Funding for your chapter or SIG

Fred Carruth (Shinshu University) and Fergus O’Dwyer (Osaka University)

In order to improve language teaching and learning it is often necessary to embark upon projects, including events and publications. On the one hand, it is amazing how much of the best work we do in JALT does not require money. However, there are times when money becomes a foremost concern. Funding for JALT chapters is based on the annual Chapter Grant. Funding for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) is only what they get from membership dues. The bad news is that these sources are not always enough. The good news is that there are a wide variety of other ways to obtain funding to assist us in our work of furthering our educational mission, though it may not always be clear how to efficiently approach these options.
We are compiling what we hope will become a comprehensive source of information covering all the additional ways chapters and SIGs can obtain funding. The unwieldy but descriptive working title for our handbook, which we plan to publish online in Officer's Resources, is: Best Practices in Obtaining Funding and Starting/Implementing Projects. We see our roles primarily as administrative and editorial. (We don't claim much knowledge in this area—that's part of the motivation!) In order to give an idea of the projected scope of this handbook, please review the tentative table of contents below.
I. Sharing expenses with another chapter or SIG
II. Grants
A. Applying for a grant from the Development Fund
B. Getting sponsorship from a publisher
C. Getting a grant from another chapter or SIG
D. Getting a grant from (Please fill in the blank!)
III. Getting money from advertising
IV. Generating income from events
A. Monthly meetings
B. Conferences
V. Tips for organising events (possibly break up by type of event)
VI. Tips for publishing
A. When publishing through a commercial publisher
B. When self-publishing
C. Journals (including editing special issues of journals)
As of this writing we have received a total of three submissions. Two of them concern publishing. The third we are thinking of using in the introduction. It is an inspiring account by former Kagoshima JALT president, Cynthia Keith, of how her chapter built a presence within the local community. It begins: "In order to obtain funding for our projects, we first had to take a good long look at how we are perceived within the community... Funding was available, but it was not easy to get when people had to ask WHO are you?" She goes on to show how publicity and key relationships can contribute to a chapter’s success.
The Kagoshima Chapter became known for its annual children's conference, regular meeting place, and strong ties within the education ministry at all levels. They receivekoen meigi for all their big events. (A koen meigi is like a seal of approval issued by a ministry, board of education, or some such group. A koen meigi can open a lot of doors for the group that receives it.) They established a very public face for JALT in Kagoshima and then pushed that identity in a clear and focused way. They achieved this initially through publicity, officers meeting with members of the Boards of Education, and registering as an NPO (non-profit organization) within the prefecture. This last point was important as it facilitated the chapter’s special funding options. The outline of these options is a solid example to all groups within JALT.
We hope that you can follow this example and contribute your experience and knowledge. Our idea is to have something that people who are looking for funding can turn to and quickly get an idea of the range of possibilities; something that will give someone, who is starting out seeking funding, the concrete dos and don'ts. Please contact us if you would like to contribute (if the story is too long, you could just consider giving a bullet point list). All possible options are available. We have promises from three knowledgeable people to assist with editing. If you think you know someone who could write something up, please send them our way (contact details below).
One of the reasons no one in JALT has done this before is that it is a rather daunting project. However, the need is correspondingly great. We have a chance to really give a big helping hand to many groups within JALT. Can you help us do it?

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