5 ways to identify and win esports funding

Not sure how to make the numbers work within your esports budget? Let Creation Networks help!

As academic esports programs grow in popularity to become a more significant part of a school’s curriculum, they also require substantial investments of time and money to implement. Complicating matters is the fact that school budgets are tight, and other priorities put the squeeze on emerging programs like esports.

Fortunately, a wide variety of esports funding sources are available. For example, states are beginning to provide esports-specific funding, such as a recent $5 million commitment in North Carolina. As you navigate the complexities of grants and other funding opportunities, CREATION NETWORKS can help you determine the most relevant ones for your school and understand how to apply for them successfully.

Never walk alone

To maximize fundraising effectiveness, consider the power of partnering with Creation Networks. Instead of competing for funding opportunities, we encourage regional schools and agencies to link up for grant opportunities. There are many instances where eligibility for grants is specific to one agency type – embracing partner Creation Networks can facilitate program development across a region.

As a longtime proponent of esports programs, CREATION NETWORKS values our role in shaping the skills, career opportunities, and personal character of student participants. We understand the direct correlation between successful programs and obtaining the necessary financial support to sustain them. Our grants team offers a complimentary, in-depth funding assessment to simplify identifying and securing critical esports funding from multiple sources and help your organization develop a strategic plan.

Creation Network's approach incorporates five strategies to augment limited budget dollars and support the financial well-being of a growing esports presence.

  1. Realistically identify and address all esports costs

The quest for outside funding begins with knowing exactly what equipment acquisitions and budget amounts are required to support your school’s esports program – which can incorporate:

  • Software titles and the associated licenses
  • Connectivity, including networking, wireless access points, switches, and routers
  • Firewalls and other security infrastructure
  • Building out the virtual esports arena
  • IT expertise
  • Professional training
  • Curriculum development

Leveraging external expertise in esports program development and deployment is a prudent and ultimately cost-saving alternative to going it alone, strengthening your prospects for success.

  1. Tie government grant applications to STEAM benefits

It’s critical to accentuate the link between scholastic esports and the disciplines associated with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM), Career and Technical Education (CTE), and workforce training. Many state, federal, and foundation grant programs would be beneficial, but few are esports-specific. Instead, they award dollars to projects emphasizing STEAM, CTE, and workforce development.

In other words, a grant may fund end-user devices, software licenses, or networking – but only if you can demonstrate advanced skill development and learning outcomes associated with these three focus areas. For instance, the high-performance computers needed for esports can also be used for AutoCAD, Autodesk, virtual reality content creation, and remote learning.

One strategy is to emphasize multiple purposes:

  • A computer lab for STEAM subjects that can also host esports action.
  • CTE and workforce development for associated disciplines.
  • A new network enables distance learning capabilities.
  1. Leverage flexible foundation grant funding programs

Many local organizations offer support for programs that make a difference in their communities, presenting schools with an opportunity to make their case for esports as a skill-building endeavor worth funding.

Private community-based foundations have the added advantage of not requiring the same STEAM connection as state and federal grants, simplifying the application process.

  1. Pursue E-Rate funding for networking equipment to benefit esports

The Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support program deliver funding through four programs, including E-Rate, which helps institutions connect students and library patrons to broadband. Applicants can receive support for eligible hardware, such as wireless access points, firewalls, switches, and routers, that also benefit esports. This funding also accounts for installation and activation. E-Rate enables schools and libraries to reallocate funds dedicated to network improvements to other initiatives.

  1. Create and maintain an ongoing funding plan

Effective funding development isn’t a one-off effort; continued success calls for ongoing attention to the next funding opportunity, the following application, and the next renewal date.

Grant funding is cyclical and must be planned to create a program that addresses current and long-term requirements. It means constantly being aware of how other esports programs generate financial support and maintaining fundamental network relations with Creation Networks to form mutually beneficial alliances.

Simplify your esports funding process with the right advisor

CREATION NETWORKS can help you identify and obtain your most relevant scholastic esports funding sources while avoiding potential dead ends and assist you in implementing the most effective grant application techniques.

Contact your CREATION NETWORKS Account Executive or email us at government@creationnetworks.net for a free evaluation of your current funding environment. We’ll match your organization to the right funding programs and help you create a winning application methodology as you advance your fundraising efforts to the next level.

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