Friday, February 12, 2010

To get the Money... do your homework

Now everybody is buzzing, saying it is a great idea to digitize the image collections, if only the money can be found... Grants are a great source for this kind of project, but do your homework first. Write out a project proposal that includes a mission statement which complements the larger organizational mission and includes an assessment of the user’s needs. Always keep in mind the benefits of the project to the end user. All your planning, strategizing, and writing at this point will serve you through every step of the process.

Research the equipment and support needs. Once the costs of the hardware, software, and staffing are determined consider the best strategies for convincing colleagues to “put their money where their mouth is”. The old saying “it takes money to make money” is true. Find seed money to allocate from your own budget then start looking for collaborators. The department, the library, IT, and other departments that use images are likely beneficiaries of the project. Go up the chain, often the President’s office, the alumni association, or Friends groups have funds for special projects. Befriend your organization’s development officers. Use each funding commitment to encourage further contributions by the next group you confer with. Continue to cultivate these contacts even if they do not offer funding immediately. Keep everyone informed about your progress.

It does not matter how small each pledge is, it all adds up! Not only are you raising the money, but you are also raising awareness and building a committed endorsement. When you approach the larger community for funding this demonstration of support will almost be more important than the money gathered from the internal sources.

What are the strategies you have used to get your colleagues involved and committed?

Future posts will discuss types of funding organizations, and provide pointers for writing grant funding requests...


  1. Plan! I love it! One should always have a strategy.

  2. I've found that personal relationships and years of networking are of tremendous help in locating funding opportunities. What may be especially difficult for some of us now is that, without institutional affiliations any longer, it may be harder to get granting organizations' attention.