money locating personal finance resources that have been proven to be effective. Doing so you are able to maximize the reach of your program and make a larger impact in your community. This will also make future grant application be stronger when applying for funding next year.
As many wait for financial literacy funding to make it through the grant pipeline others are pursuing alternative methods of finding financial education programs. One that has become increasingly popular is the relationships formed between corporations and groups promoting financial wellness – financial literacy sponsor opportunities.
To garner sponsorship and to raise awareness about your initiative, the NFEC suggests hosting financial education workshops. This can put your campaign in the spotlight and attract the interest of the community and potential sponsors. Create a unique event for participants (and sponsors, patrons, donors). Think of ways that you can turn that class into a memorable experience – remember there is competition so make your program stand out!
A mistake many organizations make is focusing their attention on developing financial education resources and not providing any professional development for the financial education instructors. Financial educators are the backbone of the program and should be addressed. We suggest enrolling the instructors and volunteers in theCertified Financial Education Instructor program. Ensure that a portion of your financial literacy funding goes into professional development programs for your educators.
Educating people on money skills is different than any other subject taught because there are so many emotions tied to money. When providing financial education instruction it is important that the material is delivered in a way your audience relates to. Ensuring your trainers are skilled in teaching kids about money is an important part of having a successful financial education program.
Another idea that will help stretch your financial literacy funding dollar further is to ensure your presentation matches the group you are working with. For instance you will teach kids about money differently than you would teach seniors about money. Design your personal finance program so it matches the needs of your audience – this will help ensure the participants will retain the information, generate additional financial literacy funding opportunities and highlight the effectiveness of your program.
Before you seek financial literacy funding consider the reach and frequency of your message. How many people are you serving and how often are you reaching them? The conclusion may be obvious – you will likely receive more financial literacy funding by reaching more people, increasing your frequency and if your financial education program is working.
Those organization that have developed successful financial literacy funding initiatives know how to deliver return on investment to those that fund their program. The ROI doesn’t always have to be monetary. It can take the form of media coverage, community goodwill and building key relationships. When seeking financial literacy funding always consider how you can support the donor and over-deliver on your promise.
With the expansion in the financial education services industry many groups have stepped up to provide support for these programs and have increased their financial literacy funding options. This opportunity can help your organization build sustainable financial education programs that can serve people for many years to come.
However you fund your program – through financial literacy grants, sponsorships, or other financial literacy funding opportunities – the objective should be to provide a practical education, raise awareness and take steps to ensure your sustainability.