Funding


So as some of you may know, I tried my luck with applying for Team 2 of the Kaospilots Netherlands in Rotterdam.

I just found out today that I’ve been shortlisted!

I’ve been invited to the Admissions Workshop in Rotterdam on the 19th and 20th of June. They’re also providing accommodation and food (so the workshop fee is a bit higher, but at least I have a place to stay).

The main hurdles so far are flights and visas. Visas should be OK because I’ve got official paperwork, but I do need a ticket to get a visa (and to get to the Netherlands!).

Since I’ll be back in Malaysia at the time, I’ve asked my parents to help me arrange a plane ticket so I can apply for a visa as soon as I get home. They’re being Dolly Downers about the whole thing, though, so I’m not entirely sure I want to trust them with it. KP NL couldn’t fund me flightwise, so I think I’ll try asking KLM for help.

Any of you have any experiences with KLM or other Dutch-bound airlines? Any recs on those that are great with sponsorship?

But anyway! Great news! The principal, Peter Linde, wrote me a very thoughtful and personal email. I am totally touched and honoured.

I would also like to give a shoutout to Bob Sloat and Michael Doneman – you two got mentioned in the email and it was your feedback that got me through!

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay 😀

I have a pile of books to sell, in varying conditions (generally good). Selling for best offer + shipping (some of the books are pretty big); will ship international from Brisbane, Australia. I accept Australian bank transfer and PayPal. RRP = Recommended Retail Price.

Click More for the list of books for sale:

(more…)

Got this email from KP NL just now:

Student Support Fund established as an alternative to student loans & grants!

This email is to tell you the GOOD news that a fund supported by partners (Flight Facilitators), most from the worlds of business and local government, has been set up! This allows us to waiver your monthly tuition, just like we did for Team 1. In total this means that we can support you with funding to cover your full tuition fee at KPNL in your first year.. A total amount of 4800,- Euro! It is not a loan, neither a gift nor a sponsorship since we want to establish real working-relations with our partners – the return value from the school and the students will be 80 hours of project-work during the first year of studies, which will be partly curricular and partly extracurricular…

This agreement does not include the general one time entry fee of 4000,- Euro that needs to be paid up front. So, we also solicit for your commitment to our school and ask you to pay this in advance and thus gaining co-ownership over the learning space…

YAY! €4000 is about AU$6553, which is a bit less than a typical semester’s worth of uni fees for an international student in Australia. The monthly fees add up to about that amount a year, so that would be BIG savings. And project work is why I applied in the first place!

What would be a good way to raise €4000? At least it’s a smaller number to target than the 6-digit monster I was dealing with back with KP DK! (Note to self: fundraise for a year at a time. Less scary that way.)

I’ve just posted out my application for KP NL this afternoon. The printing was a bit wonky (a couple of photos didn’t get exported properly) and QUT has sucky staplers, but otherwise it should be OK.

The last day is May 19th and the workshop is on the 19th and 20th of June. I’ll be in Malaysia then (mid-year hols) so flights would be cheaper, but not by much. KP NL does have a more organized system of financial support, though, so I’ve asked them to help me out. Even a connection to KLM would be good!

I did some calculations last year across KP Stockholm, Aarhus, and Rotterdam, and Rotterdam came down to being the cheapest of the lot. I haven’t really done much research into living expenses yet – should do that soon. And hey, I’ve always wanted to learn Dutch…

The KaosPilots NL are developing some creative financing ventures for potential students. Among them is a corporate-supported fund to cover fees for the first year, and work experience programs. They’re also working on getting Government funding.

They seem to be pretty focused and thorough on the funding ideas; the funding page just went up but there’ll soon be entries from those that have found creative ways of supporting themselves. Another plus point for them!

Also, I got a postcard from them this morning. Aww thank you! It’s purple with “Arabic” writing that says “this card can change your life”. I think they meant to send me something too with it, because there’s a strip of sticky tape in one corner, but it got lost in the post. Sorry guys!

Don’t forget to get your chance at KaosPilot A-Z 2!

a.k.a. Malaysian Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines, the two airlines I thought would be the biggest help with getting me to Aarhus next month.

If they can’t even help me, who can? How am I supposed to scrounge up $2300 in less than a month? I can’t even get a decent job (decent as in non-dodgy).

😦

GiveMeaning is a website where people can put fundraising proposals up online and get support & ideas on how to make their fundraising efforts effective. They can also help collect funds for you.

I have put up my WBAKP proposal online and I need 100 votes by April 21, 2008 (a month or so away) for it to be active on the website. (I suppose this is to weed out spam and frivolous proposals).

Vote for Wanna Be A KP on GiveMeaning!

I’ve also applied for a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellowship. Theoretically, someone else is meant to nominate you (and if you want to, go ahead! ;D) but there wasn’t anything saying you can’t nominate yourself. Fellows get all-access paid participation to the Pop!Tech conference in Maine in October, as well as a leadership/skills development workshop aimed at developing big strategic programs, and year-long access to mentorships and networks. They’re particularly looking for those under 35, and those outside the US. Hey, I fit both criteria 🙂

Firefox is annoying me with its constant crashes. It’s just as unstable as IE before I switched over 4 years ago. I think I’ll be switching to Opera.

I just got a letter from the Danish Ministry of Refugees, Immigration, and Integration telling me that funding wasn’t really in their jurisdiction – but that they have forwarded my letter to the Ministry of Education for further action.

The same Ministry of Education that told me off for contacting them every way I could. Hmm.

Dear CIRIUS: NOT MY FAULT.

It’s just like how half of the KP board members I contacted, including Uffe Elbæk, kept forwarding my plea onto the KP management. I think they’ve received at least 5 emails all saying the same thing – and that’s not counting the emails I sent them myself. Ha!

I sent off my application for the Australia Culture Fund; I wrote a new proposal because there was some criteria I had to respond to, and if I could make it shorter it could be my new proposal, because it mentions my aims as well as my fundraising strategy. Feel free to contact me if you want to take a look at it and help rework it. The main thing missing from that proposal is what the recipient stands to gain from it, but that wasn’t what AbaF was after so I didn’t include it. I do have a paragraph along those lines in my other proposal though.

I’d like to rework both proposals and come up with something that could fit in one A4-sized flyer. It’d have to be very punchy and succinct – two things I’m not, unfortunately. Since it’s more a promotional thing, I don’t have to be quite as detailed, though I have to work out a way for people to see all the details once they come here.

Is there such a thing as a Corporate Sponsorships Directory? One that lists companies’ CSR policies, what they fund, and how to apply? If not, I could start such a thing, based on the information I’ve gathered. It’d be a BIG undertaking, but it’d be useful. Heck, a Fundraising & Sponsorship Wiki wouldn’t be such a bad idea…

The Naked Lady Party now has a date – 13th of April. It’ll be at Ivor Cribb in International House, St Lucia. We might make this a slightly bigger event than just a clothes swap, thanks to Chakae’s magical ability to get support out of the most random places. My request for a fundraising houseparty from someone else got turned down, but holding it at IH after the NLP would be a good plan.

It’s funny how one of my biggest supporters is known for snippets of erotica (hello Twittilate!), while the people I thought would be my biggest shoo-ins for support have turned out to be rather exasperating and unreliable. That adage fundraising organizations like to use about how you should go to friends and family first for support is really, really broken. From my experience, and those of others, they would most often be the absolute WORST at supporting you. According to this AskMefi thread, they feel obligated and exploited, and then never get back to you. It’s the acquaintances, the folk that know you but not too well, that usually end up being your biggest assets. As said here:

Also, from the many fundraising events I’ve done in the past and the causes I’ve swam, run and partied for, I’ve learned one majorly disappointing truth: the closer people are to you, the less they will donate. It’s just the way it is. Family and friends always feel obligated, and they rarely come through. Strangers will write the big checks. I would hear all the excuses from my close friends and family members (money is tight, you know I just bought x,y,z, etc.), but I would receive heartwarming letters and big donations and support cheers from people I barely knew. It really blew me away.

The trick is, then, to reach out to those “strangers” and get them on your side.

Through my fundraising journey, I have encountered quite a few people who ask me to put my goal into numbers. To consider it an “investment”, apparently I have to subscribe to some business-like metrics: what’s the ROI? What is the expected value? What’s the time frame? The answers have to be in some sort of number – a percentage, an increase or decrease, a pricetag.

But how do you put a price tag, or a percentage, on change?

Numbers aren’t always the best way to represent things. They are a method, true, and for some people that’s the method they work best with. That’s fine. What is not fine, however, is when people assume that numbers are the best (and often only) way to represent something: that if you can’t reduce your aim to a series of figures, it doesn’t matter. It’s not legitimate.

But life isn’t all about numbers!

How do you put a number on the Facebook message from a young man who thanked me for starting EducateDeviate because it helped him go on with life? How do you quantify my school junior who told me that because of my talk at school 4 years ago, she is now pursuing journalism and has been employed as a stringer? How do you put a price on the email I got when starting my blog from someone who was close to suicidal and wanted someone they could trust?

When people like Gandhi or Florence Nightingale aimed to create change, do you think they went “oh, I’ll ensure that there is an increase of 50% in patient recovery rates this year”? Or “with the ousting of England from India, we can get a 75% boost in happiness, bringing a great ROI!”? I doubt it. The true changemakers, the effective ones, do it to make change – they don’t get stuck in the numbers.

I read this on a blog some time ago – the writer was lamenting how now our role models were meant to be salespeople. While salespeople are good people, it is rather sad that we now have to plan our entire lives as one big pitch if we supposedly want to get anywhere. Prepare an elevator speech, so that you can get ahead while going to your floor! Never make a mistake! If you get involved in an activity, be the best you can be because your reputation matters!

Whatever happened to experimentation? To just goofing off and have fun? To being yourself, being honest? Why is it that I have to password protect a post because it may turn off a potential sponsor? Is honesty that repulsive? Does humanity not matter?

(Some of you dear ones may be freaking out over the public-ness of this post. I’m fine with this being public. If a company or person withdraws support from me because they take offense at my views, we wouldn’t be great matches anyway.)

Everything has to be a business – make more money, get more hits. SEO experts tell you how to get more readers to your blog, but does the increase in readers bring about an increase in positive effect, in change? Is it meaningful?

And why does everything have to tie back to making money anyway? What, it’s not worth it unless you get rich from it? Money’s an illusory concept. The value of money is subjective. What’s worth $50 to you may be worth $500 to me. But who’s the arbitrator of that? Who decides whether something is worth $19 or $21? The market, some of you may say – but who’s in this market?

I just finished reading The Overachievers and it’s shocking how often the lives of these students – with their own dreams, struggles, hopes, thoughts – were reduced to an exam score that essentially told you nothing about them but their test-taking abilities. It’s already not working for these students, who nearly kill themselves with stress so that they can gain an elusive number that somehow is supposed to be a ticket to success. Does the rest of your life have to be that way too? Does your change have to be in numbers for it to be effective?

There was a review in Have Fun Do Good (which I ADORE; absolutely recommended reading) for Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker by Bill Somerville. In the book, Somerville talks about how there is too much focus on numbers and reports, and not enough on those that actually create change. Want to fund those that make change, be a maverick grantmaker? Go to those who have the ideas and passion to make a difference, and help them out. Don’t wait for them to have to waste their time filling in a lengthy report for you before they’d even look at you.

Now that is the power of change. That’s how change is represented. Not through numbers. Numbers cannot say enough and it can never hope to.

OK, I’m trying to work out a formula to calculate what a year’s expenses for me in Denmark would be. However, not all the numbers I have fit neatly into “one year” chunks.

the exact values aren’t so important now, but if it helps: https://wannabeakp.wordpress.com/budget/

YEAR ONE:
Start-off costs (things that only happen once, at the beginning): Entrance Fees, Student Visa, Mac Laptop, Airfare, Train, Travel Insurance, Health Insurance
Monthly costs: School Fee (per month, but only for 10 months), Living Costs (per month, for 12 months)
Could happen anytime within the year: Books & Materials (for the year)

YEAR TWO:
Monthly costs: School Fee (per month, but only for 10 months), Living Costs (per month, for 12 months)
Could happen anytime within the year: Books & Materials (for the year)

YEAR THREE:
Monthly costs: School Fee (per month, but only for 10 months), Living Costs (per month, for 12 months)
Could happen anytime within the year: Books & Materials (for the year)

(travel doesn’t figure in Year 2/3 because the assumption is that I stay in Denmark for the whole 3 years. There is a sem-long Outpost overseas in Year 2, so cost of supplies may be higher, but KP covers the travel. If I go back home or go elsewhere in those 2 years, that’s on my own dime.)

How can I calculate a good monthly (or at least small) figure out of all that info? I figured that people would be more likely to sponsor a month than a year or 3 years in a chunk. How do I organize this?

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